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4th body from Iraq convoy attack identified

Halliburton Co. said Tuesday that the fourth body found near the site of an attack on a fuel convoy in Iraq earlier this month was that of a contract worker for the company.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The fourth body found near an attack on a fuel convoy in Iraq earlier this month was a contract worker for Halliburton Co., the company said Tuesday.

Tony Johnson, 47, of Riverside, Calif., “exhibited bravery, diligence and strength in his work,” Halliburton said in a statement.

Johnson was among seven employees of Halliburton subsidiary KBR, formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root, missing since an April 9 attack on their convoy west of Baghdad. His body was among four found near the site of the attack, company spokeswoman Wendy Hall said.

Identities of three of those bodies were confirmed last week: Stephen Hulett, 48, of Manistee, Mich.; Jack Montague, 52, of Pittsburg, Ill.; and Jeffery Parker, 45, of Lake Charles, La.

Another of the seven, Thomas Hamill of Macon, Miss., and a military man also abducted in the April 9 attack, Pfc. Keith M. Maupin, have been seen alive on video footage. They and the other two missing Halliburton workers remain unaccounted for.

“We are working with the authorities and doing everything we can to assist the families as well as our employees who must summon all of their patience and hopefulness in this difficult period,” the company said.

The remains of a second military man missing since April 9, Sgt. Elmer Krause of Greensboro, N.C., were identified Friday, according to a statement issued Saturday by the Department of Defense.

Halliburton says 34 of its contractors have died while working in Iraq and Kuwait, performing jobs such as extinguishing oil fires and delivering fuel and food. Thousands have signed on for the jobs, which pay up to $120,000 tax-free for a year’s work, including overtime.

The company reiterated Tuesday that KBR, which has 24,000 employees and subcontractors in Iraq and Kuwait, has no plans to withdraw staff from Iraq. Siemens AG, Bechtel and General Electric have recently acknowledged that they have suspended some reconstruction projects in Iraq because of the violence.

On Monday, Carolyn Maupin, Keith Maupin’s mother, spoke publicly for the first time since her son’s capture. At a rally for U.S. troops in Georgetown, Ohio, that drew hundreds, she said she appreciated seeing so much support for the troops.

“They are our heroes and may God bless them and return them safely,” she said, choking back tears.