Saturday, December 10, 2005


Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written collaboratively by many of its readers.
As far as I can tell, in August of 2005 a new entry was begun:
Foreign hostages in Iraq.
Kirk von Ackermann, a contractor, went missing on October 9, 2003 near Tikrit. His whereabouts are unknown; the U.S. government believes he was either abducted or fled the country due to illegal activities in Iraq.
There is currently no individual entry for Kirk von Ackermann at Wikipedia.

But there is now: Kirk von Ackermann

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Book

Google has added a new feature, book search. A search shows there is a short reference to Kirk von Ackermann in a book published by Seven Stories Press, which is excerpted below. Book search showed no references to Ryan Manelick at this time.

Iraq, Inc.: A Profitable Occupation
by Pratap Chatterjee, Seven Stories Press, November 2004

Excerpt from page 144:

Certainly there are many intelligence contractors whose names have only become public once they were killed or disappeared. Kirk von Ackermann of Moss Beach, California was one such contractor; he disappeared on October 9, 2003. His car was found abandoned between the cities of Tikrit and Kirkuk. Found inside the vehicle were his satellite phone, a laptop computer, and a briefcase containing around forty thousand dollars, suggesting that he had not been the victim of a robbery.

His immediate employer was Ultra Services, a company based in Istanbul that furnishes supplies and logistics help for U.S. Army bases in Iraq. A former U.S. Air Force captain who worked for Impact Intelligence, he had been a member of a Pentagon group that provided intelligence on terrorism, espionage, information warfare, and other threats. Previously he had served as deputy director of intelligence for NATO operations in Bosnia.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Obituary for Ryan Manelick

The obituary for Ryan Manelick appeared in two local Pennsylvania papers shortly after his death. While it's listed in the Bibliography below, it was not originally posted at the Missing Man, an oversight on my part.

Ryan G. Manelick, Air Force linguist
Intelligencer Journal, December 18, 2003

Ryan G. Manelick, 31, formerly of Lancaster, died Sunday after being shot in Baghdad, Iraq. Results of an autopsy, performed at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, have not been released.

Manelick was chief operations officer and logistics and services manager of Ultra Services/Irex of Baghdad.

He served in the U.S. Air Force where he worked in the intelligence department as a linguist.

A 1991 graduate of Conestoga Valley High School, Manelick attended First Baptist Church of Pequea.

He enjoyed art, computers, hunting, football and fishing.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Waterskiing on the Tigris

This short article dates from 2003. It's a shame it's no longer available online as it was apparently accompanied by photos.

My Waterski Hol on Saddam River
by Philip Cardy, The Sun, September 22, 2003

Robert spotted some old speedboats in a disused marina and paid one owner £120 to take him and Texan pal Ryan Manelick, 30, out on Saturday.

The pair braved the perils of poisoning from sewage, unexploded bombs - and crackpot gunmen on the banks. Business consultant Robert, below, of Notting Hill, West London, said: "I'd done a spot of waterskiing but only off Dorset. We went for lunch by the Tigris and realised it was beautiful for waterskiing. [...]

Ryan, a US Army contractor said: "I know it was crazy but I thought, what the hell."

For Americans who might be unfamilliar with The Sun, it's a very popular British tabloid.

Update February 18, 2006. Also see Waterskiing on the Tigris pt 2

Thursday, August 04, 2005


A rough and tumble attempt at a bibliography of news reports and articles that mention Kirk von Ackermann and/or Ryan Manelick.

Note: some of the following are no longer available online. Some have now been archived and are pay-to-view.

A quick trip thru the Missing Man archives, just to the right, should help in locating a few excerpts. The two articles by Colin Freeman, also linked to the right, are the most comprehensive to date. They are also included below.


My Waterski Hol on Saddam River
by Philip Cardy, The Sun, September 22, 2003

Two injured in Tikrit army base blast
Thomas Crosbie Media, October 12, 2003

Mystery surrounds US businessman missing in Iraq's 'Sunni triangle'
by Colin Freeman, Telegraph, November 9, 2003

Bay Area civilian vanishes in Iraq
by Colin Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 2003

Moss Beach man missing in Iraq
San Mateo County Times, November 12, 2003

Local mysteriously vanishes in Iraq
Burlingame Daily News, November 12, 2003

News In Brief
by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, November 14th, 2003

U.S. Civilian Contractor Killed in Iraq
by Jim Gomez, The Associated Press, November 14, 2003

Contractors' Deaths Add to Iraq Toll
by Seth Porges, Editor & Publisher, November 14, 2003

C'est l'histoire de deux chefs d'entreprise - interview with Ryan Manelick
24 Heures, November 18, 2003

Von Ackermann: 'a regular guy?'
by Jeanine Gore, Half Moon Bay Review, November 24, 2003

Family mourns CV grad killed in Iraq ambush
by Cindy Stauffer, Lancaster New Era, December 18, 2003

Drive-By Shooting In Iraq Kills Civilian CV Graduate
WGAL Channel, December 18, 2003

Two men with ties to county fall victim to Iraqi violence CV graduate shot to death in Baghdad
by Justin Quinn, Intelligencer Journal, December 18, 2003

Ryan G. Manelick, Air Force linguist - obituary
Intelligencer Journal, December 18, 2003

Ryan G. Manelick, Air Force linguist - obituary
Lancaster New Era, December 18, 2003

WLMI News Briefs
WLMI, 11:00 AM, December 30, 2003

Outsourcing the War
by Peter W. Singer,, April 16, 2004

Iraq, Inc.: A Profitable Occupation
by Pratap Chatterjee, Seven Stories Press, November 2004, page 144

Hostage Families Face Tough Choices
by Libby Lewis, NPR, Morning Edition, February 7, 2005

Suspicion surrounds missing Bay Area man
by Colin Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle, February 13, 2005

US Army launches fraud probe in Iraq contractors' killing, disappearance: report
by Andrew Hay, Agence France-Presse, February 13, 2005

