U.S. Military Dog Tag Makes Propaganda Rounds

Mar 9, 2007 4:37pm

What appears to be the official military ID of Major Troy Gilbert, a celebrated F-16 pilot who crashed to his death on a combat mission last fall in Iraq, is being circulated on the Internet in an advertisement for an upcoming Iraqi insurgent propaganda video entitled "The Missing." Gilbert was initially declared "missing in action" when his body was not found with his plane by U.S. troops at the crash site. Shortly afterward a video appeared on al Jazeera, which included close-ups of the wreckage, leading to speculation insurgents might have moved Gilbert’s body. A spokesman at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, where Gilbert’s squadron is based, told ABC News today they are not aware of the posting and are surprised the military ID is circulating on the Internet. The Air Force changed Gilbert’s status from missing to deceased on Dec. 6, 2006, saying there had been a DNA match with remains recovered at the scene. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. The father of five was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. The advertisement being distributed on the Web by the "Islamic State of Iraq," a coalition of insurgent groups, including al Qaeda, which release frequent propaganda videos, was found today by Ben Venzke, an analyst for IntelCenter, which tracks and analyzes Arabic language Web sites. Anna Schecter contributed to this report.

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