WASHINGTON – Maj. Troy Gilbert, a decorated Texas airman killed in Iraq when he went down in his fighter jet while providing close air support to ground troops, is considered “accounted for” by the Pentagon.
While some of his remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the majority of Gilbert’s body was not recovered at site of the November 2006 crash, and later was shown in a terrorist video. Now the Pentagon has agreed to reopen his case and attempt to locate and return any additional remains after requests by Gilbert’s family for “special consideration,” said Maj. Carie Parker, spokeswoman for the Defense Prisoner of War-Missing Personnel Office.
“This is unique,” said Parker, who was unaware of any previous Defense Department efforts to locate partial remains after a set of remains had been returned to the United States for burial.
Because the United States military has already withdrawn from Iraq, there is no current search under way, she said. Recovery efforts will be coordinated through the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.
The announcement coincides with the identification over the weekend of the body of the final unaccounted for servicemember killed in Iraq. Staff Sgt. Ahmed K. Altaie, who disappeared in Iraq in October 2006 and later appeared speaking to the camera in brief video by insurgents, was identified Saturday at Dover Port Mortuary in Delaware.
Three DOD civilian contractors also remain unaccounted for in Iraq, Parker said. They are:
-Kirk Von Ackermann, lost in October 2003.
-Timothy E. Bell, lost in April, 2004.
-Adnan al-Hilawi, lost in March 2007.