Letters from War – Awarded the Bronze Star and wounded in action – 1945

This is part of our “Letters from War” series documenting the World War II letters of Irvin Schwartz of Pine Grove, PA. The letters were all published in the West Schuylkill Press-Herald between 1943 and 1945. 

Read the previous letter here


In March 1945, the West Schuylkill Press-Herald published several news items about Staff

Sergeant Irvin Schwartz, a former newspaper reporter from Pine Grove who was serving on the front lines of Europe with the famed 1st Infantry Division. 

Schwartz 1944 (1)
A 1944 photograph of Irvin Schwartz

The Press-Herald shared the news that Schwartz had been awarded a Bronze Star for his actions across Europe as an anti-tank gunner in the 26th Infantry Regiment. Schwartz participated in D-Day, battles in Normandy and elsewhere in France, and the Battle of Aachen, actions that were noted in his award citation. The award was given on December 16, 1944, the same day that the Battle of the Bulge began. More awards were coming Schwartz’s way for his participation in the Battle of Dom Bütgenbach in December 1944. 

26th_Infantry_Regiment_near_Butgenbach_Two
Members of an anti-tank unit with the 26th Regiment move their gun during the battle at Dom Butgenbach. (US Army)

The Press-Herald also shared news that Schwartz had been wounded-in-action on the Western Front in February 1945. Fortunately for Schwartz, the wounds proved to be minor. More on his wounding in future posts. 

From the Press-Herald, March 9, 1945

The_West_Schuylkill_Press_and_Pine_Grove_Herald_Fri__Mar_9__1945_

Staff Sergeant Irvin R. Schwartz, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Schwartz of Pleasant Valley, Pine Grove R.D. 2 has been awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious achievement against the enemy since D-Day in Europe, and was highly commended in an article published in an Army newspaper overseas for knocking out a German tank in a recent battle on the western front.

At the time he received his medal, Schwartz held the rank of Corporal, but has since been promoted.

The citation accompanying the Bronze Star medal awarded to Schwartz on December 16, 1944, reads as follows:

“Citation for Bronze Star

Irvin R. Schwartz, 33624661, Corporal, Anti-Tank Company, 26th Infantry, For meritorious achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy in the European Theatre of Operation from 6 June 1944 to 27 November 1944.

The courage, initiative, and fidelity with which Corporal Schwartz performed his duties as anti-tank gunner contributed immeasurably to the combat successes achieved by his company during the invasion of Western Europe. Residence at enlistment: Pine Grove, Pennsylvania.”

From “The Spade,” military organ published on the battlefield in Germany, comes the following news about S/Sgt. Schwartz:

“When the Second Battalion was attacked by the 12th SS Panzer Division, (Corporal) Irvin Schwartz, Anti-tanker, swapped shots with a Mark VI tank, even though this tank is supposed to shed 57 mm fire the away a duck sheds water off his back. The first round was a hit, but the tank kept coming. The second round was a Socko and set the tank on fire. Cheers to (Corporal) Schwartz, a real Daniel Boone.”

In addition to the Bronze Star, S/Sgt. Schwartz is entitled to wear the European Theatre and Good Conduct Ribbon, three battle stars, the combat infantryman’s badge, and two Presidential Citation ribbons.

Before entering the service, S/Sgt. Schwartz was a news reporter for the PRESS-HERALD, and sports writer for the Pine Grove High School.

From the Press-Herald, March 16, 1945

Mr. and Mrs. John Schwartz of Pleasant Valley received a letter from their son, Staff Sergeant Irvin R. Schwartz, informing them that he was wounded in an engagement with the enemy on German soil, and is now a patient in an Army hospital in Paris. His letter was dated March 9 and reached his parents on March 14.

Sgt. Schwartz gave no details, but the letter was in his own hand-writing and his parents believe that his wounds are not of a serious nature.

With the First Army invading Germany, Schwartz was recently awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement on the battlefield in knocking out German tanks with his anti-tank gun.

From the Press-Herald, March 23, 1945

A telegram from the War Department, Washington, D.C., dated March 16, to Mrs. Alma Schwartz, Pine Grove R.F.D. 2, is to the effect that her son, S/Sgt. Irvin Schwartz was wounded, the telegram reading as follows:

“The Secretary of War desires me to express his deep regret that your son, S/Sgt. Irvin R. Schwartz, was slightly wounded in Germany on February 27, 1945. New address and further information following direct from the hospital.”

S/Sgt. Schwartz had written to his parents and told them that he was wounded, the letter reaching them before the telegram. In his letter he said that he was in a hospital in Paris. It was in his own handwriting, and he spoke of being back in the ranks soon again, so his family is hoping that his injuries are not serious.


Featured Image: Newspaper headline from the Press-Herald and Irvin Schwartz in 1944

This is part of a series titled: “Letters from War.” Read more of the letters written by Irvin Schwartz during World War II


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