Welcome Home, Private Clifford Mills.
The remains of a fallen World War II soldier from Troy were recently discovered in Belgium and will now return for a proper burial.
Private First Class Clifford Mills was in a glider flying over the Netherlands in 1944 during Operation Market Garden when he was shot down by German Soldiers. His remains were unidentified and he was buried in a cemetery in Belgium.
Meanwhile, his name, along with the names of the soliders that went down with him were placed on a memorial wall in the village on Margraten in the Netherlands. The small town kept the honor of the fallen American soldiers who fought and died in the effort to free their community from the Nazi stronghold.
Nowy van Hedel, a resident of the community, adopted the “grave” or memory of Clifford Mills through an adoption program where residents can study a fallen soldier’s name on the wall and learn more about them. van Hedel took it upon himself to learn about Private Mills about twelve years ago. For him, it was important to do something to give back to the soldiers who gave their lives for his people’s freedoms.
van Hedel became the biographer for Mills, learning about Perry County and even reaching out to the Mills family. He eventually ended up to the spot where Mills went missing, reading papers about the accounts of what happened during the unsuccessful military operation of Operation Market Garden.
After reaching out to the U.S. Army and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency with his information, he was thanked for his help but didn’t hear anything for about two years. To van Hedel’s surprise, he was notified just recently that Mill’s remains were found and would be returned to Perry County, which filled him with absolute bliss.
Now that Private Mills is finally returning home after years of being away, a service will be held at the Jasper Armory tomorrow at 2:00 PM EST, in which the family members of Mills will be awarded the Purple Heart and the World War II Service Medal. The event is open to the public.