U.S., Iraqi Units Continue Search for Missing Soldiers
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2007 Search efforts continue for three missing U.S. soldiers who are believed to have been abducted by al Qaeda on May 12 in Quarghuli Village, Iraq.
Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), from Fort Drum, N.Y., and the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, have been conducting non-stop searches for the missing soldiers -- all assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT -- since their abduction.
"As soon as we were aware of the incident, we immediately cordoned off the area and started the search," said Army Col. Michael Kershaw, 2nd BCT commander.
The brigade, which is made up of about 14 company-sized elements, is using almost all of its elements both to search and to provide logistical support to soldiers on the ground.
"We have been averaging about 20 events a day, and we're providing cots, food and water to those assisting with the search," Kershaw said.
Aside from searching the area, soldiers have been continually asking Iraqis for any information they may have in regarding the incident, hoping the tips will lead them closer to the soldiers.
"Although some tips may not be accurate, it is important for each one to be investigated," said Army Maj. Rob Griggs, the 4-31 operations officer. "All tips must be considered important, because you never know if it is the one that will lead you to the soldiers."
"Everyone is motivated and knows the importance of finding the soldiers," Kershaw said. "They all take pride in this brigade and their fellow soldiers. ... It is in the Soldiers' Creed to never leave a fallen comrade."
Search efforts will continue until the soldiers are found, U.S. officials have pledged.
"The families back home need to know that we are not going to stop searching for the soldiers until they are found," Kershaw said. "They (the families) need to know the soldiers in this brigade are doing everything they can to find these soldiers."
Army Pfc. Dustin Worde, a forward observer with Company A, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) form Fort Drum, N.Y., search for the three missing soldiers in Yusufiyah, Iraq May 16. The soldiers were believed to be abducted by terrorists May 12 in Quarghuli Village. Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela McKinzie, USA.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)