Heroes: the Army


"...'At the time your husband was killed, we were fighting an intense action against a brutal attack by two German Divisions in the vicinity of Meijel, Holland. Naturally, in the face of such an assault, we were forced to give some ground..."


image of Robert Lee Rutledge

Robert Lee Rutledge.
Image taken approximately 1944

Robert Lee Rutledge
48th Armored Infantry Battalion
(7th Armored Division)
United States Army

Killed in Action: 29 October 1944

IMAGE of 7th Armored Division

image of US flag

IMAGE of Clipping No. 1

IMAGE of Clipping No. 2

image of Clipping No. 3


Rutledge Last Letter

image of Rutledge Last Letter

"My Daddy's Last Letter Home"


Dearest All,

Well, I guess you think I've forgot you, but I haven't. I just don't have so much time to write. Don't feel bad where I don't because I'll do my best to let you hear. If I don't write is no sign I'm not thinking of you all.

Hope this finds all of you o.k. I'm feeling good. I guess that's all I could ask for now. I think I'm lucky to be doing that well. We have a better chow here than we have so far. It's more of a variety. It takes all I can do to hold what I get.

Haven't been able to get any mail yet. Stay on the go to much for it to catch up. I think I miss it by 1/2 day at the last place. What I would give for a long letter from home.


    This unfinished letter to the family of Robert Lee Rutledge is the beginning of a search -- a quest -- for the soldier who left home and never returned. His daughter, Ginger Rutledge Gregory has been searching for answers about her Dad and his final hours leading to his untimely tragic death in combat in Holland.

    Robert Lee Rutledge was originally listed as "missing in action in the area of Meijel, Holland" during fierce fighting that took place against intense German opposition -- as his family was later to learn.

    His family was also to later learn that Robert Lee Rutledge, a lowely Pfc with the 48th Armored Infantry Battalion,7th Armored Division, was killed during this intense action between American and German forces. The action resulted in the allies losing ground to the relentless Germans' attacks and only much later was the ground retaken -- and the location of Pfc. Rutledge burial site, along with many other Americans killed during this action was located.

    Since those terrifying moments -- the lives of many people were forever touched by this event. Robert Lee Rutledge's daughter, Ginger has begun a quest to find out what happened on that October day in 1944.

    Below you may read text versions and in some cases, copies of documents received over time that has painfully shed some light into the events of October 28, 1944.

    Much has been uncovered -- much is still to be done -- Little Ginger's search continues...


IMAGE of telegram #1

IMAGE of telegram #2

Click on the above "telegrams" for a larger view...


    Simple -- but moving -- terrifying are words that describe the above images. Countless households across America received these telegrams during the bloody years of World War II. Each occurance had a dramatic and intense impact upon the lives of the family, relatives and friends who were to open the envelopes with trembling hands...and read on!

    On 17 November 1944 a letter is dictated:







AG 201 Rutledge, Robert L.

17 November 1944

Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge
Route 1 A
Lumpkin, Georgia


Dear Mrs. Rutledge:      

      This letter is to confirm my recent telegram in which you were regretfully informed that your husband, Private Robert L. Rutledge, 34,973,267, Infantry, has been reported missing in action in Holland since 29 October 1944.

      I know that added distress is caused by failure to receive more information or details. Therefore, I wish to assure you that at any time additional information is received it will be transmitted to you without delay, and, if in the meantime no additional information is received, I will again communicate with you at the expiration cf three months.

      The term "missing in action" is used only to indicate that the whereabouts or status of an individual is not immediately known. It is not intended to convey the impression that the case is closed. I wish to emphasize that every effort is exerted continuously to clear up the status of our personnel. Under war conditions this is a difficult task as you must readily realize. Experience has shown that many persons reported missing in action are subsequently reported as prisoners of war, but as this information is furnished by countries with which we are at war, the War Department is helpless to expedite such reports. However, in order to relieve financial worry, Congress has enacted legislation which continues in force the pay, allowances and allotments to dependents of personnel being carried in a missing status.

