A Marine photographed feeding an orphaned kitten on the front lines in Korea died Jan. 10 at 90 years old.
Frank Praytor, who served as a combat correspondent in the 1st Marine Division from 1951-52, “weaned ‘Miss Hap’ on meat out of ‘C’ ration cans” after her mother had been shot.
The picture, which circulated in more than 1,700 newspapers, brought a “moment of humanity” to the war, according to USNI News.
Later, the cat saved Praytor — from the brig. Praytor had violated a WWII combat photographer regulation by freelancing a combat photo. But when the commandant got the court-martial papers, he tore them up.
“I’m certain ‘that cat’ played a silent-but-significant role in my being excused from brig time.“ Praytor wrote in The Greybeards in 2009. “After all, I had become a celebrity of sorts and the prize-winning photo made a positive rather than negative impact on the Marine Corps’ image.”
Praytor began his journalism career in 1947 as a police reporter for the Birmingham News, according to Stars and Stripes.
“Frank was, first and foremost, a good human being,” Marine Chas Henry told Stars and Stripes. “That picture of him caring for a kitten lost on the battlefield wasn’t just cute; it captured his character.”