Foul Play in Iraq?
by Douglas Waller, Time Online, February 13, 2005

Without A Trace In Iraq
by Douglas Waller, Time Magazine, February 13, 2005

Murder mystery in Iraq
by David Batstone, Sojourner, February 17, 2005

An Iraq Murder Mystery for Negroponte?
by David Corn,, February 18, 2005

Winters business employed murdered, missing workers
by Debralo Guercio, Winters Express, Ferbuary 24, 2005

Graves found at depot pose puzzle in Iraq
by Harry Esteve, The Oregonian, March 03, 2005

The Missing
by Rod Nordland, Newsweek, March 11, 2006

One Missing, One Dead: An Iraq Contractor in the Fog of War
by Susie Dow with Steven Reich, ePluribus Media, May 15, 2006

Military: Missing soldiers found dead
by Cesar G. Soriano, USA Today, June 20, 2006 - side bar to article

13 Americans still listed as missing
AP, June 20, 2006

American soldiers and civilians kidnapped or missing in Iraq
AP, June 21, 2006

Soldiers' bodies recovered
by Kim Gamel, AP, June 21, 2006 - side bar to article

Rules usually protect GIs from capture
by Ryan Lenz, AP, June 21, 2006 - side bar to article

Military releases new details about killing, recovery of kidnapped soldiers
AP, USA Today, June 27, 2006 - side bar to article

Family's nightmare begins at gunpoint Part 1
By Deborah Hastings, AP, Salt Lake Tribune, December 24, 2006

Kidnapped Americans in Iraq
By Deborah Hastings, AP, Salt Lake Tribune, December 24, 2006

Von Ackermann - obituary
The Albuquerque Journal, January 14, 2007

Death of a Contractor: Greed and Murder in Iraq's Lawless Desert - original link expired

Death of a Contractor - alternative source
pp. 70-74, 76-69 (print version includes photos)
By Dan Halpern, Rolling Stone, March 8, 2007, Issue 1021

Missing Contractor: US Military Mechanics may Hold the Keys
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, April 21, 2008

Curse of the Al Dulaimi Hotel: And Other Half-truths from Baghdad
By Colin Freeman, Monday Books, July 2008

Iraq calmer but copycat kidnappings spread
By Pamela Hess, Associated Press, October 13, 2008
(includes photo of Kirk von Ackermann)

EXCLUSIVE: New Documents Claim Intelligence on Bin Laden, al-Qaeda Targets Withheld From Congress' 9/11 Probe - about von Ackermann's former intelligence work
By Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold, Truthout, June 13, 2011
Related: Attachment - Unclassified FOIA Response - PDF (must read)

Report: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden - about von Ackermann's former intelligence work
By Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout, May 23, 2011
Related: Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission - PDF
Deputy Inspector General for Intelligence
Department of Defense
September 23, 2008

This post will be updated on occasion as new articles appear in the press.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Short Clip

Democracy Now! hosted by Amy Goodman, had included a brief mention of Kirk von Ackermann as part of its regular radio broadcast. Approximately 3:13 - 26 into the recording.

News In Brief for November 14th, 2003

The U.S. military also is looking into the reported disappearance of an American contractor, Kirk von Ackermann who went missing last month while driving between Tikrit and Kirkuk.
Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, community, and National Public Radio stations, public access cable television stations, satellite television (on Free Speech TV, channel 9415 of the DISH Network), shortwave radio and the internet.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

An Open Request

The only known photo of Kirk von Ackermann was originally published by the Half Moon Bay Review accompanying the article, Von Ackermann: 'a regular guy?', by Jeanine Gore, on November 24, 2003.

I am unaware of any photos on the web of Ryan Manelick.

I would be grateful if members of either of the two famillies would kindly consider emailing me a photo of Kirk von Ackermann or Ryan Manelick for posting on the Missing Man. Privacy of senders will be respected.

susie dot dow at gmail dot com

Thank you for your attention and consideration. My apologies to those of you whom this request might offend.

Update: Replaced old yahoo email address with new gmail address.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Reports of Corruption in Iraq

Rare or widespread?

Colin Freeman reported in his February article, Suspicion surrounds missing Bay Area man, that both von Ackermann and Manelick had raised concerns about corruption.

In recent months, news stories on contract fraud in Iraq have been appearing in the press much more frequently. While the following sample of articles discuss companies and people unrelated to Kirk von Ackermann or Ryan Manelick, it provides a glimpse into the bigger picture of the overall business environment that some contractors are working in.

Most of the articles on fraud and corruption seem to cover mismanagement, over billing, kick backs, and missing funds.

The first article is rare in that it also reports the death of another civillian contractor who had complained about corruption. The circumstances, however, are much different than those surrounding von Ackermann and Manelick. The contractor, Dale Stoffel, was working with the Iraqi Defense Ministry, the amount was 20 times that of the Ultra Services' contract for containerized offices, Stoffel's death was one year after Manelick was gunned down, and finally, Stoffel was an arms dealer.

A long article on contractor Dale Stoffel can be read in this month's Washington Monthly, The Unquiet American, by Aram Roston, June 2005.

For the purposes of brevity, and this post is getting long, I am linking to an earlier article from the Los Angeles Times.

Army Ignored Broker on Arms Deal
by Ken Silverstein and T. Christian Miller, Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2005

Soon after interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi took office last summer, he announced plans to create a tank division for the new Iraqi army.

The $283-million project was supposed to display the power of Iraq's new government. But under the guidance of a task force overseen by one of America's top generals, it has become another chapter in a rebuilding process marked by accusations of corruption.

The U.S. contractor working on the project repeatedly warned the task force headed by Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus that a Lebanese middleman involved in the deal might be routing kickbacks to Iraqi Defense Ministry officials. But senior U.S. military officials did not act on the contractor's pleas for tighter financial controls, according to documents and interviews.

"If we proceed down the road we are currently on, there will be serious legal issues that will land us all in jail," the contractor, Dale Stoffel, wrote in a Nov. 30 e-mail to a senior assistant to Petraeus.

Eight days later, Stoffel was shot dead in an ambush near Baghdad. The killing is being investigated by the FBI, according to people who have been interviewed by the bureau.

