South Carolina soldier killed in World War II accounted for after 75 years, officials say

Army Staff Sgt. William R. Linder, 30, of Piedmont, South Carolina, was accounted for Sept. 23.
Army Staff Sgt. William R. Linder, 30, of Piedmont, South Carolina, was accounted for Sept. 23.(Source: WYFF)
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 7:28 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WYFF) - A South Carolina man who was killed during World War II has finally been accounted for and will receive a proper soldier’s burial in his Anderson County hometown, military officials said Monday.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA, said in a release that Army Staff Sgt. William R. Linder, 30, of Piedmont, South Carolina, was accounted for Sept. 23.

Officials explained the circumstances of Linder’s death in this statement:

“In late 1944, Linder was assigned to Company E, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was part of the Hürtgen Forest offensive, near Hürtgen, Germany, when he was reported missing in action on Nov. 16. German forces never listed him as a prisoner of war. The War Department issued a presumptive finding of death on Nov. 17, 1945.”

The American Graves Registration Command conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950, but officials said they were unable to recover or identify Linder’s remains.

Linder was declared non-recoverable in December 1951.

While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, an agency historian determined that one set of unidentified remains, designated X-5431 Neuville, originally discovered by local residents shortly after a forest fire swept through the area in 1947, possibly belonged to Linder.

The remains, which had been buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, were disinterred in April 2019 and sent to the DPAA laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for examination and identification.

To identify Linder’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

Scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System also used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.

Linder’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Henri-Chapelle, Belgium, along with the others still missing from World War II.

A rosette will now be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Linder will be buried on Oct. 29, in Anderson, South Carolina.

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