Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Who Was Lt. A. F. Linde?


Of history, estate sales, attics and kids


The clipping said he was back in the United States to receive "…training and new equipment before being reposted to the Pacific." Another clipping showed he separated from the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) with 37 months of service, so he was amongst the thousands of aircrew members who were released and never went to the Pacific.

But, then what? He had a life after the war. Did he become a father and grandfather? An upstanding member of his community? I don't know. And I probably never will.

A Google search tells me an Arlyn F. Linde died age 85 in May of 2007. That would have made him 23 in 1945. Right age. Too close to be coincidental.

The "Big G" also led me to a book written by an Arlyn F. Linde and published by the Wisconsin Conservation Department in 1963 titled Muskrat Pelt Pattern And Primeness. That's a little too esoteric for my normal reading. Still, the Dancing Goat Book Store in Norfolk, England, could make it mine for only three and a half pounds. I'll pass. It may not even be my Lt. Linde. But, it was published in Wisconsin. Did his career path lead him into wildlife conservation? I had a lot of questions, but no answers.

It drives me nuts that a man can return to base with gaping holes in his airplane. Maybe with a flight deck slick with his friends' blood. Or, his own. Yet, his deeds are lost to history, and I could find no specifics on his military life at all.

After the war, did he marry and have kids, and did he tell them of his role in rewriting history? Or, of friends he lost? Or, of enemies he vanquished? Or, did he go through life with only a very few knowing of his sometimes-horrific experiences in combat?

It drives me even more nuts that his personal items, including knives, uniforms and even dog tags, wound up with Rainbowseeker in her antique store. She says she picked everything up in a footlocker at an estate sale. So his heirs, maybe his kids or grandkids, placed so little personal value on items on which their father and grandfather had left his DNA that they were happy to convert them into cash at a yard sale. To me, that's tragic on so many levels.

If something existed from such a historic time that had my forbearer's name inscribed on it, I'd go through the flames of hell to make sure it stayed in the family and was passed down to successive generations. No way would I let it wind up in a yard sale. But, that's just me.

P.S. If there are any descendants of Arlyn F. Linde, 2nd Lt. of the USAAF, reading this, and you can prove your family connection, email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and the knives and news clippings will be on their way to you, free of charge! They belong in your house. Not mine.





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