Whistle-Blower Suit May Set Course on Iraq Fraud Cases
by Eric Eckholm, New York Times, May 22, 2005
In September 2004 the Pentagon, citing evidence of fraud and a continuing criminal investigation of Custer Battles, barred the company from receiving more federal contracts, halting what had been the company's explosive growth. The company was founded in 2001 by two veterans with more ambition than assets, and by mid-2004 it had $100 million in Iraq contracts.

The company's critics say its owners, Scott Custer and Mike Battles, benefited from the frantic awarding of contracts in 2003 and the constant turnover of monitors.

The whistle-blower suit accuses the company of defrauding the government through actions as large as the creation of shell companies to pose as suppliers and increase billable costs and as small as the repainting of Iraqi Airways forklifts, then claiming to have leased the machines for thousands of dollars per month.

Audit of Iraq Spending Spurs Criminal Probe
by Griff Witte, Washington Post, May 5, 2005
Investigators have opened a criminal inquiry into millions of dollars missing in Iraq after auditors uncovered indications of fraud in nearly $100 million in reconstruction spending that could not be properly accounted for.

The money had been intended for rebuilding projects in south-central Iraq. But auditors with the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that of $119.9 million allocated, $7.2 million could not be accounted for at all, and $89.4 million in reported spending could not be backed up with sufficient documentation, according to a report released yesterday.


Criminal investigators with the office of Special Inspector General Stuart W. Bowen Jr. will be looking into whether anyone involved committed fraud, the audit says, although it does not disclose who is being investigated.

Iraq is becoming 'free fraud' zone
by Tom Regan, Christian Science Monitor, April 7, 2005
A former senior advisor to the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which ran Iraq until the election of an interim Iraq government last January, says that the US government's refusal to prosecute US firms accused of corruption in Iraq is turning the country into a "free fraud zone."

Newsweek reported earlier this week that Frank Willis compared Iraq to the "wild west," and that with only $4.1 billion of the $18.7 billion that the US government set aside for the reconstruction of Iraq having been spent, the lack of action on the part of the government means "the corruption will only get worse."


The Christian Science Monitor reported on other allegations of corrpution in Iraq leveled against companies, including a "report by special inspector Stuart Bowen [which] found that $8.8 billion dollars had been disbursed from Iraqi oil revenue by US administrators to Iraqi ministries without proper accounting."

Fraud and corruption
by George Monbiot, The Guardian, February 8, 2005
Last week a British adviser to the Iraqi Governing Council told the BBC's File on Four programme [sic] that officials in the CPA were demanding bribes of up to $300,000 in return for awarding contracts. Iraqi money seized by US forces simply disappeared. Some $800m was handed out to US commanders without being counted or even weighed. A further $1.4bn was flown from Baghdad to the Kurdish regional government in the town of Irbil, and has not been seen since.

See the following section for information on Fighting Fraud and Corruption.

Fighting Fraud & Corruption

The current investigation into the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann and the death of Ryan Manelick is being handled by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Major Procurement Fraud Unit. See previous post for more details.

To combat fraud, the Coalition Provisional Authority lists a Fraud Hotline as well as provides an on-line complaint form at their website.

The Hotline is your means to report significant instances of fraud, waste, abuse of authority, and gross mismanagement. It is government policy to combat fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in programs and operations funded by the Iraq relief and Reconstruction Fund. The Hotline strives to ensure that allegations are properly evaluated and examined, and that appropriate remedial, corrective, and judicial actions are taken.

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction
SIGIR Fraud, Waste and Abuse
400 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202-4704
(866) 301-2003
(703) 602-4063
(703) 602-5993 fax
In addition to the efforts to combat fraud by the CPA, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has established a Tip Line and on-line complaint form to help alert Congress to contract fraud in Iraq.
This tip line has been established to assist the Special Investigations Division in investigating potential fraud, waste, and abuse in the awarding and execution of contracts to rebuild and rehabilitate Iraq, including actions by U.S. government agencies, prime contractors, and subcontractors. The confidentiality of any person providing information will be strictly preserved.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman
Special Investigations Division - Iraq Contracting
Committee on Government Reform Minority Staff
Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20015
(202) 225-5051
Note: click 'Iraq Contracting' on the right hand side bar for the on-line form.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a general tip line thru their website.
While the FBI continues to encourage the public to submit information regarding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, this form may also be used to report any suspected criminal activity to the FBI.

Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
(202) 324-3000
Tip line:

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

To the best of my knowledge, there have been no new articles since the one brief mention of Kirk von Ackermann on March 3, 2005.

Ryan Manelick
December 14, 2003

Kirk von Ackermann - missing
October 9, 2003

The Missing Man formation is performed as a symbolic farewell to fallen airmen. At the moment at which the formation passes over the ceremony, one of the planes leaves the formation and heads for the skies.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


I recently came across a very short news blurb that mentioned Irex Corp* as an employer of Ryan Manelick. While the news dates from 2003, I am including it here as it is the second known reference to Irex Corp.

Drive-By Shooting In Iraq Kills Civilian CV Graduate from the WGAL Channel, December 18, 2003

A civilian with ties to Lancaster County was killed while working in Iraq.

Ryan Manelick, 31, was killed Sunday in a drive-by shooting after leaving a military base in Baghdad.

Manelick was in Baghdad working for Ultra Service-Irex Corp. Manelick's stepfather told News 8 his stepson was fearful of living in Iraq and planned to come home Sunday for the holidays.

Manelick was a 1991 graduate of Conestoga Valley High School in Lancaster County.
According to their website, WGAL is the the exclusive NBC affiliate for the Harrisburg-Lancaster-York-Lebanon area of Pennsylvania.

* See previous post, Irex Corp

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Investigation

Below is general information on responsibility for the investigation.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (HQCID) in Fort Belvoir, Viginia, oversees all Army criminal investigation activities and resources worldwide. The Commander is directly responsible to the Chief of Staff of the Army and the Secretary of the Army.

