Army Works to Determine Identity of Fallen U.S. Soldier
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 17, 2007 Army officials continue work to determine the identity of one of the four U.S. soldiers who were killed during an enemy attack May 12 near Mahmudiyah, Iraq.
The Defense Department yesterday released the names and units of seven U.S. Army soldiers who were killed or reported missing when their squad was ambushed May 12 about 20 miles south of Baghdad. An eighth servicemember, an Iraqi army interpreter, also was reported killed in the attack.
All of the U.S. soldiers belong to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), based at Fort Drum, near Watertown, N.Y.
“It may be sometime today, leaning towards later in the day,” when the identity of the soldier might be confirmed, Fort Drum spokesman Ben Abel said today.
The deceased soldier’s remains are undergoing DNA testing at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Abel said. The unidentified U.S. soldier’s duty status is listed, for now, as whereabouts unknown, he said, along with the three missing soldiers. Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists in Iraq have claimed to be holding the three missing soldiers.
Meanwhile, U.S. and Iraqi security forces continue to scour the area in search of the missing soldiers.
“By God, they’re not going to stop until they find their fallen comrades,” Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, 3rd Infantry Division commander, said yesterday from Baghdad during a telephone interview with reporters.
A reporter asked for Lynch’s reaction in regard to reports that al Qaeda has placed statements on the Internet telling U.S. forces to cease the search for the missing soldiers.
“I give no credence in what al Qaeda and al Qaeda-associated members decide to put on the Internet or what they decide to announce to the world,” Lynch said. “We’re not going to stop looking for our soldiers until we find those soldiers.
“Whatever they put on the Internet, whatever pronouncements they make, we’re not going to stop. We will not leave our fallen comrades,” the two-star general emphasized.