Many soldiers claimed to be the man in the photo, but it was not until the advent of facial recognition technology that Mr Mendosa's identity was finally confirmed.
As the ideal strangers locked lips, world famous photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped four pictures in just 10 seconds.
Mendonsa's daughter, Sharon Molleur, told the Providence Journal her 95-year-old father had fallen and had a seizure before he was pronounced dead.
But that did not stop him from maintaining that he was the sailor and it turned out, science would back up that claim. 'The evidence is so overwhelming, ' Verria said Sunday night. "There really is no doubt... Many know the photo, but few know the story". However, before his death, Mendonsa said he remembered the exact moment of the embrace.
Verria told the paper that while in the "Navy during WWII, he successfully maneuvered his destroyer through Typhoon Cobra, which flipped three other destroyers, Verria said".
And it was reported that Mendonsa explained what happened that day. Mendonsa watched from the helm as the nurses worked on the sailors.
When he was honoured at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, he spoke about the kiss.
Mendonsa was on leave and had been on a date with another woman when he heard the war was over. He'd maintained that his scars and tattoos proved it and a "photographic analysis by the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories matched them to the photo based on testimony from a Yale professor who was a photograph analysis expert".
Mendonsa planted a kiss on Friedman, whom he had never met.
Alfred Eisenstadt did not give the names of the kissing strangers and it was years before Mr Mendonsa and Ms Friedman were confirmed as the featured couple. Although it was widely lauded as an expression of the joy felt across the USA on the day Japan surrendered, in more recent times some have considered it, as Time Magazine wrote, "as little more than the documentation of a very public sexual assault".