U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (HQCID)
6010 6th Street
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5506
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia and operating throughout the world, CID Special Agents conduct criminal investigations that range from death to fraud, on and off military reservations and when appropriate, with local, state and other federal investigative agencies.
Mission, history, command structure, and the various investigation units of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, can be found at their website.
Each CID group and region, battalion and district, and major procurement fraud field is assigned a specific geographic area of responsibility (AOR) which it apportions among its subordinate field units.
The initial investigation into the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann was first handled by the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the U.S. Army's Fourth Infantry Division, based in Tikrit.

Since May of 2004*, the Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU) at HQCID, has taken over responsibility for investigating both the disappearnace of Kirk von Ackermann and the death of Ryan Manelick

An article from 2003 describes the MPFU.

CID Special Agents Looking for Recruits by Chris Grey, Army News Service, May 16, 2003
Major Procurement Fraud Unit

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Major Procurement Fraud Unit is the only 100-percent civilian investigative element of CID. The MPFU special agent workforce consists of more than 100 Criminal Investigators (1811 series) in grades GS-9 through GS-15. CID agents assigned to MPFU investigate major fraud crimes associated with the Army's procurement and contracting process. MPFU also protects Army logistics from "factory to foxhole."
Chris Grey is a spokesperson for the Criminal Investigation Command.

* Suspicion surrounds missing Bay Area man by Colin Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle, February 13, 2005

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Editor's Note

The emphasis of The Missing Man is Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick.

The overall intent is to link to articles that mention either of the two men. Occasionally, I'll provide links for background information on specific subjects, such as links to their employers' websites.

With that said, there are two posts I feel should be included for context but that fall outside of the general scope of The Missing Man.

Stratex Freedom Services
Reports of Corruption in Iraq
Stratex Freedom Services in Afghanistan looks to have been a successful business model that John Dawkins of Ultra Services hoped to recreate in Iraq. The company's track record gives some insight into what should have been Ultra Services experience in Iraq. That this was John Dawkins' intention is assumption on my part, which is why I hesitate to include the information.

Reports of Corruption in Iraq. Rare or widespread? Colin Freeman reported in his most recent article that both von Ackermann and Manelick had raised concerns about corruption. News reports of corruption in Iraq have recently been appearing in the press. While the various articles discuss companies and people unrelated to Kirk von Ackermann or Ryan Manelick, it provides a glimpse into the bigger picture of the overall business environment that some contractors are working in.

Stratex Freedom Services

Note: Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick did not work for Stratex Freedom Services. They were employed by Ultra Services.

The successful business model of Stratex Freedom Services appears similar to what Ultra Services sought to repeat in Iraq. The following is provided as background and context.


Stratex Freedom Services constructs the Team 5-designed Air Operations building on the Karshi-Kahabad base, using conex containers. Closed Circuit, Vol. 25 No. 22, October 24, 2003

John Dawkins, President of Ultra Services, is listed as a founding member of the company, Stratex Freedom Services. Geoff Nordloh, listed as management of Ultra Group, is Chief Finance Officer at Stratex Freedom Services.

According to the Ultra Services website, Stratex appears to have begun work in Fall 2001, under the umbrella of the Ultra Services Group:

Our first contract with the Department of Defense came in October, 2001 in Uzbekistan. We entered Afghanistan in December, 2001.
Like Ultra Services, Stratex Freedom Services is a contractor that provides containerized buildings.
Stratex Freedom Services is pleased to offer top-quality custom conex containerized office and living units throughout Central Asia. The units are made locally using western-quality building materials for a result that is as good as or better than what is available in the West.
Stratex Freedom Services
1 Catamaran Street
Suite A
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Company locations are listed as: Gator Village, Kabul, Karshi, Afghanistan; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Baku, Azerbaidjan; Marina del Rey, CA, USA.

Stratex Freedom Services Management is listed as:
Glen H. Lockwood - General Director
Frank A. Edgerly - Director Business Development & Marketing
Geoff Nordloh - Chief Financial Officer
Martyn Taylor - Afghan Project Director
According to the Center for Public Integrity Stratex Freedom Services was awarded a $1,978,175 contract in Afghanistan to provide trailers. The contracting agency was ARCENT*.

It is worth noting that Stratex products are referenced in several articles written and distributed for American military personnel in Afghanistan, an indication that Stratex services were well appreciated by those who relied on them. One such publication, Freedom Watch, was published by the 11th Public Affairs Detachment at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. At least two articles in separate issues of Freedom Watch identify Stratex.

Operation Camp Civi underway (PDF)
by Pfc Christina Carde, Freedom Watch, June 12, 2003
To consolidate all civilian personnel in an organized manner, one compound is being constructed to house every civilian on Bagram.

"About a month ago, we began the construction of Camp Civilian that will consist of 60 B-huts complete with air-conditioning, latrines and four Stratex shower units," said Blancaflor. "The compound is expected to be complete by the end of July, but we will begin relocating civilian employees in about two weeks or whenever the first of the huts is available."

Based on information at the Stratex websites above, the business is still in operation and has expanded: supplying furniture as well as managing a restaurant, The Gator.

As has been previously mentioned, John Dawkins worked in Far East Russia on the Sakhalin 1 Project where he met Greg Manelick, Ryan Manelick's father. Both Frank Edgerly and Glen H. Lockwood of Stratex also worked in Far East Russia. Edgerly as an entrepreneur of small businesses, and Lockwood as the Director of the Far Eastern Regional office of the Eurasia Foundation.

A quick glance shows a consistent pattern of highly intelligent, well-educated, business professionals with a preference to work along trusted colleagues.

Had Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick seen the accomplishments of Stratex with expectations of replicating the same business model? One team had achieved success in war torn Afghanistan. Manelick and von Ackermann joined a new team for similar work in Iraq.

Following the model of Stratex, Ultra Services appeared ready to roll in Iraq. The company had hired experienced and qualified professionals, knew how to deliver its product, and was familliar with the difficulties of doing business in a war zone. It should have been a big success. But that's not how it played out: Kirk von Ackermann is missing and Ryan Manelick is dead.

We may never know what or why, but clearly something in Iraq went terribly wrong for Ultra Services.

*ARCENT: U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT), Third Army, located at Fort McPherson, GA is a component command of USCENTCOM.

