Dale Marker remembered with highway dedication


By Ryan Berry


ARCANUM — The Dale Marker’s family and friends gathered on Sunday, June 4 to dedicate the establishment of the PFC Dale Marker Memorial Highway on a section of State Route 571. The stretch of highway runs from Gettysburg-Pitsburg Road to Burkholder Road. The northbound sign is located on the property of the Marker family farm.

Stephen Marker, son, said, “I am very happy with today. I was coming home from North Carolina last July and I saw several of these signs on (State) Route 35. I thought, well, my dad deserves one of them.”

Dale was a World War II veteran who was wounded twice and received numerous awards for his service to the country, including the Silver Star.

In his memoir, Dale recalled being drafted on March 6, 1943, at Fort Thomas, Ky. He was 18 years old at the time. He had to mature quickly. In January 1944 he set sail for Africa and then onto Naples, Italy. They landed on the Anzio Beach Head and Dale got his first taste of battle. “Me and Al Tomaskovic laid in a slit trench and cried all night. Shells were landing all around us,” he wrote.

Prior to being hit, Dale remembers, “I did a lot praying that if I had to get hit, I wouldn’t get hit in the head or the stomach. So, I guess my prayers were answered both times I was hit.” The first time he was wounded was while walking through a plowed field to the front. “A German 88 shell came in and got nine of use out of the platoon. I got hit the least of them all,” he wrote.

He faced many close calls during his time overseas including when they were fighting and heading toward Rome and were bombed and strafed by friendly fire. On the beach at St. Tropez a soldier in front of him stepped on a mine. He had just gotten off guard and was sleeping when six men from the crew that relieved them were captured by the Germans.

Dale also recalled the time when he was taken off a machine gun and put on a bazooka and were pinned down by a German tank. “I had to go out in front of the Company a good way to get a shot at the German tank. The tank’s machine guns had spotted me and were firing at me. How they missed, I still don’t know. I fired at the tank and knocked the guns out. I turned around to get my ammo carrier to reload me and he hadn’t followed me out there. If I wouldn’t have gotten the guns with the first shell, I wouldn’t be writing this memoir,” he wrote. It was for his heroic actions and crossing 100 yards of open ground under heavy fire to knock out a tank that he earned the Silver Star.

The next day, Dale went to talk to a sergeant when the shells started going over his head. “I told Sergeant Gant, that’s our own artillery, but it’s getting too close to suit me. I started for my fox hole, but one hit a tree above me and came down like rain. I was hit badly this time,” he said in his memoir.

That was the last of the action Dale would see. They tried to give him combat conditioning, but his leg and hip continued to bother him. He had been wounded twice and experienced several bouts of trench foot. He finished out his service in in the 240th Quartermaster Company near Marseille, France. After approximately two months of service there, he was informed he had received the Silver Star. “When I got back to the 240th, I was King! They sent me to Nice, France on a seven-day rest. They called me ‘Silver Star Marker.’”

Dale passed away in 2018, but his family still lives in Darke County. According to the testimony given in support of House Bill 737, the family is very proud of his service to our country. The testimony reads, “In a world and time when we need more heroes to look up to, and more great men of virtue, character and valor to emulate, I think it highly appropriate that we honor and preserve the memory of Private First Class Dale Marker in the Darke County community by enacting this road naming designation.” The testimony was submitted by State Representative Jena Powell, 80th House District.

The Darke County Honor Guard was on-hand for the dedication and said, “I dedicate this highway to the memory of Dale Marker who served in the service of his country. I dedicate it in the name of Dale who offered his life so that justice, freedom and democracy might survive to be the victorious ideals of the peoples of the world.”

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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