SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The remains of a World War II veteran from Spartanburg County were missing for decades.
Now, he is coming home.
Army Staff Sergeant George Walker was taken as a prisoner of war and was killed while trying to escape back in 1944.
His grandson has the Bronze Star that Walker received for his heroic actions. His grandson said he is so happy his grandfather is finally coming home.
“Makes you wonder how much different things would have been had he made it,” said Bobby Walker.
Bobby Walker, who goes by Butch, is the next of kin for SSgt. Walker.
“He had two children, my father and my uncle, and they each had two children,” said Walker.
Almost 80 years later, his grandfather is coming home.
“I mean, I’m sad and proud at the same time, it’s really emotional,” he said.
SSgt. Walker was a part of a bombing mission in Germany. His grandson said he was a gunner on one of the convoy planes.
“They believe the engine got damaged by anti-aircraft fire because they kept falling back from the rest of the convoy. And eventually had to order to bail out and the plane crashed into the ocean,” he said.
Butch says two other soldiers on the plane died that day.
“And the other five, they were all captured, except for my grandfather, they all made it home,” said Walker.
During the Walker’s time as a prisoner of war, Butch said his grandfather was involved with the escape committee and acted as the map maker.
He said things took a turn for the worse during the escape attempt.
“They were seen and the guards called out the dogs and they were, you know, mauled by the dogs and when my grandfather stood to raise his hands to surrender, he was shot and killed,” said Walker.
Staff Sergeant Walker was killed at 25 and his death certificate reads homicide.
“We took pride in that he died like a soldier – fighting. He didn’t just wither away,” said Walker.
Butch said his grandfather made the ultimate sacrifice and will finally have a proper burial.
“They’re going to have a big military honors and everything. So, I don’t really want to say I’m looking forward to it, but it’s going to be another prideful event,” he said.
The fallen hero will be buried at the Green Lawn Cemetery on Saturday, September 10, at 1 p.m.
Butch said his grandfather will be buried right across the street from his family. He said the entire family is coming together for the burial to honor their family member lost too soon.