Hamilton County

Pfc. Walter H. Pfaffenbach





Memorial to Be Held for Pfc. Walter H. Pfaffenbach, 21

Memorial services will be held here Sunday for Pfc. Walter H. Pfaffenbach, 21 who died Oct. 12, 1944, at Sansapor, Dutch New Guinea, from injuries received while assisting in the rescue of officers and men from a flaming bomber which caught on fire on taking off.

Entered Service

Private Pfaffenbach entered the service May 1, 1943, and took his eight weeks’ basic training at Kearns field, Salt Lake City, Utah; later transferred to Buckley Field, Colo., for five weeks. He went to Fargo, N. D., for eight weeks’ training in administrative work and from there moved to Seymour Johnson Field, Goldsboro, N. C., where he was located for three months.

For a time he was stationed at Camp Kilmer, New Brunswick, N. J., and went overseas from that post, Dec. 19, 1943. He had served at New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Sterling island in the Treasure islands group, and in Bougainville before being stationed in New Guinea. He was in AAF administrative work, attached to a base operations group.

In This City

Son of Emil and Alta Pfaffenbach, Walter Henry Pfaffenbach was born in Webster City and received his education in the schools here.

June 14, 1942 he was married to Nina Bailey of Eagle Grove and they made their home in this city where he was employed by the Brin Furniture store, until entering the service. Besides his parents and wife, he is survived by one son, Walter Steven, age 2, two sisters, Mrs. Eugene Kiesecker and Mrs. Franklin Stein and one brother, Donald, all of this city.

Baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith, he was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran church in Webster City.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Apr. 26, 1945


For heroism which resulted in his death, Pfc. Walter H. Pfaffenbach, son of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Pfaffenbach of this city, has been posthumously awarded the soldier’s medal. The Freeman-Journal has been notified by AAF headquarters in Des Moines.

The medal was presented Wednesday to his wife, Mrs. Nina Pfaffenbach, at an informal ceremony in her home at Eagle Grove. First Lt. Irwin E. Stauber of the servicing detachment at the AAF headquarters in Des Moines made the presentation.

The Webster City soldier served in the air corps for 18 months and was a base operations clerk at a Pacific air field at the time of his accidental death.

His citation reads as follows:
“For heroism at ——(name of field omitted) on Oct. 12, 1944. While on duty as a base operations clerk, Private First Class Pfaffenbach saw a bomb-laden B-25 crash into an embankment and burst into flames. Rushing immediately to the scene of the crash, he began making strenuous efforts to extinguish the fire in order to rescue the men whom he thought were trapped in the burning aircraft. While engaged in this perilous task the plane exploded, killing Private First Class Pfaffenbach. The courage and devotion to duty displayed by this enlisted man reflects great credit upon himself and the military service.”

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Sept. 21, 1945

NOTES: Walter Henry Pfaffenbach was born Nov. 6, 1922 to Emil Henry and Alta Gertrude Blackburn Pfaffenbach. He died Oct. 12, 1944, and is buried in Graceland Cemetery, Webster City, IA.

Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA
World War II Memorial