The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that Army Staff Sgt. William R. Linder, 30, of Piedmont, South Carolina, killed during World War II, was accounted for 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.
Linder will be buried Oct. 29, 2021, in Anderson, South Carolina.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
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.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Linder’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000ccBjEAI.