Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Big Base near Balad

View Larger Map

The Really Big Military Base about 70 miles north of Baghdad, near Balad, Iraq has apparently suffered yet another name change. It is now known as Joint Base Balad. For the sake of clarity, I will continue to refer to the base as Anaconda - the name in use during the fall of 2003.

Here is a list of all of the names known to date for this one base.
Joint Base Balad
Logistics Support Area Anaconda
Life Support Area Anaconda
LSA Anaconda
Contingency Operating Base Anaconda
COB Anaconda
Foward Operating Base Anaconda
FOB Anaconda
Camp Anaconda
Forward Support Area Anaconda
FSA Anaconda
Balad Air Base (also Airbase)
Balad AB
Camp Balad
Balad Southeast
Al-Bakr Air Base (name used under Sadam Hussein)
Mortaritaville (nickname)

Renamed U.S. military base in Iraq reflects joint status
By 1st Lt. Lisa Spilinek, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs, Air Force Link, June 17, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Veterans groups around the nation remember those who are missing with an honors ceremony. At the center of the ceremony is a table set for six.

The Missing Man Table

A hat rests at each empty place representing Americans still missing from each of the five services -- Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard - and the civilians who work with them. A moderator explains the significance of the items at the table.

The table is round -- to show our everlasting concern for the missing.

The tablecloth is white -- symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.

The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing.

The vase is tied with a ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for the missing.

A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.

The glass is inverted -- to symbolize their inability to share this toast.

The chairs are empty -- they are missing.
A photo of a Missing Man table can be found at the Washington Centerville Public Library

Americans Missing in Iraq

In some cases the entries below are very brief as information is limited. I'd like to encourage following the reference links. Ages given are those at the time of incident. Listed in chronological order. Corrections and/or additions very much welcome.

Kirk von Ackermann of Moss Beach, California missing since October 9, 2003

37-year old Contract Manager for Ultra Services of Istanbul, Turkey. 45 minutes after calling an Iraqi employee for assistance with a flat tire, von Ackermann's car was discovered abandoned. The car contained his satellite phone, laptop computer and $40,000 cash. There was no sign of struggle. Von Ackermann has not been heard from since. His colleague, Ryan Manelick, was killed in a drive by shooting shortly after claiming von Ackermann's disappearance was tied to fraud. Von Ackermann had previously served as a linguist for the US Army then as an officer with the US Air Force. The investigation was complicated by his former work with an elite joint force command counter-terrorism unit that regularly briefed the White House. The investigation remains open under the US Army CID even though CID determined he is presumed dead. Von Ackermann is married, father of 3 children.

Missing in Iraq
By Megan von Ackermann

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

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

Timothy E. Bell of Mobile, Alabama missing since April 9, 2004

45-year-old, electrician for Halliburton subsidiary KBR. Bell has been missing since the fuel convoy he was driving in was hit by gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades in an attack outside of Baghdad. Nine Americans were killed and at least 17 were injured. Thomas Hamill, truck convoy commander, was taken hostage and later set free by US forces. The remains of SSG Keith "Matt" Maupin, also missing after the attack, were recently identified. Timothy Bell is the only member of his convoy who has not been accounted for. Bell is the father of three and previously served in the US Army. He was planning to be married in the summer of 2004.

Not Knowing is the Most Frustrating
By Garry Mitchell, Associated Press, June 04, 2004

Family Of Tim Bell Not Giving Up - includes video of an interview with family
By Diana Lucio, April 23, 2008

Timothy Bell...Four Years Later
By Jessica Taloney, WKRG, April 9, 2008

CNN - includes photo

Aban Abdel Malek Mahmoud Elias also known as 'Aban Elias' of Denver, Colorado was kidnapped on May 3, 2004

45-year-old, civil engineer possibly with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Elias was kidnapped while working on a road project near Baghdad. Elias has not been heard from since he was seen blind folded in video footage aired in 2004. His mother is said to blame his kidnapping on his choice of car, a new Jeep Cherokee SUV. Elias is an Iraqi-American who had moved back to the Middle East, living in Jordan and the UAE, with his family. Married, father of three. His mother is said to have traveled to Iraq to try and gain his release.

Another American taken hostage in Iraq
MSNBC, May 6, 2004

Arab TV shows new U.S. hostage in Iraq
CNN, May 6, 2004

Iraqi Born U.S. Citizen Taken Hostage In Iraq
CNN, May 6, 2004

More Than a Year Later, American Remains Hostage in Iraq - radio interview
NPR, December 1, 2005

CNN - includes photo

Radim Sadeq Mohammed Sadeq also known as 'Dean Sadek' of Charlotte, North Carolina was kidnapped on November 2, 2004

Formerly worked for SkyLink USA at the Baghdad Airport, he was said to be working for a cell phone company under contract to the US Army at the time of his abduction. Sadek is a Lebanese American. He was kidnapped from his home in the Mansour district of Baghdad. Sadeq has not been heard from since he was seen in video footage aired in 2004. Divorced and remarried, he is the father of two sons.

Remembering the Forgotten American Hostages: Dean Sadek

CNN - includes photo

Jeffrey Ake of LaPorte, Indiana was kidnapped on April 11, 2005

Owned and operated a water-bottling equipment company, Equipment Express. Ake was installing a bottled water line that his company had manufactured when kidnapped. His abductors contacted the family shortly after he was taken, but have not been heard from since. Married, father of four children.

Third Anniversary of Jeffrey Ake's Abduction by Iraqi Terrorists
Press Release,, April 9, 2008

CNN - includes photo - website

Spc. Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie (also Ahmed K. Altaie) of Ann-Arbor, Michigan was kidnapped on October 23, 2006

41-year-old Specialist in the US Army. Altaie is a linguist (translator) with the Provincial Reconstruction Team Baghdad. Married. Altaie was kidnapped with his brother-in-law when he went to visit his wife in Baghdad. His brother-in-law was quickly freed. A ransom demand was made for $250,000. Altaie has not been heard from since a proof of life video was released by his captors on February 14, 2007.

A Ransom Demand for the Missing U.S. Soldier
By Brian Bennett, Time, November 2, 2006

Abducted Altaie Seen in Video - with updates
AII POW-MIA, February 14, 2007

Wikipedia, includes additional sources

Photos were found publicly displayed on the web and are intended as "fair use" under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. Please email me if you'd like a photo removed, changed, or added.

Previous posts

Click on the label "Missing" to view other related posts