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John McElvain

ST. LOUIS, MO -- November 9, 2023 -- Thousands of veterans have served in world wars and international conflicts. Many have become well recognized for their heroic efforts while others who performed similar deeds remain in relative obscurity. One hero worthy of recognition is the late John McElvain who served meritoriously first in World War II and then in Vietnam.

 

John’s son Frank McElvain said he only learned about his father’s true heroics after his dad’s death. Frank researched military records and learned that in World War II John fought on the front lines and breached Nazi Germany’s Siegfried Line. He would later be captured by the Nazis but then liberated at the end of the war. For those efforts, John earned a Bronze Star.

 

Frank also learned his father, then a medic serving in Vietnam, helped to save not only the lives of U.S. Soldiers but also treated many Vietnamese families, saving their lives as well. John’s efforts would result in a promotion to his highest rank of Sergeant First Class.

 

John’s military life, and other world events that conspired to bring him into contact and then marry the love of life, Hedy, a German woman who survived the Third Reich, are highlighted in a new book by Frank McElvain, SFC: A Poor Man’s Battle now available at Amazon

 

Frank McElvain said he was inspired to write the book after discovering a trove of vintage correspondence hidden in a magazine rack amongst his mother’s German newspapers following his parent’s deaths. Some of John’s military history was found but Frank wanted to learn more.

 

“John rarely spoke about his war years, but I knew he had a rich military history waiting to be discovered,” Frank said. “I contacted the Office of Personnel Records several times and spoke with other veterans who knew him or knew about his unit in Vietnam. From there I was able to weave that experience into a book that focuses on the incredible world events that brought my father and mother together and how John, the son of a sharecropper in Alabama only wanted to be a farmer but went on to serve honorably in the U.S. Army. He was a quiet man, for the most part, who loved his children and grandchildren, with a military career worth remembering.”

 

Frank added that SFC: A Poor Man's Battle, is a work of historical fiction, though true, some fictitious events have been added for context and names have been changed to protect those still living. The booktakes you into the foxholes with John during his heroic war efforts, focuses on his often-turbulent relationship with Hedy, and reveals the actual and shocking family secrets they left behind. A number of photos of John’s military days and the family are included in the book. For details visit https://www.amazon.com/SFC-Poor-Battle-Frank-McElvain/dp/B0C2SM3M1S.