It is unclear why the Stratex contract, as reported by CPI, was not covered under LOGCAP (currently administered by Halliburton). It is unknown which agency handled contract awards to Ultra Services in Iraq.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Irex Corp

Irex Corp. is mentioned only once, as the employer of Ryan Manelick. It is the only known reference to date. There is no on-line information to indicate how Irex Corp. is participating in Iraq reconstruction. There is also nothing further than this one article to ascertain the relationship of Irex Corp. to Ultra Services.

Family mourns CV grad killed in Iraq ambush
by Cindy Stauffer, Lancaster New Era, December 18, 2003

Mrs. Manelick said her family found out about her son's death via a telephone call from the State Department.

She said a representative from her son's company, Ultra Services/Irex Corp., plans to attend her son's funeral Monday. She does not know if that person will be able to tell them more about the attack.

Manelick had gone to Baghdad in August and was living in company-supplied housing, his mother said. He was chief operations officer and logistics and services manager for the company.

The Lancaster New Era, which published the article, has an avearge daily circulation of 45,000. Their offices are located in Lancaster, PA.

Editor's Note: Irex was mis-identified in the above article as "Irex Corp". The correct name of the business is Irex Ltd. Additional information will follow in a later post. - July 21, 2005

Irex Corporation, also known as Irex Contracting Group, is listed in Lancaster, PA.

Irex Corporation
120 North Lime Street
Lancaster, PA 17608

The company website reports $144 million in revenues for 2003.

Irex Corporation Management is listed as:
W. Kirk Liddell - President & Chief Executive Officer
Irex subsidiaries:
Advanced Specialty Contractors, LLC, Aston, PA
Altair Contracting, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Argus Contracting, LLC, Long Beach, CA
Atlantic Contracting and Specialties, Westwood, MA
Cornerstone Services Group, LLC, Kansas City, MO
New States Contracting, LLC, Linden, NJ
Pyro-Stop, LLC, Aston, PA
SpaceCon LLC Architectural, Lancaster, PA
SpaceCon LLC Marine, Thibodaux, LA
Summit Contracting, LLC, Salt Lake City, UT

Side Note

The following is provided as additional background information on Irex Corporation.

Armstrong Linoleum was first offered for trade in 1909 from its factory in Lancaster, PA.

From the sale of one of Armstrong's subsidiaries, Armstrong Contracting and Supply Corporation, renamed AC&S, Irex Corporation was formed in 1968.

The wholly-owned subsidiary of Irex Corporation, AC&S, filed for bankruptcy due to asbestos litigation--a situation that Halliburton has also found itself in due to their merger in 1998 with Dresser Industries. According to one site that monitors asbestos litigation, "Certain of the products installed by AC&S between 1958 and 1974 contained asbestos. Effective January 1, 1974, AC&S adopted the policy that it would no longer handle, furnish or install friable asbestos-containing materials."

The President and CEO of Irex Corporation, W. Kirk Liddell, was a guest at the White House for the February 18, 2005 signing of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 by President Bush.

Law on class action suits a triumph for Bush
by Ken Herman, Cox News Service, February 19, 2005
Kirk Liddell, president of the Irex Corporation of Lancaster, Pa., and one of the guests at the East Room signing ceremony, praised the new law and echoed Bush's call for further efforts to protect businesses.

"It's imperative that Congress builds on this momentum and presses ahead with critical asbestos, medical liability and other comprehensive legal reforms," said Liddell, chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers legal issues policy committee.


Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Grave Discovery

Brief reference to Kirk von Ackermann in an article on the discovery of remains of four bodies. The bodies have not been identified.

Graves found at depot pose puzzle in Iraq
by Harry Esteve, The Oregonian, March 03, 2005

Oregon Army National Guard soldiers found a series of shallow graves in southern Iraq over the weekend that appeared to contain the remains of four Western civilians, a spokesman said Wednesday. The victims appeared to have been executed, said Oregon Guard Maj. Arnold Strong. [...]

The remains, which were handed over to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI, have not been identified publicly, and neither their nationality nor cause of death had been confirmed by late Wednesday. [...]

Seven Americans and a handful of civilians from other Western countries appear on lists of missing foreigners in Iraq.

Among those reported missing are Army Pfc. Keith Maupin; Timothy Bell, a contract employee with Halliburton; Dean Sadek, a manager at the Baghdad airport; Roy Hallum, a contractor who was working for a Saudi firm; Sadeq Mohammed Sadeq, a Lebanese-American contractor; Aban Elias, an Iraqi-American engineer; and Kirk von Ackermann, a contractor.

Additional details in the article on why troops believe the vicitms may be Americans.


David Corn, the Washington editor of The Nation magazine, has a blog post up on Kirk von Ackermann. While it provides no new information (it links to the article in Sojourner which in turn links to the Chronicle) a number of smaller bloggers have been picking up the story from Corn and are linking to his post.

An Iraq Murder Mystery for Negroponte?
by David Corn,, February 18, 2005

I'd like to see a senator ask Negroponte about von Ackermann and Manelick. As the US ambassador in Iraq last year, did he do anything to solve this mystery?
Not much of note in the comments section.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Letters to the Editor

Sojo Mail posts letters in response to the recent article linked* to a few days ago: Murder mystery in Iraq by David Batstone, Sojourner, February 17, 2005.

Sojo Mail
February 24, 2005

Letter 1

Your warm remembrance [of Kirk von Ackermann] reinforces what I experience every day when I read the obituaries in the paper or hear of death in the news - TV or otherwise. That is to say that even though I may not have a personal link with the deceased, someone did and does still, for which empathy is required of me, not just passing sympathy.


Arden C. Hander, Flourtown, Pennsylvania
Letter 2
With Michael Moore-ish manipulative flair, Batstone paints von Ackermann as a blue-blooded soccer dad who equally loves foreign children and hates American oppression of them. I do not repudiate Ackermann's virtue but Batstone's implication that powerful Americans hate and kill such saints and all they stand for.


Jacob Anderson, Baytown, Texas
*See Missing Man post, Sojourner, February 20, 2005.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


A short reference to Kirk von Ackermann was included in a recent radio program on NPR.

