Staff Sgt. Keith “Matt” Maupin has been missing since his unit was ambushed April 9, 2004, west of Baghdad.

Staff Sgt. Keith “Matt” Maupin has been missing since his unit was ambushed April 9, 2004, west of Baghdad. ()

The following correction to this story was posted August 10, 2006: An Aug. 9 story on the promotion of missing U.S. servicemember Matt Maupin should have said that, as a reservist, he does not have a requirement to appear before the promotion board.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army has promoted Sgt. Keith “Matt” Maupin, the only U.S. soldier listed as captured in Iraq, for the third time since he went missing after his unit was ambushed April 9, 2004.

Maupin, who is known as Matt because Keith is also his father’s name, was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant as of Aug. 3, 2006, according to an Army announcement released Tuesday.

Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class in the Army Reserve when his fuel convoy, part of the 724th Transportation Company, from Bartonville, Ill., was ambushed west of Baghdad.

Maupin’s status was switched from “duty status: whereabouts unknown,” to “missing-captured” on April 16, 2004, when Arab television network Al-Jazeera aired a videotape that showed the young soldier alive and reportedly captured by insurgents.

In June 2004, a second videotape arrived at Al-Jazeera that supposedly showed a U.S. soldier being shot by insurgents.

But the tape only showed the back of a victim’s head and not any actual shooting, and Army intelligence experts never verified that it was Maupin.

So the Army has continued to search for Maupin, and until he is found, the young soldier “remains on active-duty status with all rights and privileges for pay and promotions,” Lt. Col. Lee Packnett, an Army spokesman, told Stripes.

Maupin has been promoted three times since he went missing, including this most recent jump from E-5 to E-6.

In order to promote Maupin, his parent unit, the 88th Regional Readiness Command, had to waive a physical appearance before a promotion board, as well as Maupin’s attendance at the Primary Leadership Development Course, Packnett said.

Both waivers are routinely granted for soldiers who are deployed to combat zones, he said.

Maupin’s basic monthly pay as well as his special pays continue to go to an account set up by Maupin before he deployed to Iraq.

Maupin’s parents, who say they continue to believe their son will come home one day, have legal oversight of the account in his absence, Packnett said.

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