Cerro Gordo County

S/Sgt Phil Ong




S-Sgt. Phil Ong Prisoner 21 Months;
Pfc. Dietz a Year

Letters received here Tuesday bring news of 2 more Mason City prisoner of war recently liberated from German prison camps.

A letter from S/Sgt. Phil Ong, the first news of him in 6 months, states that he had been released from 17-B in Krems, Austria. The letters from Pfc. Alex J. Dietz bring word of his release from Stalag 7-A near Moosburg, Germany.

"Am feeling great. Preparing to leave for the states soon," was the message received by S/Sgt. Ong’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Ong, 123 President court.

S/Sgt. Ong had been held by the Germans as a prisoner for 21 months. More than a year ago he had written home saying he was "sitting and wondering when the war would be over."

Pfc. Alex Dietz, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Dietz, 20 9th N. W., was taken in Italy by the Germans last June. He wrote that he hoped to be home soon. That he was glad to be able to write letters without someone standing over him to see what he was writing.

Dietz has 3 brothers in the service: S/Sgt. George in Galveston, Tex.; S 1/c Henry in the Philippines; and John with the coast guard in California.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, Tuesday, May 29, 1945, Page 1



Dietz Winner of Silver Star;
Lt. Vaughn War P.O.W. Since May, 1944

Among Mason City's liberated prisoners of war to arrive home from the Jefferson Barracks, Mo., reception center within the last few days are Lt. Richard Vaughn, S/Sgt. Phil Ong, Sgt. Sherman E. Wickre and Pfc. Alex Dietz, all are unanimous in that the best thing about coming home is "just being there."

Lt. Vaughn, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Vaughn, 219 1/2 North Federal, was met at Nora Springs early Sunday morning by his parents. He will be here on a 60-day leave after which he will go to Miami Beach, Fla. He had been held by the Germans since May 10, 1944.

S/Sgt. Phil Ong, son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Ong, 123 President court, arrived in Mason City Saturday. He says he was a lot more fortunate that many. Wounded at the time his plane was shot down by fighter planes, he was taken prisoner by some German civilians and given first aid by 2 Catholic sisters before being taken to a German hospital. He was held at Krems, Austria, for a little more than 21 months. He reported that he had taken part in the 200 mile march from his camp when the Russians advanced in that area. It took them 18 days. They were not taken to another camp but marched into a woods that had a large strip cut around the outskirts. They were released from this place on May 3 by American soldiers who captured the German units there.

Sgt. Sherman E. Wickre, whose wife, Esther, lives with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Nels Landgren, 524 20th S. E., has been here several days, and by this time is fairly well acquainted with his 6 month's old son, John Edwin, whom he is seeing for the first time, also getting reacquainted with his 2 daughters, Ruth and Rachel. Mrs. Wickre reports that "he looks good." Sgt. Wickre was in the same camp as Sgt. Ong and with him in the "march." They carried some food with them while on the march, as well as all their other belongings. Some food was acquired along the way by trading such things as cigarets (sic) for some food. Sgt. Wickre had been a prisoner since last November.

Pfc. Alex Dietz, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Dietz, 20 9th N. W., holder of a silver star for gallantry in action in Italy, reported he "hadn't suffered much." A prisoner of the Germans since last June, he spent only about 2 weeks in the actual prison camp. He said that they could volunteer to get "out of the fence" to work and he got out to live with some Bavarians. He had been at Stalag 7-A near Moosburg, Germany.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, June 20, 1945, Page 11

Phil Wilson Ong was born Apr. 23, 1913 to Oliver and Elva Wilson Ong. He died Sept. 25, 1969 and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Mason City, IA.

Sgt. Ong served in World War II with the U.S. Army Air Corps 100th Bomb Group, 350th Bomb Squadron. He was a POW in Stalag Luft No. 3, Germany. He was awarded the air medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and had also been awarded the Purple Heart and a previous air medal.

Source: ancestry.com