Tired of being so nondescript that even your family can't recognize you? Nothing says 'Here I am!' quite like the new Personal Arrow Pointer recently released by Ronco.
Hey! don't give me crap for the P.A.P. being a ridicules product! Ron Popeil sold hair in a can. A spray can. Spray on hair!
I don't think it would be too far fetched to think he would have come up with a dumb arrow that pointed you out in a crowd.
It could have happened.
Granted, it didn't happen. That arrow is something that was added into the photo after it was taken. I know, I know.....how can you alter a photograph? It seems like an impossible task! But there are magical wizard-like creatures who use their abilities to alter reality by altering photographs to depict something that never happened.
That man that the arrow pointing to was Henry Gunther. And Henry was just about the unluckiest man to have served in World War one. He is officially recorded to be the last soldier killed before the armistice took effect.
The armistice was signed at 5am on November 11, 1918. But it didn't take effect for 6 hours. The Germans wanted it to take effect immediately, but the allies wanted the hour delay so they could notify all their commanders.
Many allied commanders stopped the war right away. Why die for ground that would be uncontested in a few hours? Other commanders decoded to go all out for as long as they could.
As a result, 11,ooo men died between the signing at 5am and the time the armistice took effect at 11am. Henry Gunther died a mere 60 seconds before the shooting stopped.
A German soldier, Lt. Tomas was killed after the armistice took effect, but he was killed by American troops that hadn't gotten word the war was over yet.
But Henry isn't the subject of todays post. No, that honor goes to a soldier from another war.
That war was World War Two. And the soldier was either the unluckiest soldier, or the luckiest, depending on your point of view.
His name was Yang Kyoungjohn, and he was an 18 year old Korean who was conscripted into the Japanese Army in 1938 after Japan invaded Korea. In 1939 while fighting the Soviets, Yang was captured at the battle of Khalkhin-Gol. As a Japanese army POW, he was sent to a labor camp.
By 1942 however, the Soviets were suffering horrendous losses in their fights with the Germans. So the went to the labor camps and asked for volunteers to fight for them. Yang volunteered. (it should be noted that everyone who didn't volunteer was taken to the front lines anyway to lead the charges against the Germans, becoming canon fodder. Or they were shot on the spot. Either way, only the volunteers had any hope of survival)
In 1943 Yang was captured by the Germans at the Battle of Kharkov. At the time, the Soviet strategy was to throw as many soldiers at the Germans as they could to soak up all the German ammunition. This also had the effect of depleting the Germans numbers as well. Seeing as how he was basically forced to fight for the Soviets, the Germans offered him the chance to fight for them.
So he did. (It should also be noted that prisoners who didn't agree to fight for the Germans were also sent to the camps. Yeah....those camps. Jewish people weren't the only victims.)
In June of 1944, Yang was captured for the last time, by the Americans. He lived out the rest of the war in peace in a nice prison camp.
So during the course of the war, Yang became a veteran of 3 different armies.