Woodbury County

Sgt. William Hafits




Five Hafits Boys—The five Hafits boys, sons of Mr. and Mrs. David Hafits, 1419 Virginia, ranging in age from 19 to 28 years, are serving with the armed forces in camps from Providence, R.I., to Wendover, Utah.

TOGETHER WITH MEMORIES—Mr. and Mrs. David Hafits, 1419 Virginia street, have given their family of five sons to the armed forces. To fill their leisure time and to forget her now empty house, Mrs. Hafits writes to the five boys frequently.

Mr. & Mrs. David Z. Hafits

ALL-OUT WAR is no empty phrase to the Hafits family. 
The family home at 1419 Virginia street, once occupied by five boys and their parents, now is filled with nostalgic memories for the father and mother.

All five sons have gone to war.  They range in age from Paul, 28, to Harold, 19.  They are serving in five Army camps, from Providence, R.I., to Wendover, Utah.

Corporal Paul is an Army radio operator in a camp at Providence.  Private Eugene, 26, entered the Army 10 days ago and is stationed at Rockford, Ill.

Twins In Service.
Sergeant Arthur and Private William are twins, 25 years old. Arthur is serving with an anti-tank battalion at Camp Barkley, Texas, and William is with a technical aviation squadron at a Wendover, Utah, base.  Private Harold is with the air force at Atlantic City, N. J.

All approximately 6 feet in height and are athletically inclined, so Mrs. Hafits says she feels they will be able to stand the test of serving with the armed forces and that they can “dish it out” to the enemy, too.

All five sons, like their father, were taught thrift as newsboys on Sioux City street corners.  They purchased war savings bonds with money left from their Army pay after their immediate needs are provided.

Eldest Is Leader.
Corporal Paul, the eldest son, always has been the leader.  After graduation from Central high school, he attended Morningside college and alter studied at the University of South Dakota law school at Vermillion.  The other four also were graduated from Central high school.

The fighting spirit and patriotism displayed by the Haftis family possibly is inspired by Mr. Hafits, who was born in Russia and came to Sioux City in 1903 at the age of 13.

“When I read of the Nazis killing 10,000 of my people in Witebsk, the city where I was born, it makes me want to join my boys,” he said.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, [news issue dated early 1943]

Brother Meets Brother—

Corporal Bill Hafits, left, and his twin brother, Technical Sergeant, Art Haftis, recently were reunited at the Kearney, Neb., army air base after the first separation of their lives.  They boys are sons of Mr. and Mrs. David Hafits, 1419 Virginia street.  Three other brothers are also in the service.

Hafits Boys Negotiate Transfer to Kearney, Neb., Air Base

The Hafits twins are together again—this time at the Army air base, Kearney, Neb.  The 25-year-old sons of Mr. and Mrs. David Hafits, 1419 Virginia street, are so nearly identical that acquaintances have difficulty in telling them apart.

Teachers in elementary grades and at North junior and Central high school were even more confused because the boys dressed alike, acted alike, attended the same classes and frequently had identical grades.  After graduation, Bill and Art found jobs together, hiring out to the same employers and in the same capacity.

Inseparable Pals.
Day and night, the boys were inseparable companions.  At home, they occupied the same room, read the same books, took up the same games and sports, wore each other’s clothes, and frequently courted the same girls.

Their first separation occurred March 22, 1942.  Art enlisted in the Army and was assigned to an antitank platoon at Barkley field, Texas, where he won promotion to the rank of technical sergeant.  Bill went into defense work at the Rock Island, Ill., arsenal, but was not satisfied.

May 27, 1942, he enlisted in the Army air corps.  Like most men in that branch of service, he was transferred several times and was on duty at many air bases.  He finally was assigned to the base at Kearney, Neb.

Army Obliges.
Art was granted a furlough last June and visited his twin brother at Kearney. The boys then went to work, arranging for a permanent reunion.  High Army and government officials agreed that twins in service should be together wherever possible, so Art received a transfer to the air corps.  He arrived at Kearney July 21.

There are five stars on the service flag in the Hafits window.  Paul, the oldest son, is in New Guinea; Eugene is in North Carolina, and Harold is in Florida.

Source:  The Sioux City Journal, August 21, 1943 (photo included)

Sergeants Art and William Hafits of the Kearney, Neb., air base, twin sons of Mr. and Mrs. David Hafits, 1419 Virginia street, spent Easter weekend with their parents.  They had as a guest, Staff Sergeant Max Brownstein of Buffalo, N.Y., who also is stationed at the Kearney base.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, April 12, 1944


S. Sgt. Art Hafits and Sgt. William Hafits, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dave Hafits, 1419 Virginia street, are spending 15-day furloughs with their parents. They are stationed at Kearney, Neb.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, January 12, 1945


Sgt. Paul B. Hafits is the first of five sons of Mr. and Mrs. David Z. Hafits, 1419 Virginia street, to receive a discharge from the armed forces.

Sgt. Hafits, who was graduated from Central high school in 1933 and from Morningside college in 1938, interrupted his study of law at the University of South Dakota to enter the Army air forces in June, 1942.  He was a member of the 341st fighter squadron, Col. Neil Kearby’s famous outfit, and served as radio operator through the campaigns on New Guinea, The Netherlands East Indies, Philippines, Okinawa and Iwo Jima.  Sgt. Hafits wears the presidential unit citation, Philippine liberation ribbon, with nine bronze battle stars on the Asiatic-Pacific theater ribbon.

Sgt. Hafits expects to resume the study of law.  His brothers who still are in the service are Harold, with the A. A. F. in Tinian, Mariannas; Eugene in Belgium in the medical corps; and twin brothers, Arthur and William now at the air base at Kearney, Neb.

Source:  The Sioux City Journal, November 21, 1945