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Local Soldier, Joseph J. Anzack Jr., Killed in Iraq

by DJ Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 2:31 AM

After agonizing over an earlier rumor that their son had been killed in Iraq and then learning he had been abducted with two other soldiers, the family of Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. received the dreaded news Wednesday that his body was found in the Euphrates River.

Local Soldier, Josep...
anzack_1.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

Torrance soldier's body found in Iraq by searchers

Missing Torrance soldier's aunt says military told family that Pfc. Joseph Anzack's commanding officer had identified his body. Another body was reportedly found nearby.

By Jeremiah Marquez

The Associated Press

After agonizing over an earlier rumor that their son had been killed in Iraq and then learning he had been abducted with two other soldiers, the family of Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. received the dreaded news Wednesday that his body was found in the Euphrates River.

A military official accompanied by police officers visited the Anzack home and told his family that, while a DNA test was pending, a commanding officer made the identification, his aunt told The Associated Press.

"They told us we're sorry to inform you the body we found has been identified as Joe," said Debbie Anzack, choking back tears. "I'm in disbelief."

Anzack, 20, was one of three soldiers who vanished after their combat team was ambushed May 12 about 20 miles outside of Baghdad. Five others, including an Iraqi, were killed in the ambush, subsequently claimed by al-Qaida.

Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi forces searched desert, lush farmland and even sewage-tainted irrigation ditches for more than a week in temperatures that reached 110-degrees. Another body was found near Anzack's, his aunt said after the briefing from the military official.

After word of the death spread in this suburb of about 150,000 residents 20 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles, a grieving woman and several other people visited the second-floor stucco apartment where his father lives. An American flag was draped on the balcony and a red, white and blue United We Stand sign was hanging on the front door, along with a yellow ribbon.

Anzack's family had held out hope for the past 11 days. They had already endured an earlier rumor that he was dead — and were relieved to learn he was alive.

About a month ago, messages on the MySpace Web site said the Army gunner had died. South High School, where Anzack played football, posted a message on the school's marquee reading: "In Loving Memory Joseph Anzack Class of 2005." It was unclear how the rumor started.

His father, Joseph Anzack, called the Red Cross about the rumors, and military commanders were able to get his son to a phone where he confirmed he was alive and well.

In high school, Anzack was surprisingly self-assured, knowing early that he wanted to join the military, said his friend and football teammate Kyle Flynn.

"I just remember, as a sophomore or a junior in high school, he was set on it, said 'I'm ready to go,'" said Flynn, now a 20-year-old sophomore at San Jose State University. "I know that's what he wanted to do, that was what he was about, and I respected him more than anyone else in the world, to grow up so fast to go over there and fight for us and our freedom."

Flynn said the two became fast friends on the football team. Anzack played nose guard, while Flynn was a defensive back.

"He was very positive. He was a guy you could look to and say 'I'm OK. I've got Joe right there,'" Flynn said. "He was a man among boys when we were in high school. You don't realize that until something like this happened."

Anzack was a private first class in Company D, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade combat team.

Meanwhile, friends and relatives anxiously awaited word in the hometowns of the other captured soldiers: Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass.; and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich.

A yellow ribbon was tied to the front door of Jimenez's father's home in the former mill city north of Boston. Ramon Jimenez, who speaks Spanish, said through a translator in a cell phone conversation that he has been buoyed by the support of friends and family.

"The hope is very high that God is going to give Alex back to him," said Wendy Luzon, a family friend who translated the conversation and has been serving as a spokeswoman for the family.

Iraqi police using civilian boats searched for other bodies on the river in Musayyib, about 40 miles south of Baghdad, and U.S. troops intensified their presence on a nearby bridge as helicopters flew overhead, witnesses said.

Hassan al-Jibouri, 32, said he saw the body with head wounds and whip marks on its back floating on the river Wednesday morning. He and others then alerted police.

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 9 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
CNN article DJ Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 5:22 AM
FOX news article DJ Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 5:26 AM
LA Times Article has video report DJ Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 5:32 AM
Joseph's myspace page DJ Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 4:39 PM
THE BUSH TRIBUNAL ON THE SURGE IN IRAQ VIOLENCE BUSH'S BLACK HALO WITH HORNS Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 6:53 PM
Press-Telegram Article DJ Saturday, May. 26, 2007 at 6:42 AM
ironic in our loss Taps for Joseph Saturday, May. 26, 2007 at 11:53 AM
LA Times Article DJ Saturday, May. 26, 2007 at 7:26 PM
Free Iraq from the invaders Peace Now Sunday, May. 27, 2007 at 6:42 PM

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