Services for missing WWII soldier held Friday at M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery

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Graveside services for Army Staff Sgt. William R. Linder, 30, of Piedmont, who was killed in Germany during World War II, were held Friday, Oct. 29, at M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery. Gray Mortuary in Pelzer is conducting the funeral service.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) officially announced that Staff Sgt. W. Linder, 30, was accounted for on Sept. 23, 2021.

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.
Following the end of the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) was tasked with investigating and recovering missing American personnel in Europe. They 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.

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 be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary-Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission.
Several family members of Staff Sgt. Linder still reside in the Piedmont/Powdersville area.

Burial services for Linder were at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery, 140 Inway Dr, Anderson.

(A processional will leave Gray Mortuary in Pelzer at approximately 1 p.m. and come through Williamston about 1:15 p.m. for anyone who would like to show respect for the fallen soldier. The Veterans Cemetery is located just off Hwy. 178 (Belton Highway) not far from Belton.)

The M.J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery, located on 57 acres, opened in December 2007. As of 30 June 2017, 2,722 Veterans, spouses and dependents, have been buried with another 5,718 registered (pre-certified) with the cemetery for burials in the future.
Gray Mortuary in Pelzer is handling the arrangements.
DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary-Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission.

 

Missing WWII soldier
Additional details on death and identification of Staff Sgt. William R. Linder

Army Staff Sgt. William R. Linder, 30, of Piedmont, entered the U.S. Army from South Carolina and served in Company E, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. The Hürtgen Forest offensive lasted from 19 September 1944 to 10 February 1945, consisting of a fierce series of clashes between U.S. forces and the entrenched German forces.
On November 7, 1944, the 12th Infantry Regiment relieved the exhausted soldiers of the 109th Infantry Regiment that was situated north of the town of Germeter. On November 16, Company E along with Companies F and G attacked northward but were stopped by rifle and machine gun fire. The next day, Companies E and F attempted to continue their advance but were forced to withdraw to their previous positions. Historical circumstances suggest SSG Linder was lost during the fighting on November 17.

The American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, conducted several investigations in the Hürtgen Forest between 1946 and 1950. Dozens of remains were recovered during these investigations. At the time, none of these remains could be associated with SSG Linder.

More recently, a DPAA historian identified a possible connection between one set of remains that had been recovered following a forest fire in 1947 and a short list of individuals. These remains were disinterred from the Ardennes American Cemetery in April, 2019, and accessioned into the DPAA Laboratory. The laboratory analysis and the totality of the circumstantial evidence available established the remains as those of SSG Linder.

On September 23, 2021, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified the remains of Staff Sergeant William Rufus Linder, missing from World War II.
Staff Sergeant Linder is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Hombourg, Belgium.