By Richard Zowie— After having served in the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division and having helped liberate the Philippines from Japanese control during World War II, Fred Dietel was sent on a new assignment about 1,200 miles north of the Philippine archipelago.
South Korea, to be exact.
With the end of the war near and Japan slowly losing its grip on the Asian territories it had controlled, American troops were sent to occupy the peninsula during the forming of what would become North and South Korea.
Soldiers in Dietel’s unit had been sent to North Korea, and he was unable to be with them at first due to being under the weather.
But then, as he traveled to join them, word arrived that the war was over.
On Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri, Japan formally surrendered to the Allies. Then, a week later on Sept. 9, 1945, Japanese forces in the Korean peninsula formally surrendered.