In Memory of US Army Sgt. Matt Maupin
- Mr. B @ Rockin' B(cln777)United States
Today, it was announced that he had been found.....................
BATAVIA, Ohio (AP) - The father of Matt Maupin, a soldier listed as missing-captured in Iraq since 2004 said today that the military had informed him that his son's remains were found in Iraq. Keith Maupin said at a news conference in suburban Cincinnati that an Army general told him DNA testing had identified the remains of his son, Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, or "Matt" as he was commonly known.
“Matt is coming home; he has completed his mission,” said Keith Maupin, outside the Yellow Ribbon Support Center in Eastgate. “After years of prayer and hope, we learned today that Matt died while in captivity. While this is not what we had hoped for, at least we know.”
Lt. Lee Packnett, an Army public affairs officer in Washington, confirmed that the Maupins were notified Sunday that their son's remains had been identified. Packnett said an official statement about the identification would be released Monday.
Matt Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured April 9, 2004, after his fuel convoy, part of the 724th Transportation Company, was ambushed west of Baghdad.
A week later, the Arab television network Al-Jazeera aired a videotape showing Maupin sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles.
That June, Al-Jazeera aired another tape purporting to show a U.S. soldier being shot. But the dark and grainy tape showed only the back of the victim's head and not the actual shooting.
The Maupins refused to believe it was their son, and the Army had listed him as missing-captured. The Maupins lobbied hard for the Army to continue listing their son as missing-captured, fearing that another designation would undermine efforts to find him. "You never stop hoping. You never know," his mother, Carolyn Maupin, said in 2006 after Iraqi al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike, leading to speculation that U.S. intelligence could be getting closer to learning Maupin's fate.
Matt Maupin graduated from Glen Este High School, just east of Cincinnati, in 2001 and attended the University of Cincinnati for a year before joining the Army Reserves. Dan Simmons, the athletic director at Glen Este, remembered Maupin as a quiet but hardworking backup player on the school's football team. "Matt was a selfless kid on the football field," Simmons said. "He did whatever the coaches told him. He wasn't a starter, but he made the other kids play harder."
A month after his capture, Maupin was promoted to the rank of specialist. In April 2005, Maupin was promoted to sergeant.
"Flags are flying at half staff on Clermont County government buildings as a tribute to Matt, our native son, our hero,” said Clermont County Commission President Bob Proud.
The Cincinnati Reds are also planning a tribute to Maupin during the Opening Day pregame ceremonies tomorrow at Great American Ballpark.
“As parents, we are deeply saddened and still letting it sink in,” said Keith Maupin in a prepared statement. “As Americans, we are proud of the continued efforts made by our military to return Matt home to us. With the nation’s continued support, we will make it through this and hope to find answers about what happened to Matt.”
“I want to thank everyone who searched for Matt,” said a tearful Carolyn Maupin, his mother. “I also want to thank everyone who has kept Matt and us in their prayers over these four long years.” She said it was only through all the prayers and support that she was able to keep going. “It hurts,” she added.
While many questions remain surrounding Staff Sergeant Maupin’s death, Keith Maupin said he knew that the Army would stand by the Warrior Ethos to leave no comrade behind. “It is not easy, but we have faith and know we will see Matt again.” Funeral arrangements are not yet available.
- [+] Dice rolls