8th Route Army
In contrast to this rough diamond, Marshal Choe Yong Gun cut a reserved and dignified figure as deputy commander in chief and minister of national defense. Born in Hongch'ŏn, Korea, at the turn of the century, he had the equivalent of a high school education. In 1925 he went to China and is believed to have attended the Whampoa Military Academy at Nanking and the Yan'an Military School. At Yan'an, after being converted to communism, he became a political instructor and later served in the 8th Route Army. Choe was commander of the Korean Volunteer Army in 1941 and fought against the Japanese in Manchuria. Returning to Korea in 1945, he commanded the Cadre Training Center until 1948, when he was named the first commander in chief.