Update: July 18, 2008
The following is an excerpt from the Army News regarding the final phase of the search for Staff Sgt. Jimenez and Spc. Fouty.
On July 1, Coalition SOF captured a reported leader of multiple AQI cells south of Baghdad. The captured leader, linked to facilitating suicide bombers for attacks in Baghdad, was believed to know the missing Soldiers’ whereabouts. Initially telling Coalition forces he knew where Jimenez and Fouty were buried, it was not until July 3 that the AQI leader disclosed the location.
On July 8, the AQI leader led Coalition SOF and Soldiers from the 4th BCT to the site where the Soldiers secured the area. Once on site, however, the AQI leader could not determine the exact location, but led Coalition SOF to another suspect nearby he claimed had information about the burial site.
Coalition forces located and detained the suspect who, after identifying the original burial site, led them to another nearby site where he claimed he had moved the remains. Upon searching the area, Coalition forces discovered the remains and various equipment and clothing of Staff Sgt. Jimenez and Spc. Fouty.
“This was definitely a joint effort of many units within and outside of Multi-National Division – Center that led to the recovery of these two warriors,” said Lt. Col. Richard Ruffcorn, officer in charge of the Missing & Captured cell at the MND-C Headquarters.
On July 9, a Criminal Investigation Division forensics team and an investigative officer from MND-C Headquarters traveled to the burial site, located nearly 20 kilometers south of the May 12 ambush site, to survey the area and collect evidence. Later that day, the remains of Staff Sgt. Jimenez and Spc. Fouty were transported by mortuary affairs personnel to Camp Victory, south of Baghdad and prepared for transportation to the United States. At 10:51p.m., following a ramp ceremony honoring the fallen Soldiers, the airplane departed with Staff Sgt. Jimenez and Spc. Fouty aboard, headed for Dover Air Force Base.
Arriving in Dover, Del., July 10, the remains were transported to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology where a medical examiner analyzed and confirmed they were Jimenez and Fouty. Shortly after positive identification was confirmed, the families of Jimenez and Fouty were informed by uniformed officers of the U.S. Army.
“I would have to say I consider it an honor to have been involved in the recovery of these two Soldiers,” Ruffcorn said.
The quest to find Staff Sgt. Jimenez and Spc. Fouty was a study in commitment and teamwork, with every service, unit, and individual Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and civilian who has been involved in their recovery playing a part in its success. Yet their mission is not complete.
“We look forward to working together with the Government of Iraq to bring the criminals and terrorists responsible for the ambush, kidnapping and death of the these Soldiers to justice,” Ryan said.
Note: Staff Sgt. Alex Jimenez and Spc. Byron Fouty were posthumously promoted from sergeant and private first class respectively. Staff Sgt. Jimenez’s date of rank is December 1, 2007; Spc. Fouty’s date of rank is March 8, 2008.
( Story by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret, MND-C PAO. )
The father of Sgt. Alex Jimenez reportedly kidnapped during an ambush in 2007, said uniformed military officials had visited him at his home on Thursday to inform him of the discovery.
The stepfather of Pfc. Byron Fouty also kidnapped in the attack said that he had also been informed that the body of his son had been discovered in Iraq.
Many will remember that they were kidnapped along with a third member of the 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division during an ambush in May 2007 in the area south of Baghdad known as the “triangle of death.”
See also: ARMY SPC. ALEX R. JIMENEZ