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Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk, 1917-2018

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by George Patton, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Text and photo courtesy of the National Armor and Cavalry Museum (National Armor and Cavalry Museum)

    Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk, 1917-2018
    We are deeply saddened to announce that yesterday, Brigadier General Albin F.Irzyk passed away at the age of 101. General Irzyk's entire Army career was one of distinguished service, but he was best known as the highly successful commander of the 8th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division in World War 2. His reputation as battalion commander was rivaled only by his fellow 4th Armored Division battalion commander, Creighton Abrams of the 37th Tank Battalion. Following the war, General Irzyk constantly wrote and contributed to recording the history of the World War II Armored Force. We send our most sincere heartfelt sympathies to all of Brigadier General Irzyk's family. He was an amazing leader and Soldier.

    His full obituary: Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk USA (Retired), son of Felix and Sophie Irzyk, died September 10, 2018. He was born in Salem, MA on January 2, 1917 and was educated in the Salem Public School system where as a high school senior he was voted most likely to succeed. He graduated from Massachusetts State College in Amherst with a BA in English in 1940. While in College Irzyk was a three time letterman in baseball and football, and was awarded the Allan Leon Pond Memorial Medal for his outstanding play on the football team. Years later, in 1964, Sports Illustrated Magazine would select Albin Irzyk to receive their Silver Anniversary All America Award. Academically, Irzyk was President of his college honor society, a member of the student government body, President of his fraternity and upon graduation was selected as “Man of the Year.” While at college Irzyk was a member of the Reserve Officer’s Training Program (ROTC).

    General Irzyk began his military career on July 1, 1940 with the 3rd United States Cavalry (Horse) Regiment at Fort Ethan Allen, VT. His Regimental Commander was Colonel George S. Patton, Jr. General Irzyk fought World War II as a twenty seven year old Tank Battalion Commander in the famed 4th Armored Division, which spearheaded General Patton’s Third Army all across Europe. He commanded the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment along the “Iron Curtain” at maximum alert during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. General Irzyk was the Commanding General of Headquarters Area Command (HAC) in Saigon during the TET Offensive of 1968. His next assignment was as Assistant Division Commander of the 4thInfantry Division in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam. General Irzyk’s last assignment, prior to his retirement from active duty in 1971, was Commanding General of Fort Devens, MA.

    His decorations for valor include the Distinguish Service Cross for extraordinary heroism, two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. His other decorations include the Distinguish Service Medal, three Legions of Merit, and eleven Air Medals. General Irzyk’s foreign decorations include the French Croix de Guerre, the French Legion of Honor, the Czech War Cross and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. On February 18, 2017 he was awarded the Officer in the Order of the Crown of Belgium for his exploits in 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge.

    General Irzyk’s accomplishments outside the service are noteworthy. He served as General Manager and Headmaster of a private secondary school. He sat on boards as a Director for such organizations as Rotary and the American Red Cross in addition to being the President of the European Council of Catholic Men, for which he received the Sir Thomas Moore Award. The United Stated Armor Association awarded him the prestigious Gold medallion, Order of St. George.

    General Irzyk has been a frequent guest speaker at Veteran’s meetings, ceremonies, parades and dedications. He was a founding member and continues as the Vice Chair of the South Florida Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. In addition he has made numerous talks at schools of all levels to discuss the holocaust and what he encountered in April of 1945 when his battalion liberated the first concentration camp in Germany.

    General Irzyk is the author of six books, four about World War II, the TET Offensive in Saigon, Vietnam in 1968, and the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment. His most recent book was published the year he celebrated his 100th birthday.

    General Irzyk has been a guest on the Weather Channel’s program “When Weather Changed History,” On Oliver North’s program “War Stories – the Remarkable Life and Mysterious Death of General George S. Patton, Jr.,” two programs on the History Channel series Great Tank Battles – “The Battle of the Bulge” and “The Arracourt Tank Battle,” and the Military Channel Series “Patton 360.”

    General Irzyk is survived by his wife of 72 years Evelyn, three children, a nephew, five grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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  2. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Thank you, Alan, for posting this. I remember his commentary on the Paton 360 episode, now I need to find his books quite a list of decorations! Godspeed General Irzyk
     
  3. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    I am deeply saddened by General Irzyk's passing. His was truly the definition of a "life well lived". I had the honor of corresponding with him.

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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  4. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Rest in Peace General........thank you for your service :s!:........
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Reminds me of Virgil Tracey...from thunderbirds
     

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