The marine and the kitten, Korean War

The marine and the kitten, Korean War, 1952 (1)

In the middle of the Korean War, this kitten found herself an orphan. Luckily, she found her way into the hands of Marine Sergeant Frank Praytor. He adopted the two-week-old kitten and gave her the name “Miss Hap” because, he explained, “she was born at the wrong place at the wrong time.” There’s a juxtaposition between the soldier and the human. He’s dressed for war but hasn’t lost the ability to care for another living creature. Photo taken during the Korean War.

In the photograph, Praytor is seen leaning against sandbags with a pistol holstered to his hip and his helmet resting on his knee. In his left hand he holds a kitten, nursing it delicately with a medicine dropper. Praytor wrote that the kitten was one of two who were orphaned after a solider shot their mother for “yeowling.” The solider who adopted the other kitten killed it after rolling over on it in his sleep.

But Praytor’s kitten survived. He fed her on meat from ration cans. After Praytor left her to return home, she became something of a mascot for the company’s public information office. Praytor believes another soldier, corporal Conrad Fisher, eventually adopted her, and brought her home to the United States.

(From the Photograph Collection (COLL/3948), Marine Corps Archives, Special Collection)