Hostage Families Face Tough Choices
by Libby Lewis, NPR, Morning Edition, February 7, 2005

Program Description: The State Department says as many as five American civilians could be hostages in Iraq. The U.S. government's policy is not to negotiate with hostage-takers -- or draw attention to them. Each of their families is left with a tough choice: keep a low profile and hope for the best or try to bring attention to their loved one's plight.


Other US citizens who are missing and have not been accounted for include Kirk von Ackermann. He's a contractor for the US Army who disappeared October 9th, 2003. The Army says it's actively investigating.
Transcripts are available for purchase or listen online.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ultra Services

The company that employed Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick in Iraq was Ultra Services, also referred to as Ultra Services Group on their website.

Corporate Headquarters
Ultra Services
4046 Central Lane
Winters, CA 95694 USA

Company locations are listed as: Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul, Basra, Zaho and Suleymania in Iraq; Istanbul and Silope,Turkey; Beirut, Lebanon; Kabul, Afghanistan; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Herndon-VA and Winters-CA, USA. Note: The recent article in the San Francsico Chronicle states Ultra Services personnel withdrew from Iraq shortly after the death of Ryan Manelick.

Ultra Services Management is listed as:

Baki Guzelciftci - Chairman of the Board
John Dawkins - President & Business Development
William Dawkins - Chief Executive Officer
Egemen Cakmak - General Director of Turkey
Bora Tuncay - Financial Director and Controller
Geoff Nordloh
Paul Shultz
Brief bios are available at the website.

Ultra Group describes itself as one of a "coalition of US, Iraqi, and Turkish Companies". The company website reports they "successfully executed $14 million in contracts to provide goods and services from Baghdad to Mosul."
Our first contract with the Department of Defense came in October, 2001 in Uzbekistan. We entered Afghanistan in December, 2001. We set up in Turkey in January, 2003 and entered Iraq in April, 2003 getting our first contract in early May.
Ultra Services provides a number of services, including containerized buildings, of which sample photographs are posted at their website.

John Dawkins, President, is also credited with having been a founding member of the company Stratex Freedom Services where Geoff Nordloh is Chief Finance Officer.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Originally uploaded by s dow.
The President of Ultra Services, John Dawkins, and Greg Manelick (Ryan Manelick's father), chief of security for ExxonMobil in Russia, first met while working in Russia.

Dawkins' bio at Ultra Services states he "lobbied for and managed the permitting process for the $22 billion Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project in Russia."

The Sakhalin-1 Project is located on Sakhalin Island in Far East Russia, just north of Japan. Since the signing of Production Sharing Agreements in the mid 1990's, Sakhalin has become a significant attraction to international oil and gas development.

ExxonMobil Neftegas Limited is a participant in the international consortium of the Sakhalin-1 Project.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


The recent Sojourner contains an article about Kirk von Ackermann under the section "Batteries Not Included". It includes excerpts of personal emails from von Ackermann to the author.

Murder mystery in Iraq
by David Batstone, Sojourner, February 17, 2005.

My friend Kirk von Ackermann has joined the list of American casualties in Iraq. Not that long ago he was designated as "missing." He is now "presumed dead." Suspiciously so. [...]

I first met Kirk a couple of years ago on a soccer field in Half Moon Bay, California. I was his son's soccer coach. When Kirk could get off work at his business software company, he would come out to the field to help me out with practices.

As our friendship evolved, Kirk shared with me his background as a former deputy director of intelligence for NATO operations in Kosovo. He told me that he subsequently had worked as a Pentagon advisor on counterterrorism and espionage, and had high-level security clearance. He confessed that he could not share details with me, but he was disturbed by the rise of terrorism internationally and the lack of thoughtful U.S. foreign policy that would nourish democracy and freedom abroad. One thing about Kirk: He was a true believer in the potential for America to do good in the world. In Kosovo, he was convinced that the U.S. presence had helped to stop genocide and build a fragile peace.

When Kirk told me that he was going to Iraq to work with Ultra Services, I could only guess what actual role he would be playing in intelligence and security. Early in April 2003, only weeks after the invasion, he wrote me an e-mail from Iraq, and it was flush with hope of a quick end to the conflict, yet also concern for the long-term destiny of the country:

What is perplexing is that all of the press to date has stated von Ackermann left the US in late August of 2003. An April date places him in Iraq, just weeks after the war had begun, months ahead of what has been reported.

Below is one of the emails quoted in the above article.
On October 6, three days before his disappearance, he wrote me the following e-mail:

"The real problem is that - not surprisingly - the [Bush] administration seems to have dramatically overestimated the willingness of corporate America to take the risks of Iraq. Other than myself, there really are no contractors operating in Tikrit, Samarra, Balad, etc.... It cannot be stressed enough that even pro-Saddam Iraqis are not anti-American. They are violently opposed to U.S. occupation forces, but not an individual American. The tribal leader in the city where Saddam was born told me, 'We have our Arab pride, we will fight, we will lose, and then we will move on. No one wanted these days, but these are what we have, although it will not forever be this way.' It's dangerous, but not like Bosnia was."

Friday, February 18, 2005

A Sudden Flurry

Five days ago, on February 13, 2005, numerous articles on Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick were published simultaneously: Time, San Francisco Chronicle, wire reports both foreign and domestic.

The article in the San Francisco Chronicle was again written by Colin Freeman from Tikrit, Iraq. Published on page A1, long and detailed, it focused on suspicions that the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann and the murder of Ryan Manelick were connected. The most extensive to date, it also contained interviews with family members and business colleagues.

Suspicion surrounds missing Bay Area man by Colin Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle, February 13, 2005

In the midafternoon of Oct. 9, 2003, Kirk von Ackermann, an American contract worker from the Bay Area, used a satellite phone to call a colleague from a lonely desert road between Tikrit and Kirkuk in northern Iraq. He told his colleague he had a flat tire and needed a jack.

About 45 minutes later, the colleague found von Ackermann's car, abandoned. There was no sign of von Ackermann, who had been alone when he called. No hint of struggle, not even a footprint. All that remained was his satellite phone, his laptop computer, and, on the car's backseat a briefcase holding $40,000 in $100 bills.

