Thursday, February 24, 2005
No One Left Behind...Well, Maybe One.
The 724th Transportation Company arrived home from Iraq yesterday...and will be returning to their families on Friday. Army Reserve Spc. Keith 'Matt' Maupin wasn't there, but his parents were. They wanted to be there and let the returning troops know how they felt about them and that they didn't blame anyone for what happened to Matt. Two other soldiers did not return with their company --they were killed in combat. (source)
The convoy that Spc. Maupin was traveling with in Iraq was ambushed April 9, 2004. His civilian driver's (and ex-Marine) body was found in January, near the scene of the ambush...but still no word about Matt's whereabouts. (Thomas Hamil was also captured during this ambush, but he would go on to escape on May 2nd). There was a video aired on Al Jazeera on April 16th, that shows Matt (alive) and surrounded by his masked captors.
On the tape, one of the captors can be heard saying: "We are keeping him to be exchanged for some of the prisoners captured by the occupation forces." (source).
On June 28th, 2004 Al Jazeera released a grainy video that shows a man being executed by terrorists --the 'news station' reports that the body is that of Spc. Maupin. This has never been confirmed. Military officials met with the Maupin family two days later. "Congressman (Rob) Portman and the Department of Defense put together the briefing team to tell the Maupin family about the efforts the past couple months to locate and arrange for the release of Spc. Maupin," said Brig. Gen. Michael W. Beasley, commanding general for the U.S. Army's 88th Regional Readiness Command." (source)
In August, Military officials disclosed the analysis of the supposed "Maupin execution tape" was finished and results were still inconclusive. The tape was too dark to verify if the victim was Maupin. "There's nothing in the video that lends you to think it was Matt Maupin, the video is totally inconclusive because it's just too dark and grainy." -Maj. Mark Magalski, casualty assistance officer for the Maupin family. "Magalski added the release of the video on June 28 coincided with the handover of power to an interim Iraqi government, and the video could have been filmed earlier and given to media outlets to overshadow the news of the handover." (source)
Matt's mom wears a charm on her bracelet that reads "Never Give Up", and she hasn't... I pray that the Pentagon hasn't either...