Ivan I. Elpern
Commanding officer of the 50th AIB
First Lieutenant Ivan I. Elpern, son of Mrs. M. G. Elpern of Mt, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, formerly of Connellsvillc, was killed January 14 in Belgium on the drive back from the bulge. He was with General Patton’s Army for three years and was nicknamed by the general as the mad Russian.
Lieutenant Elpern‘s mother received the Iollowing letter from his commanding oflicer:
"It is with a deep feeling of sorrow that I write to you concerning your son, First Lieutenant Ivan I. Elpern who was killed in action against the enemy in Belgium on January 14, 1945. “Lieutenant Elpern was not long a member of my command, but was quick to show me that he was an excellent oflicer and leader. Despite his short time with us, the men ot his platoon had complete trust in him and confidence in his abilities and decisions.
“On January 14 your son was leading his platoon over an exposed ridge which lay in the path of his advance upon a Belgian town. Two machine guns pinned his platoon to the ground, but your son encouraged his men toward to eliminate this opposition.
He was struck by one of the guns, but. though mortally wounded, continued to urge his men on and directed their attack on the gun position from where he lay. Be assured that his last thoughts were so ﬁlled with his duty and his men that he was conscious of no pain.
“Your son was buried with military honors in a United States Military Cemetery in northern France. A Protestant chaplain oﬂiciated at the service."
The Order of the Purple Heart was received by Lieutenant Elpern‘s mother, together with a Presidential Citation for “meritorious service above and beyond the call oi duty.”
The Daily Courier
05 Feb 1945, Mon • Page 1
Jewish Criterion Vol. 106 No. 19
Ivan I. Elpern
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
50th Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division
Entered Service From:
Date of Death: January 14, 1945
Buried: Temple Emanuel Cemetery
Greensburg, Westmoreland County
Awards: Purple Heart