Pentagon: Eight missing soldiers were killed in action
Associated Press
Apr. 5, 2003 11:20 PM
Arizona Central
27 March 2003
   

WASHINGTON - Eight dead soldiers found during the rescue of an American POW in Iraq this week were members of her ambushed Army maintenance unit, the Pentagon announced Saturday. Pfc. Lori Piestewa of Tuba City, the Tuba City soldier who had gone missing in Iraq after enemy soldiers ambushed her unit last month, was among those killed in action, officials said.

The eight soldiers were with Pfc. Jessica Lynch when their unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, was ambushed near Nasiriyah on March 23.

The U.S. commandos who freed Lynch from a hospital in Nasiriyah this week also found 11 bodies, nine of which were believed to be those of Americans. The nine bodies had been returned to a forensics center at Dover Air Force Base in Dela-

The El Paso Times   Pfc. Lori Piestewa of Tuba City checks her equipment at Ft. Bliss, Texas, before leaving for the Middle East in February.

 ware for identification and investigation of how they died.

The Pentagon issued a statement early Saturday morning saying the status of the eight soldiers had been changed from missing to killed.

The soldiers were:

  • Sgt. George E. Buggs, 31, of Barnwell, S.C.

  • Master Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, 38, of Cleveland.

  • Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, 18, of El Paso, Texas.

  • Spc. James M. Kiehl, 22, of Comfort, Texas.

  • Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, 35, of Amarillo, Texas.

  • Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa, 23, of Tuba City, Ariz.

  • Pvt. Brandon U. Sloan, 19, of Cleveland.

  • Sgt. Donald R. Walters, 33, of Kansas City, Mo.

All were members of the 507th Maintenance, an army unit based at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The ninth body taken to Dover has not been identified.

Five members of the unit remain listed as prisoners of war. Shortly after the unit's ambush, the five were shown on Iraqi state-run television being questioned by their captors.

Iraqi television also showed footage of at least five bodies. After viewing that footage, Pentagon officials accused Iraq of executing prisoners of war.

There was no immediate word from the Pentagon Saturday on whether the soldiers were killed in the ambush or afterward.

       

    

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