"It was as if he had been abducted by aliens," Ryan Manelick told The Chronicle shortly after von Ackermann disappeared. Manelick was one of von Ackermann's colleagues at Ultra Services, a civilian contracting company they both worked for in Iraq, supplying U.S. military bases with tents, mobile homes, toilets, computers and Internet access.

Just over two months later, on the morning of Dec. 14, Manelick was shot dead near Camp Anaconda, a U.S. military base about 50 miles north of Baghdad, and about 50 miles south of where von Ackermann had disappeared.

Without A Trace In Iraq by Douglas Waller, Time Magazine, February 13, 2005.

The same article also appeared at Time Online Edition under the title and url Foul Play in Iraq?
The army has launched a fraud investigation into the mysterious disappearance of an American contractor in Iraq and the killing of a co-worker shortly afterward, Defense officials tell TIME. On Oct. 9, 2003, Kirk von Ackermann, 37, was driving alone in northern Iraq when he pulled off the road with a flat tire and phoned the Kirkuk office of his employer--Ultra Services, based in Winters, Calif.--for help. A colleague arrived and found the car but not Von Ackermann. There were no bloodstains or bullet holes in the vehicle. And Von Ackermann didn't seem to be the victim of bandits because his computer, satellite phone and a briefcase containing $40,000 in cash were left in the car.

Two months later, north of Baghdad, gunmen in an SUV shot and killed Ryan Manelick, 31, another Ultra Services employee, and an Iraqi traveling with him by car. Manelick's father claims that his son had e-mailed him saying he suspected that colleagues at Ultra Services--whose website says it has done $14 million worth of business with the Pentagon--were involved in fraudulent activities with U.S. Army contracting officers. The Army's Criminal Investigation Command has confirmed that Manelick met with its investigators in Iraq but won't say what was discussed. TIME, however, has obtained an e-mail written by an Army investigator, who says Manelick visited her days before he died and said he was "fearful for his life." The e-mail doesn't say why.

The following from Agence France-Presse was fairly typical of wire reports recapping the Time and Chronicle articles.

US Army launches fraud probe in Iraq contractors' killing, disappearance: report by Andrew Hay, AFP, February 13, 2005
The US Army is investigating the killing in Iraq of a contractor who, according to his father, suspected that colleagues in his US-based company were involved in fraudulent activities with US Army contracting officers.

The murder of Ryan Manelick, 31, came two months after another Ultra Services employee, Kirk von Ackermann, 37, disappeared while driving alone in northern Iraq in 2003, Time magazine said.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Ryan Manelick

The sudden death of Kirk von Ackermann's colleague, Ryan Manelick, received little press coverage outside of local media in the Lancaster, Pennyslvania area. On December 14, 2003, world attention was focused on the previous day’s discovery of Saddam Hussein in a hole in the ground.

In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq. – President Bush
Note: Over one year since the capture of Saddam Hussein, the violence has not abated. According to the U.S. inspector-general, since April 2003, 232 contractor employees have died in Iraq. (as of February 1, 2005) Ryan Manelick was one of those 232 contractor employees.

The first and longest article lists Ultra Services/Irex Corp. as Ryan Manelick's employer. It is the only known reference to Irex Corp. to date.

Family mourns CV grad killed in Iraq ambush by Cindy Stauffer Lancaster New Era, December 18, 2003
Ryan Manelick wanted to do something for his country.

So when the 1991 Conestoga Valley High School graduate got a job offer from a company that obtained supplies for the military in Baghdad, he took it.

"He thought that was what he was supposed to do with his life," his mother, Christine Welk of New Holland, said today.

On Sunday, Manelick, 31, was killed when the car in which he was riding was riddled with gunfire in a drive-by shooting outside a military base in Baghdad.

WLMI News Briefs, 11:00 AM, December 30, 2003
A Warren County native, 31-year old Ryan Manelick, has been killed in an ambush in downtown Baghdad. Manelick, who attended the Russell School before moving to the Lancaster area, was a civilian intelligence specialist.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Kirk von Ackermann

In the weeks that followed, various articles and references on the disappearance of Kirk von Ackermann were published. Some as short as one or two sentences, others a recap of the original article written by Colin Freeman. In a local paper, Half Moon Bay Review, the reporter had fun speculating von Ackermann was a spy, resulting in some angry letters to the editor.

The following article on another American contractor in Iraq contains a brief section on von Ackermann. It is fairly typical of wire reports published at the time.

U.S. Civilian Contractor Killed in Iraq, The Associated Press, Friday 14 November 2003

Von Ackermann's car was found abandoned on Oct. 9 on a roadside with his satellite phone, a laptop computer and a briefcase containing around $40,000, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Von Ackerman is employed by Ultra Services, an Istanbul-based company that provides supplies and logistics assistance for U.S. Army bases in Iraq.

Lt. Col. Steven Russell, a battalion commander in the 4th ID, said he was told by von Ackerman's companions that the American apparently stopped on the road to change a flat tire. There was speculation that he was kidnapped but the military has not come up with any evidence of that so far, he said.
Here is the article that resulted in letters to the editor. It includes a photo of Kirk von Ackermann.

Von Ackermann: 'a regular guy?', by Jeanine Gore, Half Moon Bay Review, November 24, 2003
Joel Farbstein always knew there was something intriguing about the professional life of Kirk von Ackermann.

The Moss Beach resident said it was something people wondered about and, occasionally, even gossiped about - that von Ackermann, when he wasn't at home in Moss Beach tending to his beloved family or coaching his son's 10-and-under soccer team, he was some sort of government spy or perhaps even a secret agent.

For the most part, the stories seemed farfetched and Farbstein didn't give them much thought.

That all changed Wednesday, when he learned that his 37-year-old friend had mysteriously disappeared Oct. 9 while driving on a desolate stretch of road in northern Iraq.

For what it's worth, the letters to the editor are no longer online. But a response to one of the letters still is: Reader takes issue with definition of 'terrorism', Half Moon Bay Review, November 26, 2003.
Dear editor:

The American Heritage Dictionary defines terrorism as "the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."

