WWII veteran finally honored for service
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.”
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.
First Lt. Howard Eifert, alongside Marie, his wife of 67 years, listens to his biography at Maplewood Estates at Peter Becker Community in Harleysville.