By OCPAMarch 31, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 31, 2008) --The Army has confirmed positive identification of remains found last week in Iraq as belonging to Army Staff Sgt. Keith 'Matt' Maupin.
The announcement culminates almost a four-year search for the 724th Transportation Company Soldier.
"After a long wait, we want to offer our most sincere condolences to Carolyn and Keith Maupin on the loss of their son," said Army Secretary Pete Geren.
"I want to say this once again to the Families of our other captured Soldiers in Iraq," Geren said. "We will not stop searching for your loved ones, Army Sgt. Ahmed K. Altaie (missing since Oct. 23, 2006), Sgt. Alex R. Jimenez, and Pfc. Byron W. Fouty (both missing since May 12, 2007)."
Then-Pfc. Maupin had been missing since his fuel convoy came under enemy attack in Iraq April 9, 2004. The Batavia, Ohio, native was promoted three times while missing in action as his family awaited news on his status. Army casualty assistance officers flew to Ohio March 30 to personally notify his parents, Carolyn and Keith Maupin.
"One of the elements of the Army's Soldiers Creed is that I will never leave a fallen comrade," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey. "We take those words very seriously, for our Soldiers, their Families and this nation. We will never leave a fallen comrade. I want to thank the many Soldiers who've searched and continue to search for these men. Your tireless efforts are one of most important and unrelenting responsibilities we share."
"The Maupins are people of modest means with great big hearts, and they've touched the lives of thousands," Geren said. "His parents are helping others with Soldiers in harm's way, just like their son, from the Yellow Ribbon Support Center in Cincinnati. This center was set up to build Internet cafes in Iraq, and they secured the donation of laptops so Soldiers could use them. They also sponsor college scholarships and facilitate a support network for Soldiers' Families. They collect and they distribute truckloads of gifts and supplies for Soldiers and Families.
"The Maupins selflessly serve as a funnel for the generosity of people across America," Geren said. "Americans who want to help Soldiers, Americans who want to help our Families. Carolyn and Keith, our prayers are with you. Thank you for all you do for Soldiers."
The U.S. Army also notified members of Congress from Ohio earlier Monday of the news. Further facts remain sketchy while an investigation continues to determine the circumstances and details surrounding his death, officials said.
The Maupins' Web site for their son ((www.mattmaupin.us) features a West African proverb, Odo Nnyew Fie Kwan Frame, meaning "Love Never Loses Its Way Home." The Maupin family used the proverb to describe the hope that their son would one day return home. Troops in Iraq also used the motto to describe their tireless search for Staff Sgt. Maupin.