Defense Department Photo (Marine Corps) and caption: Marine Pfc. Willard E. Gavin of Richland Center, WI, and Kin Song Nar, the nine-year-old war orphan he befriended on the blazing beach at Inchon. Gavin, himself an orphan, wants to adopt the youngster and bring him home.
This picture was sent to the Korean War Educator by the family of the late Alfred Gavin of Wisconsin. Al was a brother to Korean War veteran Willard Dean-Earl Gavin. Willard was born 26 February 1929 at Richland Center. He joined the United States Marine Corps at Richland Center and took boot camp training at Parris Island, SC. After further training at Camp Pendleton, CA, he was sent to Korea with the 1st Marine Division. He received his overseas orders for Korea in 1950, and participated in the Inchon Invasion.
According to his brother Al, "Willard told me that while he was fighting on Pork Chop Hill, this one little boy would call him "Dad" and ask him for food all the time. So my brother didnít want to leave him there when he came home from Korea. Willard told me, ĎI just fell in love with that little guy.í
"Willard said that the Marines would not let him adopt the child because he wasnít married. So Willard said he stuffed him in his duffle bag and brought him home aboard ship. He fed him every day and had him sleep under his bunk. While in Texas, Willard married Betty Bush. The Marines never allowed Willard to adopt Kin Song Nar. I heard that Kin Song Nar was in Dallas in an orphanage at that time."
The last the Gavin family heard from Willard was that he was in Iowa. When he returned to the States from Korea, he went to the Dallas, Texas U.S. military hospital. He had taken a lot of shrapnel to his lower body when fighting on Pork Chop Hill. From this he developed cancer and had a colostomy. The family believes he died from the cancer, and they have not heard from Willard Gavin since 1958. He was last seen in person by family members in 1955 at Richland Center, WI. Willard was scheduled to return to the hospital and told his family he really didnít want to go. Willard never had any children.