      Permit me to extend to you my heartfelt sympathy during this period of uncertainty.

Sincerely yours,

The Adjutant General


Then on 23 March 1945, the following letter was written:






AG 201 Rutledge, Robert L.

23 March 1945

Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge
Route lA
Lumpkin, Georgia


Dear Mrs. Rutledge:

      It is with profound regret that I confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your husband, Private Robert L. Rutledge, 34,973,267, Infantry, who was previously reported missing in action in Holland on 29 October 1944.

      An official message has now been received which states that he was killed in action on the date he was previously reported missing in action. Recently provisions were made whereby there will be sent directly to the emergency addressee or the next of kin a letter containing further information about each person who dies overseas in the service of our country, and if this letter has not already been received, it may be expected soon.

      I realize the burden of anxiety that has been yours since he was first reported missing in action and deeply regret the sorrow this later report brings you. May the knowledge that he made the supreme sacrifice for his home and country be a source of sustaining comfort.

      My sympathy is with you in this time of great sorrow.

Sincerely yours,

Major General
The Adjutant General

1 Inclosure
Bulletin of Information



Another letter followed in April, 1945...



SPIPK-201. (PAD) Rutledge, Robert L. (dec.)        

 5 April 1945

34 973 267 Pvt. - Inf. (29 October 1944)

Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge,
Route 1 A,
Lumpkin, Georgia.

My dear Mrs. Rutledge:

      It was with sorrow and deep regret that the Fourth Service Command learned from The Adjutant General of the Army of your recent bereavement. May I convey to you my sympathy and that of this command.

      The Army desires to aid you in every possible way within its power. If any difficulty should arise in the preparation or clearance of War Department papers, it is suggested that you avail yourself of the services of the Personal Affairs Division. One of the principal duties of this Division is to assist families of military personnel in matters pertaining to all benefits or rights that may be due under existing laws and regulations. Should you feel the need of this assistance, please feel free to consult the Personal Affairs Officer at Fort Benning, Georgia, or at the address given below.

      Nothing can compensate you for the loss of your husband. Your sacrifice has, indeed, been a great one. But you should take comfort from the fact that your loved one gave his life for his country and the ideals of freedom for which it stands. May that knowledge en courage you to deal courageously with the future.

Sincerely yours,


F. E. UHL,
Major General, U. S.


Another letter followed in April, 1945...



United States Senate

April 10, 1945


Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge
Route 1 A
Lumpkin, Georgia


Dear Mrs. Rutledge:

      Mrs. George and I have learned of the loss of your husband and offer you our sincre sympathy. We have suffered a similar loss.

      Your husband gave everything he had to his country. It is my hope and prayer that we who are spared will do everything withing our power to see that his great sacrifice was not made in vain.

Sincerely yours,

Walter F. George



Other letters began to follow...


April 28, 1945.



My dear Mrs. Rutledge:

      At the request of the President, I write to inform you that the Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to your husband, Private Robert L. Rutledge, Infantry, who sacrificed his life in defense of his country.

      Little that we can do or say will console you for the death of your loved one. We profoundly appreciate the greatness of your loss, for in a very real sense the loss suffered by any of us in this battle for our country, is a loss shared by all of us. When the medal, which you will shortly receive, reaches you, I want you to know that with it goes my sincerest sympathy, and the hope that time and the victory of our cause will finally lighten the burden of your grief.

Sincerely yours,

Henry L. Stenson


Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge,
Route #1 A,
Lumpkin, Georgia.


And still more letters follow...



Veterans Service Office

23 Whitehead Building
Albany, Georgia

May 7, 1945


Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge
Rt. 1-A
Lumpkin, Georgia

Dear Mrs. Rutledge:

      We are deeply sorry to learn of the death of your husband, Robert L. Rutledge and we wish to express our sincerest sympathy.

