Ivan D. Chernyakovsky was born 29 June 1906, in Uman, in Ukraine. He was the son of a railroad worker.
Highest rank achieved: Army General, 1944
Twice awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union (1943,1944)
Chernyakovsky was ten years younger than almost all of the senior officers that rose along with him to front command during World War II. He joined the Red Army in 1924 and completed the Mechanized and Motorized Military Academy in 1936. During the 1930s, Chernyakovsky commanded a tank battalion, a regiment, and a division.
By June 1941, Chernyakovsky had achieved the rank of colonel, initially serving as a tank division commander, but rising quickly to the command of 18th Tank Corps, then command of 60th Army from July 1942 through April 1944. He then commanded the Western Front, which was reformed as the 3d Belorussian Front, from April 1944 to February 1945. As an army and front commander, Gen-eral Chernyakovsky fought in the Battle of Kursk, forced the Desna and Dnieper rivers, and participated in operations at Kiev, Zhitomir-Berdichev, Rovno-Lutsk, Belorussia, Vilnius, Kaunass, Memel, and East Prussia. He was mortally wounded 18 February 1945 while on an inspection tour near Königsberg. He was buried with honors in Vilnius. General Chernyakovsky was perhaps the fastest rising star in the Soviet Army, highly regarded by both Marshal Zhukov and Marshal Vasilevsky, and undoubtedly would have continued to command at high levels but for his early death.