In Memory of
Staff Sargent
Adolph H. Bartels
Gettysburg, South Dakota
Potter County
August 23, 1921 --October 3, 1945
Killed in Action near Iloila, Panay, Philippines

 Adolph H. Bartels

Adolph H. Bartels Jr. was born August 23, 1921, on his father's farm southeast of Gettysburg. Adolph had four brothers and a sister: Bruce, Mervin, Elvin, Gene, and Eva Belle.

Adolph enlisted on August 4, 1942, from Potter County. On his 21st birthday, August 23, 1942, he left for Sheppard Field, Texas, for training. He also trained at Douglas Plant, Santa Monica, and Kearns, Utah. On August 23, 1943, he was shipped out and served in several bases in the southwest Pacific with the 68th Fighter Squadron, USAF, as a staff sergeant. His friends affectionately referred to him as “Battler.”

On October 3, 1945, Staff Sergeant Adolph H. Bartels was killed when a B-25 exploded and crashed 40 miles southwest of Iloila, Panay, near the village of Titoga. Since there wasn’t any radio contact made with the plane after its departure from Palawan Island, the cause of the crash is unknown. All occupants of the plane were killed instantly. A letter to his mother from the commanding officer is below:

10 October, 1945

Mrs. Virl Bartels
Lebanon, South Dakota

Dear Mrs. Bartels,

It is with deep regret that I was required to notify the Adjutant General of the death of your son; Staff Sergeant Adolph H. Bartels, 37287947, and this letter is to convey to you the deepest sympathy of the officers and the men of the 68th fighter Squadron in your bereavement.

“Battler,” as his many friends affectionately knew him, was killed on 3 October 1945 while riding as a passenger on a B-25 airplane enroute from Palawan to Leyte, for processing and return to the United States. The plane exploded in the air and crashed forty miles southwest of Iloila, Panay; near the village of Titoga.  Since no radio contact was made with the plane after its departure from Palawan Island, the cause of the explosion and the crash is unknown. All occupants of the plane were instantly killed.

Your son, Adolph, had served all of his twenty-seven months overseas in this squadron as an airplane propeller mechanic in our engineering section and by his unswerving loyalty not only reflected the highest credit on himself and the Armed Forces, but by his example served as an inspiration to the officers and men of this organization.

Sgt. Bartel's body was temporarily buried in the USAF cemetery No. 1 Iloila, Panay. He was later moved to No. 1, Leyte Island in the Philippines. He was brought back to Gettysburg and services were held February 21, 1949, and he was buried in the Gettysburg Cemetery. He is survived by his three brothers and his sister.

 I would like to thank these brave, and very-full hearted individuals who suffered the consequences of fighting for the United States’ republic and freedom that allow us to live as we like. I am very grateful and can never repay or thank these men enough.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Dustin Boes, Cody Poppen, and Allison Fosheim, 9th grade, Stanley County High School, Ft. Pierre, South Dakota, April 19, 2002. Information for this entry was provided by Phyllis Wise of the Dakota Sunset Museum, Gettysburg, South Dakota; Bruce Bartels, Newell, South Dakota, brother of Sgt. Bartels, and Eva Belle Beauchamp, Waddell, Arizona, sister of Sgt. Bartels.