      The Government recognises this supreme sacrifice and is willing and ready to do all in its power to assist you in making your future secure.

      You will receive various papers to complete and forms to fill out direct from Washington. Please feel free to call on our office to assist you in handling any of these details. The Veterans Service Office has been established for just such service not only to the veteran but to his family.

      Permit me to again extend my deep sympathy in the great loss you have sustained.

Yours very truly,



By: C. P. Whiting
Field Supervisor
Southern Area


Then in June 1945, this letter arrives...


2 Park Avenue
New York 16, New York
June 8, 1945


Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge
Route #1 A
Lumpkin, Georgia

XC-3, 929,802

Dear Madam:

      The Veterans Administration has learned with regret of the death of the above named veteran.

      Under existing laws you may be entitled to a pension, and there is enclosed a blank form for your use. If you desire to file a claim, the enclosed form should be carefully filled out in accordance with the instructions printed thereon and returned to the Veterans Administration, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Should you feel the need of assistance in the preparation of your claim you may write to the Veterans Adninistration, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or contact any Veterans AdministratiOn Facility.

      Any pension benefits payable will be in addition to any Government life insurance benefits to which you may be entitled, for which reason a serarate claim for pension must be filed. You may be assured that upon receipt of the claim it will be given careful consideration and you will be informed of any additional evidence which may be required.

      All correspondence relative to this case should be addressed to this office, and should show the veteran's name and XC&emdash;number given above, to permit prompt identification.


Dependents Claims Service

Enc. Form 534

Adjudication Form 605
Rev. March 1943





AGPC 201 Rutledge, Robert L.
(4 Jun 45) 34 973 267

23 June 1945


Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge
Route One A
Lumpkin, Georgia


Dear Mrs. Rutledge:

      This is in reply to your recent letter relative to your husband, Private Robert L. Rutledge.

      I can fully understand your desire to receive a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding his death. I am forwarding your letter to the commanding general of the theater of operations in which he was serving at the time of his death requesting that additional information be transmitted to you.

      I feel confident you realize the magnitude of the task to prepare, assemble, and verify all available information in each case and the variations of time required but I wish to assure you that our theater commanders make every effort to dispatch these letters as expeditiously as possible.

      It is hoped that the information you so earnestly desire will soon be forthcoming and that it will be a source of sustaining comfort to you. Permit me again to express my heartfelt sympathy.

Sincerely yours,


Major General
The Adjutant General of the Army




Rutledge, Robert L.
SN 34 973 267

9 July 1945

Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge
Route One A
Lumpkin, Georgia


Dear Mrs. Rutledge:

      Reference is made to your letter in which you requested information concerning the grave location of your husband, the late Private Robert L. Rutledge.

      The official records of this office show that the remains of your husband werer interred in the United States Military Cemetery, Margraten, Holland, Plot S, Row 10, Grave 232.

      Please accept my sincere sympathy in the loss of your husband.


Sincerely yours,


Colonel, QMC




Pvt Robert L. Rutledge, 34 973 267
Plot S, Row 10, Grave 232
United States Military Cemetery
Margraten, Holland

28 November 1947

Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge
Route One A
Lumpkin, Georgia


Dear Mrs. Rutledge:

      The people of the United States, through the Congress have authorized the disinterment and final burial of the heroic dead of World War II. The Quartermaster General of the Army has been entrusted with this sacred responsibility to the honored dead.. The records of the War Department indicate that you may be the nearest relative of the above-named deceased, who gave his life in the service of his country.

      The enclosed pamphlets, "Disposition of World War II Armed Forces Dead," and "American Cemeteries," explain the disposition, options and services made available to you by your Government. If you are the next of kin according to the line of kinship as set forth in the enclosed. pamphlet, "Disposition of World War II Armed Forces Dead," you are invited to express your wishes as to the disposition of the remains of the deceased by completing Part I of the enclosed form "Request for Disposition of Remains." Should you desire to relinquish your rights to the next in line of kinship, please complete Part II of the enclosed form. If you are not the next of kin, please complete Part III of the enclosed form.

