|Born||March 3, 1920
Korea Japanese Protectorate, Empire of Japan (modern-day North Korea)
|Died||April 7, 1992 (aged 72)
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
|| Imperial Japanese Army
|Years of service||1938–1939 (IJA)
1942–1943 (Red Army)
1943–1944 (Wehrmacht Heer)
|Revised Romanization||Yang Gyeong-jong|
|Names in other languages|
Yang Kyoungjong (Korean: 양경종; March 3, 1920 – April 7, 1992) was a Korean soldier who fought in the Imperial Japanese Army, the Soviet Red Army, and later the German Wehrmacht during World War II. He is to date the only soldier to fight on three sides of a war, and this status has earned him recognition.
Imperial Japanese Army
Because of Soviet manpower shortages in the fight against Nazi Germany, he was pressed, in 1942, into fighting in the Red Army, along with thousands of other prisoners. He was sent to the Eastern Front of Europe.
In 1943, he was captured by Wehrmacht soldiers in eastern Ukraine during the Third Battle of Kharkov, and then joined the "Eastern Battalions" to fight for Germany. Yang was sent to Occupied France to serve in a battalion of former Soviet prisoners of war on the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy, close to Utah Beach. After the D-Day landings in northern France by the Allied forces, Yang was captured by paratroopers of the United States Army in June 1944. The Americans initially believed him to be a Japanese soldier in German uniform; at the time, Lieutenant Robert Brewer of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, reported that his regiment had captured four Asians in German uniform after the Utah Beach landings, and that initially no one was able to communicate with them. Yang was sent to a prison camp in Britain and later transferred to a camp in the United States.
In December 2005, the Seoul Broadcasting System aired a documentary on the existence of the Asian soldiers who served Nazi Germany and were captured by Allied forces. The documentary concluded that although there had been Asian soldiers in the German army during World War II, there was no clear evidence for the existence of Yang Kyoungjong.
In popular culture
The 2011 South Korean film, My Way was loosely based on the war experience of Yang Kyoungjong.
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