In Memory of
Marine Corporal
Albertus Augustine Altfillisch
Pedro, South Dakota
Meade County
August 26, 1926 - February 22, 1944
Killed in Acton at Rabaul, New Britain

Albertus Augustine Altfillisch

Albertus “Albert” Augustine Altfillisch was born on August 26, 1926, in Faith, South Dakota to Albert Benignus Altfillisch and Katherine (Freiberg) Altfillisch. He grew up on the Altfillisch ranch near Timber Creek along the Cheyenne River in Meade County. He graduated from Rapid City High School in June, 1941. He had one sister, Helen, and two brothers, Luke and Michael, who both served in the armed forces also. Albert never married.

Corporal Altfillisch was killed in action off the coast of Rabaul, New Britain, on February 22, 1944, while serving as a gunner on a Grumman Avenger on an attack on enemy shipping. In addition to a personal tribute written by General A. A. Vandergrift, commandant of the Marine Corps, Secretary of the Navy Forrestal wrote the following citation regarding the circumstances of Corporal Altfillisch death:

For courageous and heroic conduct as a radio gunner in Marine Torpedo
Bombing Squadron 143 in aerial combat against enemy shipping and land
installations. His expert marksmanship and courageous devotion to duty
contributed materially to the successful completion of these missions and
were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Markers at a cemetery in Hawaii and in the Black Hill National Cemetery near Sturgis, South Dakota, serve as memorials to Corporal Altfillisch's service to his country. He is also remembered by a close high school classmate, U.S. Navy veteran Bill Stone, who said: “ Old men like myself feel a twinge of guilt when thinking about boyhood friends who shall remain forever young as war time casualties. We know we did our duty, but still feel the guilt of living to have families and long lives, while others, like Albert, gave their all.”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Stephanie O’Connell, Jonathan Kurten, and Brady Grenz, Philip 8th Grade Middle School, Philip South Dakota, March 15, 2002. Information for this entry was provided by Alice Earle, Canton, Massachusetts, a niece; Louie Freiberg, Rapid City, South Dakota, an uncle; and Bill Stone, Rapid City, South Dakota, a high school classmate.