      If you should elect Option 2, it is advised that no funeral arrangements or other personal arrangements be made until you are further notified by this office.

      Will you please complete the enclosed form, "Request for Disposition of Remains" and mail in the enclosed self-addressed envelope, which requires no postage, within 30 days after its receipt by you? Its prompt return will avoid. unnecessary delays.

Sincerely yours,

Major General
The Quartermaster General




Branch Office No. 5
Atlanta 3, Georgia

December 20, 1948


Mrs.Marguerite Cannington Hamner
Box 34
Bridgeboro, Georgia

XC- 3 919 802
RUTLEDGE, Robert Lee

Dear Mrs. Hamner:

      Receipt is acknowledged of your letter dated November 17, 1948, informing this office of your recent remarriage on November 12, 1948, to Mr. Hamner.

      You are hereby notified that your award of death compensation benefits as the unremarried widow of the above named veteran has been terminated effective the day preceding the date of your remarriage and adjusted through November 30, 1948, for the minor children in your custody as follows:

Monthly Payment

Commencing Date

Ending Date













Less prior payments

      The necessary adjustment has been made with respect to the National Service Life Insurance benefits to which you are entitled and in the future, you will receive such benefits in your present married name.

      It has been determined that the veteran's minor children, Mary Virginia Rutledge and Robert Leron Rutledge, Jr. are entitled to a continuation of death benefits; however, payments under such award may not be released until this office is in receipt of certain necessary information from the appropriate Regional Office of the Veterans Administration. Such information has been requested and upon its receipt in this office, the necessary action will be taken to effect the release of the initial benefits due on behalf of such children.

      All further correspondence with reference to this case should be addressed to Director of Claims Service, Veterans Administration, Branch Office No. 5, Atlanta 3, Georgia, and must show the full name of the veteran and his XC- number as indicated above.

Very truey yours,

Director, Claims Service

An inquiry by or concerning an ex-service man or woman should, if possible, give veteran's name and file number, whether C, XC, K, N, or V. If such file number is unknown, service or serial number should be given.






Mrs. Marguerite C. Rutledge
Route #1-A
Lumpkin, Georgia

21 February 1949

Pvt. Robert L. Rutledge, ASN 34 973 267
Plot D, Row 7, Grave 21
Headstone: Cross
Margraten U. S. Military Cemetery

Dear Mrs. Rutledge:

      This is to inform you that the remains of your loved one have been permanently interred, as recorded above, side by side with comrades who also gave their lives for their country. Customary military fural services were conducted over the grave at the time of buri al.

      After the Department of the Army has completed all final interments, the cemetery will be transferred, as authorized by the Congress, to the care and supervision of the American Battle Monuments Commission. The Commission also will have the responsibility for permanent construction end beautification of the cemetery, including erection of the permanent headstone. The headstone will be inscribed with the name exactly as recorded above, the rank or rating where appropriate, organization, State, and date of death. Any inquiries relative to the type of headstone or the spelling of the name to be inscribed thereon, should be addressed to the American Battle Monuments Commission, Washington 25, D. C. Your letter should include the full name, rank, serial number, grave location, and name of the cemetery.

      While innterments are in progress, the cemetery will not be open to visitors. You may rest assured that this final interment was conducted with fitting dignity and solemnity and that the grave-site will be carefully and conscientiously maintained in perpetuity by the United States Government.

Sincerely yours,

Major General
The Quartermaster General



June 29, 1983

PVT Robert L. Rutledge
Plot D, Row 7, Grave 21
Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Holland


Mrs. Ginger Rutledge Anthony
331 Broad Street
Statesboro, GA 30458

Dear Mrs. Anthony:

      Thank you for your letter of June 20, 1983.

