MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis — It's a miraculous story, from a time of war, more than six decades in the making. CBS station WCCO-TV was there to witness the reconnection between a Minnesota Navy medic and his patient who once made headlines around the world.
"I owe my life to the Point Cruz," Keenen said.
Chaska-born Norm Van Sloun enlisted in the Navy at the age of 21. He trained as one of two hospital corpsmen to care for the 1,000 men aboard this massive aircraft carrier.
A small cry sailors heard on a walk in South Korea would change the course of Van Sloun's service.
"He was found in an ash can in Seoul," Van Sloun said.
A half-Korean baby born with blue eyes and blonde hair, left for dead after Korean orphanages turned him away.
"What I understand is they wouldn't have anything to do with Caucasian babies," Van Sloun said.
It's when the ship's medics became more like mothers.
"ASCOM was the compound area where he was found, and 'Cruz' was the name of the ship, so we named him George Ascom Cruz," Van Sloun said.
A Japanese newspaper first told Baby George's story, featuring Van Sloun feeding him on the front page. The picture eventually picked up in papers around the world. The baby boosted morale for home-sick service members led by a skipper proud to have a new passenger.
"Right below the American flag, he flew a diaper," Van Sloun said.
They cared for George for three months, turning the sick bay into a nursery and establishing daily visiting hours on deck.
"They'd all line up to come see George, it was amazing," Van Sloun said.
He told the story back home for decades to his daughters, who wondered what ever came of that little boy. But it wasn't until his recent move to a senior living center where staff pointed his family in the right digital direction.