James L. Friedel was born on July 6, 1931 in Yoakum, Texas. He was raised on a farm and had two younger brothers. He briefly attended Victoria College after graduating from Cuero High School in 1949. He and three friends decided to enlist in the US Navy together in 1950 because they wanted to see the world and do their part in Korea. After boot camp and fire control school, he was deployed to Japan on the USS Rector, an auxiliary repair ship. He spent the next 15 months taking care of the sights on the guns of the ship mostly in port in Sasabo, Japan. While attending additional training stateside, he was married. He was deployed back to Japan in 1953 and returned to the United States in 1954. Today, he often says he would not trade anything for his experiences during the Korean War.
Life at Sasabo, Japan
James Friedel talks about daily life when he was stationed on the USS Hector in Sasabo, Japan and recalls playing basketball and baseball during his free time.
"A Most Rewarding Christmas"
James Friedel tells the story of when he volunteered to host a Japanese orphan for Christmas festivities on the USS Rector in Sasabo, Japan in 1950.
Repairing Damaged Ships at Sea
James Friedel talks generally about the process of repairing ships off the coast of Korea while deployed on the USS Rector, an auxiliary repair ship.