Asaib al Haq - a Shi'ite insurgent group with strong ties to Hezbollah and Iran, handed over the remains of US Army Sgt. Ahmed al-Taie to the Iraqi government. The Iraqis immediately transferred his remains to the US Embassy, and it has been flown home to the United States.
Al-Taie moved to the United States at age 12 after his family left Iraq in the late 1970s, when Saddam Hussein was ascending to power. His family described him as a pilot and airplane mechanic who lived with his parents in Ann Arbor, Mich.If nothing else, take comfort in the knowledge that every single American who ever served in the Iraq War, living or fallen, has now been accounted for. Unlike wars past, from wars in Europe, the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam, even the Persian Gulf War...no military families are faced with the anguish of not knowing the fates of their loved ones for years or even decades after the conflict is over.
He met his wife during a trip to Iraq shortly after Saddam's fall from power in 2003. In December 2004, he joined an Army reserve program for native speakers of Arabic and other strategic languages, and deployed a year later to Iraq, where he worked with a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Baghdad until he was kidnapped in 2006.
Al-Taie's relatives say he often met secretly with his wife at her family's home despite warnings that he was in danger of being kidnapped.
The Pentagon has said it recently received remains that have been confirmed as al-Taie's at the U.S. military mortuary in Dover, Del. It offered no details, and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad referred questions Monday to the Pentagon.
A U.S. official with knowledge of the situation said al-Taie's body arrived in Dover Feb. 25 and his family was notified early on Feb. 26. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the sensitivity of the details of family notification.
Yes, AlTaie made mistakes that exposed him to the dangers of a warzone. But he did it for the woman he loved and married. As the grandson of an American GI and German girl who fell in love and married in Postwar Stuttgart, I found myself personally moved by the plight of his family and circumstances of his capture.
I followed the story with concern over the years, and the news today brings at once closure and sadness.
No doubt those kos diarists more heavily involved in the brilliant IGTNT series concerning fallen servicemembers will tackle the moving story of Sgt. AlTaie's life and sacrifice more deeply and eloquently than I, but I felt compelled to post this diary.
Also at this time keep in mind the captivity of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, missing in action in Afghanistan since 2009, presumed captured and alive by Taliban militants in Pakistan. May he be brought home safe and sound.
If nothing else, take comfort in the knowledge that every single American servicemember who ever served in the Iraq War, living or fallen, has now been accounted for. Unlike wars past, from wars in Europe, the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam, even the Persian Gulf War...no military families are faced with the anguish of not knowing the fates of their loved ones for years or even decades after the conflict is over.
Many dedicated individuals and institutions, civilian and military, government and non...commit themselves to bringing soldiers home, no matter how long it takes.
Leave no man behind.