RILEY, JAMES JOSEPH

Name: James Joseph Riley
Branch/Rank: Army/Sgt
Unit: 507th Maintenance Company, Fort Bliss, TX
Date of Birth/Age: 31
Home City of Record: Pennsauken, New Jersey {New Zealand)
Date of Loss: March 23, 2003
Country of Loss: Iraq
Original Status: Prisoner of War
Current Status:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground


Other Personnel in Incident:

Killed in action:
Spc. Jamaal R. Addison, 22, of Roswell, Ga.,; Pfc. Howard Johnson II, 21, of Mobile, Ala.

Missing in action:
Master Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, 38, of Cleveland, Ohio; Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, 18, of El Paso; Spc. James M. Kiehl, 22, of Des Moines, Iowa; Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch, 19, of Palestine, W.Va.; Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, 35, of El Paso; Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa, 23, of Tuba City, Ariz.; Pvt. Brandon Ulysses Sloan, 19, of Bedford, Ohio; and Sgt. Donald Ralph Walters, 33, of Salem, Ore. 

Prisoners of war:
Spc. Edgar Adan Hernandez, 21, of Mission, Texas; Spc. Joseph Neal Hudson, 23, of Alamogordo, N.M.; Spc. Shoshana Nyree Johnson, 30, of El Paso; Pfc. Patrick Wayne Miller, 23, of Walter, Kan.; and Sgt. James Joseph Riley, 31, of Pennsauken, N.J.

Four more members of the unit were wounded, but managed to hold off or evade enemy forces until a Marine unit arrived to help evacuate them.

Source Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. April 2003.

Synopsis: A group of about 20 members of the 507th was ambushed near An Nasiriyah, Iraq on the fourth day of battle by civilian-clothed Iraqi forces. The soldiers were supplying the 3rd Infantry Division in its drive to Baghdad in central Iraq when they took a wrong turn. Broadcast pictures showed the convoy with a vehicle that appeared to have its tires shot out, another was overturned. Six vehicles were destroyed according to media reports.

The 507th, which deployed with the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, is not considered a combat unit, Defense Department officials said. Made up mostly of mechanics, the 507th keeps the diesel tanker trucks rolling, fixes generators and keeps the mechanical parts in good shape. Riley typically repairs tanks, services the Patriot missile battery and does welding.

Riley was one of the members of the 507th shown on Iraqi television. The video clip showed him sitting in a chair with his hands in his lap and answering questions in a abrupt fashion.

Riley's American grandfather, Joseph Roland, was US consul in Auckland from 1967 to 1972. The family left New Zealand for the United States when Riley was 10. His parents said he expressed interest in a military career as a young boy and joined the Army 13 years ago after graduating from Pennsauken High School.

Riley, is not married and has no children. He taught himself to play the guitar and is a science fiction buff, making a chain mail shirt for himself. His family last saw him Riley's family last saw him in July and had a call in February, before his deployment.

Pennsauken Mayor Bill Orth said he was planning to have city workers put up ribbons on some of the streets to show the community is solidly behind the soldier's family and our troops. Pennsauken has a higher-than-average concentration of veterans. Nearly one in seven residents over the age of 18 has served in the military. Last year, four of the 323 graduates of Pennsauken High School enlisted in the military according to local sources.  

Athol and Jane Riley also have two daughters, Catherine, 22, and Mary, 29, who slipped into a coma caused by a rare neurological disorder and yet to regain consciousness. The family was coping with support of close friends and neighbors. Catherine, was quoted in media reports as saying the town was sold out of yellow ribbon. "We just hope and pray," said Athol Riley.

 

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
 
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2003 DoD officials identified the seven American prisoners of war found in northern Iraq
today as five members of the 507th Maintenance Company and two Apache helicopter pilots.
 
Two of the seven have suffered gunshot wounds but are in good shape, said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
 
Officials woke up President Bush with the good news this morning. He held an impromptu press availability at the
White House. "Today is a great day for the families,  comrades, loved ones of the seven missing in action who are
free," he said.
 
The five soldiers from the 507th are Sgt. James J. Riley, 31, of Pennsauken, N.J.; Spc. Shoshana N. Johnson, 30, of
El Paso, Texas; Spc. Edgar A. Hernandez, 21, of Mission, Texas; Spc. Joseph N. Hudson, 23, of Alamogordo, N.M.; and
Pfc. Patrick W. Miller, 23, of Walter, Kan.
 
The two Apache pilots, Chief Warrant Officers David S. Williams and Ronald D. Young, are members of the 1st
Battalion, 227th Aviation at Fort Hood, Texas.
 
The 507th members had been captured when their convoy took a  wrong turn and was ambushed in Nasiriyah March 23. The
pilots had been captured near Karbala on March 23.
 
Marines moving up for an attack on Tikrit were tipped off to the presence of American POWs by Iraqis, said U.S.
Central Commander chief Army Gen. Tommy Franks on CNN's "Late Edition."
 
The Marines moved into the area and found the soldiers walking along a road near Samarra. They flew the former
POWs to an airfield in southern Iraq and transferred them to a C-130 transport plane. They were then moved to Kuwait
for medical treatment and an intelligence debriefing.
 
Rescued POW Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, now being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is
also a member of the 507th, which is based in Fort Bliss, Texas. Lynch was rescued from an Iraqi hospital April 2.
 
The president said the United States will keep looking for American service members still missing in Iraq. "We pray
that they too will be safe and free one of these days," he said. But it's just a good way to start off the morning, to
have been notified that seven of our fellow Americans are going to be home here pretty soon in the arms of their
loved ones."