Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Perspective: Still searching, three months on

Above: Alex Jimenez, left, and Byron Fouty, front center are still missing following the May 12th attack which left 5 dead. Joseph Anzack, who was also taken by the ambushers, was later found slain. On June 4th, a video showing the ID cards and claiming that Fouty and Jimenez had been executed and buried was posted on the internet. Ten days later their IDs were found in a raid on an al-Qaeda safe house in Samarra.

Sometimes when he’s out on patrol, Army Spc. Samuel Rhodes sees a shred of camouflage in the bushes, and his heart leaps.

Each time, Rhodes hopes it will be the missing clue to the fate of two U.S. soldiers who were captured by insurgents south of Baghdad after an attack in May. Inevitably, though, the piece of camouflage turns out to be from an Iraqi army uniform.

“That just crushes you,” Rhodes says. His missing comrades, he adds, “are on my mind every day.”

The trail of Spc. Alex Jimenez and Pvt. Byron Fouty is getting colder by the day, leaving their platoon mates with only faint hope that they are still alive. Their absence is particularly poignant because such losses have been so rare in Iraq: Unlike previous wars, when thousands of troops have gone missing from chaotic battlefields, only four U.S. troops are listed as missing in Iraq.

Read the rest at Army Times