For Phillip J. Sena to apply that particular word to the actions of the media covering Kirk Von Ackermann's disappearance is so far over the top that it borders on idiocy. The inescapable fact is that the reporters were just doing their jobs in covering a legitimate news story, a task that must be performed whether they are invited or not, and the ones I know try very hard to handle difficult situations like this with professionalism and compassion.

For several months, there was little mention until a long editorial on privatization of the military referenced von Ackermann. It first appeared at, now reprinted at the Brookings Institution where Peter W. Singer is a National Security Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies. While the reference to von Ackermann is short, Singer raises important questions on the quality of investigation von Ackermann's disappearance received.

Outsourcing the War
Peter W. Singer,, April 16, 2004
The rights and responsibilities between the military and its contractors also constitute an uncertain, gray zone. As opposed to what happens with a U.S. soldier, the military is under no compulsion to launch a full-scale search when a contractor goes missing. For instance, the U.S. military has spent 13 years searching for Navy Capt. Scott Speicher, whose plane crashed during the 1991 Gulf War. But when Kirk von Ackermann, a former Air Force captain working for Istanbul-based Ultra Services, disappeared outside Tikrit in November, the response was not a frantic mobilization or house-to-house hunt. Instead, von Ackerman's photo was given to local Iraqi police, and little has been heard of the incident since. Indeed, the difference carries all the way to when a [private military firm] PMF's employees are killed; the firms are responsible for notifying the families, deciding what level of grief counseling to provide, and shipping the bodies home. A PMF executive I spoke with grumbled that when one of his employees was killed in western Iraq, the only support he got from the U.S. military unit in his sector "was a free body bag."

Into Thin Air

On October 9, 2003, Kirk von Ackermann disappeared in Iraq.

Colin Freeman, a reporter writing from Iraq, first covered the story. It was published in the UK Telegraph on November 9 and in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 11, one month after the incident.

Ackermann's disappearance could easily be explained away as the collateral damage of working in a war zone, but $40,000 in cash, a satellite phone, and his lap top computer were left behind in his car. Odd circumstances in a country where looting and highway piracy have become common place.

No insurgent group claimed responsibility. There was no high profile demand for ransom. No release of a taped appeal to the President of the United States for his freedom. No gruesome video of a beheading posted on a website. No discovery of a body.

Kirk Von Ackermann simply vanished into thin air.

Mystery surrounds US businessman missing in Iraq's 'Sunni triangle'
by Colin Freeman, Telegraph, November 9, 2003

Bay Area civilian vanishes in Iraq by Colin Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 2003

An American businessman working for the United States Army in Iraq has mysteriously disappeared while driving his car along an isolated road in the country's "Sunni Triangle".

Fears are growing that Kirk von Akermann, 37, a contractor, may have been abducted and murdered after his car was found abandoned between the towns of Tikrit and Kirkuk.

His satellite mobile telephone, laptop, and a briefcase containing about $40,000 (£24,000) were found inside his vehicle, suggesting that he had not been the victim of a robbery. There was no sign of a struggle at the scene.
Since his disappearance on October 9, the US army - assisted by Iraqi police - has conducted an "aggressive" investigation but has yet to find out anything of note.


Frequently Asked Questions

This section was first added to the Missing Man on April 26, 2005. It has been back dated so as to be just above the Inroduction. It will occasionally be updated.

Did you know Kirk von Ackermann or Ryan Manelick?


To the best of my knowledge, I never met Kirk von Ackermann nor Ryan Manelick.

Why are you writing about these two men if you never knew them?

Please read the Introduction to the Missing Man for background as to how this blog came about.

Who are you?

I'm a blogger, Susie Dow. I am also a volunteer researcher with the citizen journalism group, ePluribus Media. The Missing Man is a personal project. It is not a production of ePluribus Media. Statements on the Missing Man do not represent the views or policies of ePluribus Media.

Can I contribute an essay or an interview to the Missing Man?

If someone wishes to write a personal essay or to be interviewed, their contribution is very much welcome. The comments section also allows for anyone to post their thoughts should they wish to share them publicly without emailing me.

Emails sent to me will not be posted without the author's permission.

I'd like to write an essay, now what?

Email me at the address posted in the right hand side bar.

I've found some inaccurate information on your blog, will you correct it?

Email me corrections and I will include an editor's note on the relevant post. Please indicate if you wish to be identified.

Can I send you photos of Ryan Manelick or Kirk von Ackermann for posting on the Missing Man?

I would very much like to include photos of Ryan Manelick and Kirk von Ackermann on the Missing Man. However, copyright is an issue. I can only accept photos for posting if: 1) you hold the copyright (generally speaking, this means you were the photographer or are a familly member) and 2) you can grant permission to the Missing Man for posting on this site.

The few photos that are posted here are intended as "fair use" under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.


Shortly after the start of the war in Iraq, a friend and I began to track news reports of awards for reconstruction contracts. While our efforts were admittedly primitive, we slogged along digesting numerous articles on contracts and contractors, subsequently posting the information at the weblog, Blogiston Post.

In November 2003, a column appeared in the London Telegraph, written by Colin Freeman, about a man who had vanished in Iraq. The article reported that the man, Kirk von Ackermann, was an employee of one such contractor, Ultra Services of Istanbul, Turkey. (At the time, our first post on the story was a short blurb from the website of NBC San Diego.)

Two months later, his colleague, Ryan Manelick, was gunned down in Iraq.

There are a total of 4 posts on Kirk Von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick at Blogiston Post. Much to our surprise, various search engines looking for "kirk+von+ackermann" or "ryan+manelick" continued to direct traffic to these posts on a weekly basis.

The Employer of a Missing Man November 12, 2003

Kirk von Ackermann January 1, 2004

Question June 1, 2004

Into Thin Air January 25, 2005 (printed above)
I am not a journalist nor am I qualified to investigate what happened. What I can do is post relevant articles as they appear in the press.

The Missing Man is a mini-library of on-line articles about Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick.