U. S. Army Staff Sargent William Rufus Linder is finally home.
SSGT William Rufus “Bud” Linder, of Piedmont, at age 30, was killed in action on Nov. 17, 1944 when his unit was a part Hürtgen Forest offensive, near Hürtgen, Germany.
He was reported missing and German forces never listed him as a prisoner of war. The U. S. War Department issued a presumptive finding of death on Nov. 17, 1945.
Almost 77 years after he went missing when the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) officially announced that Staff Sgt. W. Linder was accounted for on Sept. 23, 2021.
Graveside services for SSGT Linder were held Friday, Oct. 29 at M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen area between 1946 and 1950, but were unable to recover or identify Linder’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable in December 1951.
While studying unresolved American losses in the Hürtgen area, a DPAA 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. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis.
Following the identification , Gray Mortuary in Pelzer was contacted by a U S Army Casualty Assistance Officer to handle funeral arrangements. Linder’s remains were flown in to Charlotte Douglas International Airport and transported to Gray Mortuary in West Pelzer.
Photo – SSGT William Linder’s remains were flown in to Charlotte Douglas International Airport and transported to Gray Mortuary in West Pelzer. (Photo courtesy Gray Mortuary)
A graveside service with military honors was held Friday at M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery.
Ms. Melanie Hitt opened with prayer and presented remarks and a message. Rev. Wilton Fowler made remarks and offered a closing prayer. A letter from Governor McMaster was presented by Steven Noonan and Stanley Foreman.
Military Honors were conducted by the U. S. Army.
Linder was born in fort Mill, the only son of the William Simpson and Esther E. Stansell Linder, formerly of Piedmont. Prior to joining the U. S. Army, he was employed with Daniel Construction. He was a Protestant.
Survivors included nieces, Gladys Moody of Walhalla, Norma J. Arujo of Lakeland Fr., Arlene Alexander of Show Low, AZ, and Sylvia sue Kent of Powdersville; nephew, Buddy Bryant of Piedmont; and numerous great-nieces and nephews.
Linder was predeceased by sisters, Cora lee Poole, Willie Smith Bentley, Ruby Linder Bryant.
(Photo below by Michael Lollis/The Journal)