Not much is recorded of Joseph Von Nosacek’s early life. He was born on October 26th, 1920, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Army in October 1939, before the United States became involved in World War II. This perhaps indicates that Nosacek was anticipating a career as a soldier. He married Erna Islinger, and the two had a son before Nosacek was deployed to fight overseas. The rest of the information that can be gleaned of Nosacek’s life comes from the tragic circumstances of his death in action.
Joseph Nosacek deployed with the 346th Infantry Regiment, 87th Infantry Division on November 1st, 1944, to join General Patton’s Third Army near Metz, Germany. General Patton was planning to push toward Metz, but the last-ditch German offensive that ignited the Battle of the Bulge shifted Patton’s attention toward Belgium:
Sailing from the United States on November 1, 1944, the 87th arrived only three weeks later near Metz, on the Third Army front, where General Patton planned to give it its baptism of fire. But Marshal Von Rundstedt changed those plans with his counteroffensive. When Patton rushed over to help the First Army repel the onslaught, the 87th was one of the divisions he took with him to smash the drive. They moved close to where the battered remnants of the 106th Division were reassembling. ‘When we saw what had been done to them,’ one 87th man said, ‘our outfit got together and started working as a team.’
The 87th Division thus helped the Third Army break the German offensive at the Bulge, decisively ending Hitler’s hopes of pushing the Allies out of Western Europe. Throughout the remainder of the Battle, Nosacek and the 87th were hardened by the fires of war into a fighting force of steely-eyed veterans.
On January 3rd, 1945, Nosacek was reported missing in action. He had been wounded in the fighting at the Bulge and taken as a prisoner of war by the Germans. It seems likely that Nosacek was taken to Dulag Luft, a holding station for mostly Air-Force prisoners that served as a stop on their way to one of the larger prisoner of war camps throughout Germany:
Each prisoner was held in solitary confinement for a limited period of time – usually four or five days… The interrogators used various methods in an effort to obtain operational information from the captured airmen. Most POWs gave only the information required by the Geneva Convention – Name, rank, and serial number. After interrogation the men were sent to a transit camp and then to their established POW camp.
Nosacek was probably slated to be transported to the larger Stalag-Luft IX-B prison camp but died from the wounds he sustained in Belgium on January 11th before he was transported there. His wife and young son received news of his death via telegram that March. A month later, on April 25th, American troops liberated Stalag-Luft.
Leaving behind a grieving wife and a son burdened with a life without a father, Nosacek paid the ultimate price to secure his country and the world’s freedom from authoritarian fascism. His death is a reminder of the dangers that our service people face every day as volunteers in the Armed Forces. He leaves behind a legacy of heroism, a man who stood as a bulwark against the tyranny of Nazism.
 “German POW Camps with 303rd BG (H) Prisoners,” Hell’s Angels 303rd Bomb Group, accessed June 10, 2022, Nosacek’s internment at Dulag Luft is probable due to his place of death being listed as Bad Homburg, with Dulag Luft being the nearest prison camp to this town “SSGT Joseph Von Nosacek,” Find a Grave (Ancestry), accessed June 10, 2022,