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Remains Found in Iraq Identified as Missing Soldiers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2008 – The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology has identified human remains found in Iraq as those of two 10th Mountain Division soldiers who had been missing since a May 2007 ambush.

Army Sgt. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, and Pfc. Byron W. Fouty, 19, were listed as “missing/captured” during operations in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, on May 12, 2007. The two men were soldiers with the 10th Mountain Division’s 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Drum, N.Y.

Jimenez and Fouty were part of a patrol of seven Americans and an Iraqi army interpreter when they were attacked by insurgents. At the time, the area in and around Mahmudiyah was a stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq. A quick-reaction force dispatched to the scene found five soldiers killed in action and three missing.

Coalition forces launched a massive search of the area. Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi servicemembers participated in the initial search, and U.S. servicemembers never stopped trying to find the men.

Iraqi police found the remains of a third soldier missing in the ambush – Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr. – on May 23, 2007.

The search for Jimenez and Fouty continued until 10 days ago, when coalition special operations forces captured an individual suspected of knowing where the soldiers were buried. The suspect’s information led investigators to the soldiers’ remains July 8. U.S. medical examiners made the identification July 9.

“Every combat death is a tragedy, but this has been especially difficult for the families of these two 10th Mountain soldiers because of our not knowing for over a year of their whereabouts,” said Army Maj. Gen. Michael L. Oates, commander of Multinational Division Center and the 10th Mountain Division. “We take solace in the fact that they are finally home.”

Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Multinational Corps Iraq commander, called it a difficult and sad day for the families and the Army. “It is also a time in which each of these courageous families can finally bring to closure the loss of their loved ones.”

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