WWII vet­eran fi­nally hon­ored for ser­vice

Souderton Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By Jen­nifer Con­nor

World War II Army vet­eran Howard Mirth Eifert was hon­ored Mon­day by U.S. Rep. Michael Fitz­patrick, D-8, who pre­sented him with an award for his ser­vice in com­bat.

Eifert, a res­i­dent at Peter Becker Community in Har­leysville, once men­tioned to Dan Gal­lagher, pres­i­dent of Peter Becker Community’s Vet­er­ans Club, that he had been in a com­bat sit­u­a­tion dur­ing World War II and was told he would re­ceive an award for his valiant aerial ef­forts.

Dur­ing the 1950s, there was a fire in St. Louis, Mo., at a build­ing that housed many GI records, de­stroy­ing many that demon­strated com­mend- able ef­forts that should yield awards, Gal­lagher said af­ter the event.

Gal­lagher and the of­fice of U.S. Rep. Char­lie Dent, R-15, worked hard to get Eifert the recog­ni­tion he de­served. Fitz­patrick pre­sented the award since he is to take over some of the area Dent cur­rently rep­re­sents in the near fu­ture.

“In the dark morn­ing hours of June 6, 1944, he was fly­ing in a vast ar­mada of trans­ports, bombers and fight­ers head­ing for Nor­mandy, France,” Gal­lagher said of Eifert. “The in­va­sion of Europe was on!”

High­lights of Eifert’s bio in­clude his de­liv­ery of para­troop­ers near St. Mere Eglise and his fi­nal com­bat drop fly­ing over the Rhine River, “the gate­way to Ger­many and Ber­lin.”

Eifert, who at­tained the rank of first lieu­tenant, al­ways kept him­self busy

sup­ply­ing fuel, am­mu­ni­tion, food, troops and sup­plies to Gen. Ge­orge Patton’s Third Army on the march to end the war, Gal­lagher added.

On Mon­day, Eifert wasn’t awarded just one medal — in fact, he was awarded four.

Fitz­patrick pinned Eifert with the World War II Vic­tory Medal. He also re­ceived the Euro­pean-African-Mid­dle Eastern Cam- paign Medal with three bronze stars, an Honor­able Ser­vice Lapel But­ton - WWII and the Amer­i­can Cam­paign Medal.

Born in 1921 in Elmer, N.J., Eifert was drafted into the r.S. Army Air Corps in 1942. When he re­turned to the rnited States in May 1945, he quickly mar­ried Marie, his wife of 67 years who was on hand for the cer­e­mony.

“,W’V JUHDW WR VHH (LIHUW finDOOy DwDUGHG the credit he de­serves,” Gal­lagher said. “I’m happy to call him my neigh­bor.”

Soud­er­ton In­de­pen­dent photo — SU­SAN KEEN

U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpa­trick, D-8, pins a World War II Vic­tory Medal onto First Lt. Howard Eifert’s shirt at the Maple­wood Es­tates at Peter Becker Com­mu­nity in Har­leysville Sept. 10.

U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpa­trick, D-8, shakes Marie Eifert’s hand af­ter a cer­e­mony hon­or­ing her hus­band, First Lt. Howard Eifert.

Soud­er­ton In­de­pen­dent photo — SU­SAN KEEN

First Lt. Howard Eifert, along­side Marie, his wife of 67 years, lis­tens to his bi­og­ra­phy at Maple­wood Es­tates at Peter Becker Com­mu­nity in Har­leysville.

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