The night of July 28th would be the wartime experience to affect him most deeply. The 28th Division was in combat with the Prussian 4th Division attempting to take the area around Ronchères, France. The area was strongly held by Germans with heavy armaments. Epstein and the men of Company G were part of an attempt to capture a German machine gun nest in the Grimpette Woods.
In mid-January 1918, Lt. Joffe flew his Airco de Havilland twin seat bomber at several hundred feet altitude. The aircraft suddenly became uncontrollable and spun toward the earth nose first at full speed. He pulled back his control stick with all his strength and hit his pedals attempting to stabilize the plane to no avail.