THE DEAD & MISSING:
(Top) Christopher Murphy, Alex Jimenez; (Middle) Anthony Schober,
Joseph Anzack, Daniel Courneya; (Bottom) Byron Fouty, James Connell
The pace of the search has picked up. Ground patrols wearing full body armor in 100-degree heat are now beating the bush around the clock, and each shift gets only two hours sleep before heading back out. Searching is usually done literally on the run because of fears of remotely detonated bombs.
Searchers also are contending with false reports.
Damien Cave of The New York Times writes that:
"The stories have come in by the dozens.
"One man swore that he had personally buried two Americans. As soldiers quickly began digging, another man came up and asked why they were unearthing his cousin.
"Other Iraqis have said they saw the Americans walking, encircled by their captors, and still more have fingered people who they thought might have something to do with the ambush . . . "
Al Qaeda and other Sunni insurgent groups have become so interwoven in the towns and villages in the Triangle of Death that separating disinformation from fact or rumor is extremely difficult.
Meanwhile, the Army has identified the fourth soldier killed in the ambush. He is Anthony J. Schober. Identification had been delayed because the attackers apparently had taken Schober's dogtags.
"He called me up and said, 'Dad, it's me,'" the elder Anzack recalled. "I can't wait for that to happen again."James D. Connell, 40,
Said daughter Courtney: "I'm proud of my dad. He didn't really fight for himself, he fought for the country."
Daniel Courneya, 19,
His death was announced over the school's public address system, and a moment of silence was observed. Students put together a tribute of photos, posters and a picture of him in uniform.
Courneya's mother, Wendy Thompson, said she signed the papers to allow her son to enlist at age 17, directly out of high school. Her husband returned Tuesday from Iraq. She said he would be staying home for good now.
Byron W. Fouty, 19,
Cathy Conger, the friend’s mother, said Fouty was very well mannered and had looked forward to being deployed. "He wasn't scared. He was real brave about it."
Alex Jimenez, 25,
At St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lawrence, the Rev. Jorge Reyes recited prayers for Jimenez, saying, "We place our hope in God to keep him safe and that he may return to his family soon."
"We'll continue praying for him and his family," Reyes said. "We cannot let go of our prayers, faith and hope so he can be safe and protected."
Christopher E. Murphy, 21,
Anthony J. Schober, 23,
Schober's platoon leader described him as a "tall, goofy kind of guy" with incredible energy and a powerful sense of humor.
As has the realization that the massive search for Anzack, Fouty and Jimenez may well end in failure.
Ralph Kinney Bennett, whose political views I do not necessarily share, nevertheless taps into this feeling in a post over at TCS Daily:
"Even as we pray for those three missing American soldiers we are prepared for the worst.
"They are not prisoners of war; that is, their capture was not a happenstance of battle. . . .
"They were kidnapped, sought out as Americans for the purpose of embarrassment, humiliation, torture, and finally death and mutilation as a horrific lesson to the ‘Crusaders’ and to the world."
Biographies compiled from wire service and news reports.