Remembering Matt Maupin, POW/MIA Iraq, April 9, 2004
April 9, 2007
Today is a day that I would ask for every one of our readers to keep one of our Heroes in their thoughts and prayers. This hero, Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, known as Matt by his family, is the only US Soldier known to still be Missing In Action/Captured during the current Iraq War and today marks the third anniversary of the date that he was captured. Let’s all keep a candle lit for Matt, in hopes that he is located safe and returned home to his waiting family.
Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin
Three years ago today, Sgt Keith Matthew Maupin was part of a fuel convoy with 724th Transportation Company when their convoy was ambushed and Keith was taken captive. At the time, Maupin was a 20 year old PFC. Since his capture, heâ€™s been promoted to Sgt and is listed by the US Army as missing in action/captured. The military continues to look for Matt and follow leads as they get them.
Mattâ€™s hometown, Batavia, Ohio has yellow ribbons tied to trees, parking meters and everyplace imaginable in support of Matt. Fund raising events are held in his manner on a regular basis and draw huge crowds. Soldierâ€™s at home relay messages to his family of search efforts in Iraq. It is these signs of support and messages of hope that keep Mattâ€™s parents, Keith and Carol Maupin going. They take comfort when hearing from the father of a military interrogator who said that detainees are regularly asked if they know anything about Matt.
â€œHe said, ‘These guys are not going to give up on Matt. Their mission is to stay focused on finding Matt and get all the information they can out of these detainees,’” Keith Maupin said. “That made me feel good.”
Due to the sensitive nature of such information, the Army of course cannot confirm or deny if that is occurring. Their concern is that by doing so, the enemy could either harm Matt or move him.
A week after Matt was captured, Al-Jazeera aired a video tape showing Matt in uniform, sitting on the floor and surrounded by 5 men wearing masks and holding automatic weapons. Later that year, in June Al-Jazeera aired another videotape claiming the show the execution of an American Soldier being shot. However the video was too dark and grainy and only showed the back of the purported victimâ€™s head and not the shooting itself. There was no way to tell if it was Matt or not. His parents refuse to believe that it was Matt and the Army continues to list Matt as missing/captured according to Lt. Col. Bob Tallman.
Today, more than 1000 people are expected to attend a banquet fundraiser in Mattâ€™s honor, the third anniversary of Mattâ€™s capture. On the following Saturday, about 700 bikers are expected to participate in a Motorcycle Ride in Mattâ€™s honor and sponsored by Rolling Thunder, which is a POW/MIA awareness group. In May, a youth baseball tournament has been scheduled. The event has drawn more entries than it could handle, even though the tournament will be held on several different baseball fields. Each of these benefits are raising money for the Matt Maupin scholarship fund which will be given by Cincinnati area high schools where soldiers attended who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We won’t let people forget,” Clermont County Commissioner Bob Proud said. “Whenever we see yellow ribbons, we think about Matt and all our warriors. It always reminds me of the sacrifice that Matt and all of our troops have made.”
Keith Maupin now works full time with the Yellow Ribbon Support Center, which Carolyn founded before their son was captured. Carolyn and Keith Maupin, though divorced, have united in their effort to be a touchstone for families who have lost loved ones in the war.
“A lot of people come in here and a lot of people call, and they just want to talk,” Keith Maupin said. “That’s OK by me; that’s what we’re here for.”