May 31, 2010: Remembering Tommy

Thomas Lowell Tucker
1981 - 2006

Thomas Lowell Tucker (May 5, 1981–June 19, 2006) from Madras, Oregon, was a Private First Class of the U.S. Army tortured, killed, and mutilated by Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He was one of two U.S. soldiers seized by the Mujahideen Shura Council during an attack that left a third soldier Spc. David J. Babineau shot to death on a roadside checkpoint on June 16, 2006, in Youssifiyah, Iraq, an area known as the Triangle of Death. PFC Kristian Menchaca also went missing in that incident.

Tucker was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502d Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

On June 20, 2006, military sources reported that the bodies believed to be Tucker and Menchaca were found in Youssifiyah. The bodies of two U.S. soldiers were mutilated and booby-trapped, with IED's on the road leading to them. The director of the Iraqi defense military’s operation room Major General Abdul Aziz Mohammed told Reuters that the men were tortured and killed "in a barbaric way". The Mujahedeen Shura Council, a group linked to al Qaeda, said in their statement: "We announce the good news to our Islamic nation that God's will was executed and the two crusader animals we had in captivity were slaughtered"..."And God has given our Emir, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, the good fortune of carrying out the legitimate court's command in person." Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, when asked about the claim by the Shura Council that it was holding the soldiers, said they have no independent confirmation of that report. Another U.S. soldier was killed and eight were wounded during the search operations.

On July 3, 2006, PFC Tucker was honored in his home of Central Oregon beginning with a funeral service at Deschutes County, Oregon Fairgrounds, officiated by Pastor Lee McCloud of Oregon Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God, followed by a funeral procession, eight miles long, to Madras, his hometown, where he was buried at Mount Jefferson Memorial Park Cemetery. Along with hundreds of local mourners of PFC Tucker and military dignitaries, the burial was also attended by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden and others. Even after PFC Tucker's burial, banners, pictures, and other signs of support remained on display around Madras.

On July 10, 2006, a video showing the bodies of Kristian Menchaca and PFC Tucker was posted on an extreme Islamist website, purportedly by al-Qaida in Iraq. Although the video does not show the actual executions, it shows the two corpses laid out on a road and being taunted by the alleged captors, who present the head of Thomas Tucker to the camera like a trophy, and stomp on the head of Menchaca.

On September 23, 2006, a second mutilation video of the two soldiers was broadcast on the Internet. It shows the two soldiers being dragged on the streets and their bodies being set on fire. Tucker's head is kicked by an insurgent.

It was widely reported in July 2006 that a Jordanian man, Diyar Ismail Mahmoud, a.k.a 'Abu al-Afghani', alleged as being behind the killing and mutilation of Tucker and Menchaca, had himself been killed in a firefight with Iraqi security forces.
[edit] Iraqi Judicial Proceedings

In October 2008, an Iraqi judge sentenced Ibrahim Karim Muhammed Salih al-Qaraghuli to death for the abduction, torture, and murder of Tucker and Menchaca. An expert witness stated that al-Qaraghuli's fingerprints matched photographs of bloody prints found on the front panel of the truck from which the two men were dragged. Two other men were acquitted and released due to a lack of evidence.

A town in mourning.

Tommy's Funeral

The burial.

Thomas Tucker Memorial


  1. His family and others' will be in my thoughts, thanks Gran, for choosing to highlight his story.

  2. How Awful. This is so unbelievably sad and tragic. Hopefully one day our species will evolve to a more peaceful state beyond this madness.

  3. Thank you reminding us why we celebrate Memorial Day. Thank you for also telling Tommy's story. What a tragic reminder of something so real. My thoughts go out to Tommy's family.

  4. What a sad but fitting tribute for Memorial Day.

  5. What a horrifying story, yet one that needs to be told. So many of us don't realize the pure hatred that still runs rampant in this world. It's easy for us to tune this out, to listen to just another soldier's name being read on the news, without hearing the story behind it. What a true reminder of what Memorial Day really is about.

  6. Sometimes it is good to remember things we'd rather forget!

  7. God bless these two heroic soldiers and their families.

  8. Tommy's grandmother is a dear friend. I'll forward all your comments to her, I'm sure she will appreciate them.

  9. So easy to forget, amidst all the barbecues and picnics, that this is what Memorial Day is about. Our family has been lucky, so far, in that everyone who served has come home safe and sound, but my prayers go out to the families of those who did not.
    Thank you for reminding us. It's important to remember.

  10. I feel so badly for these boy's survivors. This is a story that is best left untold, and yet it can not be because it happened, and worst of all, the world watched. I am sure there are so many more just like it that we don't know about and it's just gross. No words to describe it really.

    This story is good reminder of why we are at war, an example of the hatred and barbaric ways of the group of people that we are trying to eradicate.