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Pentagon Identifies Two Soldiers Whose Bodies Were Found in Iraq

In this Feb. 5, 2007 file photo., U.S. Army Spc. Alex Jimenez, from Lawrence, Mass., of Delta Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment lifts weights near Youssifiyah, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq.
In this Feb. 5, 2007 file photo., U.S. Army Spc. Alex Jimenez, from Lawrence, Mass., of Delta Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment lifts weights near Youssifiyah, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq. (Maya Alleruzzo - AP)

A month before he was kidnapped in Iraq, Fouty called his former teacher and caught her in a rehearsal. The phone passed from friend to friend, and Rexroat ended up talking to him later on. It would have been easy for him to complain about the war or life in Iraq, but instead, she said, he talked about how he served with "the greatest guys." When pressed, he asked her to send some books. But before she could send the box of books, he disappeared. So it sits in the Rexroat family room.

His friend Ashley Tremble remembered him playing a soldier who attacks the United States in "The Mouse That Roared." But as a real soldier, he did not talk much about what he experienced in Iraq, she said. He preferred to hear about her life and her latest performance, she said.

"He had the biggest heart and the warmest smile, and he always had a hug for everyone," Tremble said.

The identification of the bodies of Fouty and Jimenez by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology on July 9 marked the end of a long search that started as a manhunt involving about 4,000 U.S. troops combing the area around the town of Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad. The area is considered a stronghold of the Sunni insurgent group Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The soldiers were in two Humvees watching an area where insurgents often place roadside bombs when the attack took place. A U.S. military quick reaction force dispatched to aid the soldiers struck roadside bombs. When the quick reaction force reached the scene, it found four soldiers killed and three missing.

The remains of the third missing soldier, Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr., 20, of Torrance, Calif., were found about 10 days after the ambush. The three were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

Elmer reported from Ann Arbor, Mich. Staff writer Robin Shulman in New York also contributed to this report.


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