CINCINNATI — A retired Air Force colonel who helped rescue hundreds of orphans in the Korean War and whose exploits inspired a movie starring Rock Hudson has died in Ohio. Dean Hess was 97.

Hess died Monday at his home in Huber Heights, in suburban Dayton. Son Lawrence Hess says he died after a short illness.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force says Hess was an Air Force lieutenant colonel when he helped arrange the evacuation of Korean orphans from their country's mainland to safety. Hess also helped train the then-fledgling South Korean Air Force.

Hudson portrayed Hess in the 1957 film "Battle Hymn."

The museum describes Hess as a significant figure in Air Force history. A medal Hess received from South Korea's president is displayed at the museum.