Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Body recovered from Euphrates that of missing American soldier

The body clad in American Army BDU’s pulled from the Euphrates River on Wednesday has been identified as Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr., 20, of Torrance, California. Spc. Anzarack was one of three Americans captured in a nighttime raid on the position held by a squad of eight Americans on May 12.

That coordinated strike left four soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter dead; and three were taken captive. Intense effort has been applied to retrieving the three Americans alive over the past ten days.

"They told us, 'We're sorry to inform you the body we found has been identified as Joe,'" said the soldier's aunt, Debbie Anzack. "I'm in disbelief."

The abduction and death of Specialist Anzack follows a rumor that he had been killed in combat about a month ago. The rumor circulated that the Army Gunner had died, and a message on the school's MySpace page read "In Loving Memory Joseph Anzack Class of 2005." His father contacted the Red Cross about the rumors, and his commanders were able to get him to a phone so he could call home and assuage his parents worst fears.

Fate is a cruel bitch indeed.

The soldiers still missing are Pvt. Byron Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich. and Spc. Alex Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass. They are/were all members if the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade combat team, home based at Ft. Drum New York. The 10th Mountain has mounted intensive search and rescue operations, and two soldiers have been killed pursuing the rescue of their comrades in arms.

The discovery of the body cast a long shadow over the hometowns of the three missing soldiers. Without bodies, there is hope. With the recovery of Spc. Anzack’s body, it is harder to hold out hope for the safe return of the other soldiers.

But here is hoping for their safe return.

[Cross-Posted from Blue Girl, Red State & Watching Those We Chose]