Sunday, February 26, 2012

Remains of Al Taie Recovered

From Marcie Hascall Clark of The Defense Base Act Compensation Blog comes two news stories about service members missing in Iraq - Staff Sgt. Ahmed al-Taie and Major Troy Gilbert.

Army IDs remains of last missing soldier in Iraq
By Lara Jakes, Associated Press, WRAL, February 26, 2012

The U.S military announced Sunday that it has recovered the remains of the last American service member who was unaccounted for in Iraq, an Army interpreter seized by gunmen after sneaking off base to visit his Iraqi wife in Baghdad during the height of the insurgency.

The remains of Staff Sgt. Ahmed al-Taie, who was 41 when militiamen seized him on Oct. 23, 2006, were positively identified at the military's mortuary in Dover, Del., the Army said in a statement released Sunday. Army officials said they had no further details about the circumstances surrounding his death or the discovery of his remains.
More details in the article including the information that the remains were received at Dover on February 22. My sincere condolences to al-Taie's family and friends.

In a television interview, family of Major Troy Gilbert reveal the Pentagon will resume searching for his remains. Gilbert was killed when his jet crashed in 2006. His body was taken by insurgents before it could be recovered by US personnel.

Pentagon will reopen search for missing airman in Iraq
By Jim Douglas, WFAA, February 24, 2012
The family of a Texas pilot killed in Iraq says their prayers have been answered Friday.

They've received formal assurance that the Pentagon has reconsidered the case of Major Troy Gilbert and will reopen the search for his remains.

Americans Missing in Iraq as of February 26, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rescuing Hostages

An article on how rescue missions have been shaped by the last decade of experience in Iraq. Includes quotes from Roy Hallums who was held for almost a year before being rescued. From what I can tell, only a few publications seem to have picked up the article so far. I hope it gets more attention.

War experience aids missions to save hostages
By Jason Straziuso, Associated Press, February 7, 2012

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Hills - aerial photo

Photo taken from a Black Hawk helicopter of the hills that form the ridge line between Tikrit and Kirkuk. Kirk von Ackermann's vehicle was found abandoned in this isolated area and once described as the most dangerous part of the journey from Tikrit to Kirkuk.

From the photo, it looks like the road is unpaved.

Photo credit Faysal Akbik
Description: This series of low hills or mountains stood out as a landmark in a Tikrit to Kirkuk Black Hawk flight.

Left Behind in Iraq

Article on missing military personnel that contains a brief mention of Kirk von Ackermann.

Missing in action: Service members left behind
By Austin Wright, Politico, February 8, 2012

With U.S. combat troops out of Iraq and a time frame for a pullout set in Afghanistan, an ominous question looms: Who will we have left behind?

In Iraq, at least one U.S. service member is currently listed as missing, along with three defense contractors. [...]

More than five years later, Altaie’s case remains unsolved and has been turned over to the missing personnel office, along with those of three missing defense contractors: Kirk Von Ackermann, lost since 2003; Timothy Bell, lost since 2004; and Adnan al-Hilawi, lost since 2007.

Investigators spent the past two months reviewing files and crafting plans for how to proceed on each case. “It’s a lot of reading through records of various things that have happened in the past and putting that all together,” said the official at the missing personnel office. “It’s like detective work.”
And of course, there's still others missing. There's a link to the list just up there under the header for this blog.

The DPMO website cites 4 men as missing - see below. And yet, other contractors are known to still be missing. My only guess as to why others were omitted from the DPMO list is they weren't working under contract for the Department of Defense.
Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003-2010
  • Staff Sgt. Ahmed K. Altaie, U.S. Army, was lost on Oct. 23, 2006 while serving in Iraq as a translator for the U.S. military
  • Mr. Kirk Von Ackermann, DoD contractor, was lost on Oct. 9, 2003, while working in Forward Operating Base Pacesetter, Iraq
  • Mr. Timothy E. Bell, DoD contractor, was lost on April 9, 2004, while working in Baghdad, Iraq
  • Mr. Adnan al-Hilawi, DoD contractor, was lost on March 3, 2007, while working in Baghdad, Iraq