Celebrating the End of World War II.

Learning of the official end to World War II brought varied reactions from our soldiers. Sergeant Hobert Winebrenner was serving with the 358th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division in Northern Europe. “I can well remember the day my war ended,” Winebrenner wrote in BOOTPRINTS. “I’ll never forget it! Along an anonymous lane, I sat in the mud. We were at rest between route marches in the middle of nowhere, Czechoslovakia. I noticed an American jeep driving toward my position. Oddly, the crew paused every few yards to speak to the ditch dwellers and were causing quite a commotion. I stared intently , but couldn’t hear what was said until they stopped in front of me.

“‘Hey, the war’s over buddy!’ the passenger announced.

“‘I’ve been waiting on you for three years!’ I yelled back as they continued on down the line.

“I didn’t know what to think or do. No one did. A flood of emotions overwhelmed us all. A few laughed, danced and sang. Some quietly crouched, cried and prayed. Many others sat silent, numbed by the news.

Sonny Dodge, 358th Infantry - 90th Infantry Division, celebrates the end of World War II.

“We knew it would end sometime, but none of us were sure we’d see it, especially after the deaths a few short days ago. We’d been soldiers for what seemed like forever. In our year of war, fresh-faced boys became men, tempered by the worst imaginable. We lost life’s innocence along the way. None would ever be the same again.”

Carroll “Peck” Leitch was on the move through Germany with the 698th Field Artillery. Following the end of war in Europe, Leitch’s crew readied to find and fight a new enemy. “We were to take eight more weeks of training and then move overland through Russia and invade Japan from the west,” Leitch said, in EVERYTOWN, USA. “After our sixth week, Japan surrendered. Man I’ll tell you, for the next three days, anybody could have overrun us. Oh my, the wine was really flowing! We made a time of it.”

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