      Information concerning the Netherlands American Cemetery where your father is interred, directions for travel there, as well as other information of interest may be found on the tabbed pages of the enclosed pamphlet. On arrival at the cemetery, we suggest you go directly to the Visitors' Building where a staff member on duty will he happy to escort you to the gravesite.

      If you will be traveling to the cemetery via Paris, you may wish to telephone or visit the Commission's European office in a suburb of that city. Our staff there will be happy to answer questions you may have concerning your visit. The address and telephone number are on the back of the pamphlet.

      Enclosed are an original and a copy of a letter addressed to the Passport Division, Department of State, for presentation to the Clerk of the nearest State or Federal Court when you apply for your passport. This letter authorizes waiver of federal passport fees and will enable you to obtain your passport at no cost from a Federal Court or Passport Office, and for a small processing charge from a State Court, providing you state on your application that the primary purpose of the trip is to visit your father's gravesite.

      A black and white photograph of the gravesite mounted on a color lithograph of the cemetery will be mailed to you within the next four weeks. Enclosed with the lithograph will be a booklet describing the cemetery in detail.




June 29, 1983


Passport Office
Department of State
Washington, D. C. 20254

Dear Sir:

      Mrs.Ginger Rutledge Anthony, 331 Broad Street, Statesboro, GA 30458 desires to visit the gravesite of her father, the late PVT Robert L. Rutledge, 34973267, Plot D, Row 7, Grave 21, Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Holland.

      It is requested that the customary passport fees be waived for Mrs. Anthony.


Colonel, AD
Director of Operations
and Finance



The following is a list of friends, buddies of Robert Lee Rutledge during his time Fort McClellan, Alabama, where he served prior to serving with the United States Armed Forces (Army) in Europe...

Ryan, Thomas A., Tuscaloosa, AL
Sasser, Charles, Westville, FL
Sellers, Daniel M., Bonifay, FL
Sheffield, Floyd, Shady Grove, FL
Shelley, James D., Louvale, GA
Shera, Simon, Milton, FL
Simons, Jack, Crawfordville, GA
Smith, Clyde M., Sebring, FL
Smith, James W., Summerville, SC
Sparkman, Marian E., Crystal River, FL (Best buddy)
Spence, George E., Mt. Olive, AL
Spruill, Cecil A., Forest Park, GA
Stack, Clyde J., Birmingham, AL
Taylor, Robert A., Crawfieldville, GA
Walker, Murry, Butler, GA
Washburn, Oliver, White Bear Lake, MN
Whidden, Charlie, Manatie, FL
Williams, James M., Panama City, FL
Williford, James C., Lake City, FL
Wood, F. M., Birmingham, AL
Wright, William H., Genesco, IL



image of Rutledge Discharge
Image above is
the Discharge of Robert Lee Rutledge
from the Georgia State Guard



Original Story from messages received on 12 June 2002.

Story originally submitted on: 24 June 2002.


The material depicted above, The Search for Pfc Robert Lee Rutledge, was contributed by Mrs. Ginger Rutledge Gregory , who is the daughter of our subject depicted in this series of documents.

We wish to express our sincerest THANK YOU for the outstanding effort required to assist us in bringing the story of Robert Lee Rutledge forward for all to read and appreciate. Tireless dedication by wonderful folks such as Ms. Gregory will forever help in keeping THEIR memory alive -- the fine folks of America's Greatest Generation.

Should you care to look at additional material relating to this subject, you may do so by choosing the following links:

The Search for Pvt. Rutledge Pt. 2

The Search for Pvt. Rutledge Pt. 3

The Legacy of Pvt. Rutledge

A Daughter Lovingly Remembers Her Dad

American Battle Monuments Commission: WWII Honor Roll


We at World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words wish to offer our profound "Thanks" for the excellent material contributed by Mrs. Ginger Rutledge Gregory.


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Survey Form

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