Boris Stern was the son of Russian immigrants who lived in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from high school in January 1943, he attended the Armour Institute of Technology. Many of his friends were being drafted due to the war, so Stern enlisted in the Army Aug. 12, 1943. He was inducted into the Army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, for basic training, initially to become an engineer after returning to school. However, at the end of basic training, Stern traveled to Fort Benning, Georgia, for infantry training and did not return to school.
In April 1944, he went to Camp Atterbury in Indiana and served with the 106th Infantry Division. The 106th later sailed from New York on the Royal Mail Ship Aquitania, arriving in Scotland in October 1944. Stern transferred to the 424th Infantry Regiment Dec. 6, which deployed to Normandy in France to join in the Rhineland Campaign and cross into Belgium. Stern’s regiment entered Prum, Germany on the Luxembourg border on Dec. 12. He later served with the 2nd Battalion headquarters in Winterspelt and promoted to staff sergeant. In Winterspelt, he oversaw food and ammunition supplies for the companies and performed guard duty.
On Dec. 16, the Germans shelled Winterspelt during the start of the Battle of the Bulge. Stern helped defend against German mortars, creating roadblocks in Winterspelt for the evacuation of the battalion headquarters and retrieving supplies from St. Vith, Belgium, despite heavy fire from Germany panzer units. He also acted as a battalion interpreter since he spoke some German and Yiddish.
Stern was near Bingen am Rhein near the Rhine River when the Germans surrendered. After the war, Stern returned to Chicago, and after moving to Florida, he participated in local Veterans’ commemorations events.
Frenchman Jean Paul Mandier found Stern’s dog tags Dec. 23, 2017, in Normandy, buried on the beach Stern’s regiment landed on in October 1944. In June 2018, Stern returned to France to participate in the D-Day commemoration ceremonies and formally meet Mandier.
Stern lives in Tampa Bay, Florida, with his family. He celebrated his 94th birthday Oct. 24.
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This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Editor: Essence McPherson