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PFC Dale G. Haffele
Dale G. Haffele

By Krista Finstad Hanson

For the Times

During World War II, the 80th Infantry Division trained stateside at Camp Phillips near Salina, Kansas, Camp Iron Mountain and Camp Laguna, Arizona. They went overseas on July 1, 1944 and landed at Utah Beach on August 5, 1944. 

They fought with General Patton’s Third Army in Avranches, Argentan, Saint-Mihiel, Chalons, and Commercy in France. They maintained a defensive position along the Seille River from Sept. 25 to Nov. 7, 1944. They then fought in the Saar Basin. In December, they were fighting along the Siegfried Line as part of the Battle of the Bulge. They later fought in Luxembourg and Bastogne. 

In February 1945, they crossed the Siegfried Line and then crossed the Rhine in late March near Mainz. They fought throughout Germany in April. By V-E Day on May 8, 1945, they had reached Czechoslovakia.

Lafayette County soldier Dale Haffele served with Company I, 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army.

Dale George Haffele was born on May 4, 1920 in Shullsburg, Lafayette County, Wisconsin to Jacob “Jay” and Harriet “Hattie” (True) Haffele.

From the 1930 U.S. Census, the Haffele family lived in Shullsburg Township. The household included father Jay, mother Hattie, and children Ruth, Darlene, Winton, Dale, Norris and Mary. Father Jay was a farmer.

From the 1940 U.S. Census, the Haffele family was living in the same house they lived at in 1935 in Shullsburg Township. The household included father Jay, mother Hattie, and children Darlene, Dale, Norris, Mary Jane, Winton, and daughter-in-law Jane. Son Dale (19) had 8 years of school. Father Jay was a farmer, Dale was a farm laborer, and Winton was a truck driver.

On July 1, 1941, Dale George Haffele registered for the WWII Draft. He was 21 and lived in Shullsburg. His employer was his father, Jay Haffele at Route 2, Apple River, Illinois. His occupation was farming.

On Oct. 25, 1941, Dale Haffele of Shullsburg married Nina Hanson of Darlington in Dubuque, Iowa.

On March 14, 1942, their daughter, Rosemary Jean Haffele was born in Darlington in Lafayette County.

On Dec. 7, 1942, Dale G. Haffele enlisted in Milwaukee for service in WWII. He had a grammar school education and was working as a farm hand on general farms.

From the Oct. 17, 1944 Wisconsin State Journal, notice titled “Dale Haffele Killed in Action,” the news from Shullsburg stated “Pfc. Dale G. Haffele, 24, was killed in action Sept. 19, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jay B. Haffele, Shullsburg, have been informed by the war department. He was reported missing in action Sept. 6.

“Pfc. Haffele, who was born on a farm near Shullsburg [and] entered service Dec. 17, 1942. He went overseas in June.

“Survivors include his parents; a daughter, Rosemary, three sisters, Mrs. Ruth Finley, Argyle; Darlene, at home, and Mary Jane, Rockford, Ill., and two brothers, Winton, Rockford, and Norris, at home.”

From the Nov. 17, 1948 Freeport Journal-Standard article titled “Bodies of Three Freeport Veterans Arrive in the U.S. Today,” the news story stated, “When the U. S. army transport Carroll Victory arrived today in New York harbor the ship returned the bodies of three Freeport veterans, and three others from Stephenson county. Among the list of 7,562 returned from Europe, 452 were from Illinois.

The war dead had originally been interred in temporary military cemeteries on France, Belgium and Holland.” The list included Pfc. Dale G. Haffele, listed as being from Apple River.

From the National WWII memorial registry and Honor States, PFC Dale G. Haffele served with the U.S. Army during World War II. He was listed as being from Jo Daviess County, Illinois. He was Killed in Action and received the Purple Heart, awarded posthumously.

Dale George Haffele died on Sept. 19, 1944. He was repatriated and reburied in Rock Island National Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois. 

PFC Dale George Haffele also has a cenotaph memorial at Gratiot M. E. Cemetery in Gratiot, Lafayette County, Wisconsin on his parents’ gravestone.

Thank you, Private First Class Dale George Haffele, for your service to and ultimate sacrifice for this country. We honor you and remember you.