Hassoun, Wassef Ali

Name: Wassef Ali Hassoun
Branch/Branch: Marine Corps / Cpl
Unit:  1st Marine Expeditionary Force
Date of Birth/Age: 24
Home City of Record:
Al-Safira / Salt Lake City UT
Date of Loss: June 21, 2004
Country of Loss: Iraq
Original Status: Missing
Status Changed to Missing Captured
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground

Other Personnel in Incident:

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. June 29, 2004


Synopsis:  Wassef Ali Hassoun grew up in war-torn Lebanon during the 1980s. He witnessed the toll war took on civilians as  he endured it himself. Relatives said the family lost relations and went days with little food and no electrical power. That  experience made Wassef want to become a Marine.

Wassef Ali Hassoun has been identified on Arab television network Al-Jazeera blindfolded and in uniform, held captive by the Islamic Retaliation Movement/Armed Resistance Wing threatening to behead him if the U.S. military did not release all prisoners in Iraq. In the video, the hostage had a white blindfold covering his eyes. A hand holding a long sword is seen standing behind Ali. He wore military fatigues, and his mustache was trimmed. Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera broadcast the tape. The group claims to have taken Ali captive after "infiltrating a US military base in Iraq".

Hassoun attended an American school in Lebanon. He speaks fluent French.  Hassoun is originally from Al-Safira but lived in Tripoli until he emigrated in the early 1990s to the United States, where he gained citizenship. Wassef moved to the Salt Lake City area and joined the Marines after moving there. He attends the Al-Noor Mosque in Salt Lake City when he is home. Hassoun's relatives live in a multi-story home in an upscale West Jordan subdivision. He is one of five brothers.

A military probe concluded Hassoun had abandoned his post. He was charged with desertion in December, and once again in January 2005 after he failed to report back to base. He has since been declared a fugitive.


U.S. Military Confirms Marine Reported Kidnapped Is Missing
Marine Identified As Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun

POSTED: 5:59 pm EDT June 27, 2004
UPDATED: 10:06 pm EDT June 27, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Arab television broadcast videotape Sunday of two men taken hostage by militants, one described as a U.S. Marine lured from his base and the other a Pakistani driver for an American contractor. Insurgents threatened to behead them both.....


Report: Hostage GI Had Deserted
June 30, 2004

A U.S. Marine now in the hands of Iraqi insurgents had deserted the military and was on his way to Lebanon when he was captured, a newspaper reports.

The New York Times quotes an unnamed Marine officer as saying Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, a linguist originally from Lebanon, was traumatized by seeing his sergeant blown apart by a shell.. ...



No. 629-04
Jul 01, 2004

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DoD Announces Marine's Captured Status

The Department of Defense announced today the status of a Marine serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom as captured.

Cpl. Wassef A. Hassoun, 24, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was declared captured on June 28.

Hassoun was last seen on June 19 in Al Anbar Province, Iraq and was initially reported as missing when he failed to show for duty on June 20. While his absence initially prompted investigators to believe he was missing, a video shown on international television on June 27 depicted the Marine being held against his will by masked captors.

The circumstances regarding his capture remain under investigation.

He is assigned to 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

  No. 657-04

DoD Announces Marine's Return to Military Control

            The Department of Defense announced today the status change of Cpl. Wassef A. Hassoun, 24, of Salt Lake City, Utah, from “captured” to “returned to military control.” 

            The circumstances regarding his whereabouts between June 19 and July 8 are under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.   

            Hassoun is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.  

            Questions regarding theater operations can be directed to U.S. Central Command at (813) 827-5895.  Questions regarding Hassoun can be directed to Headquarters Marine Corps Public Affairs at  (703) 614-4309.


July 9, 2004

Hassoun was being treated for exhaustion and debriefed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the U.S. military hospital in Germany. Doctors stated he "was not bruised."

Rumors abound of  a kidnapping "hoax" and desertion. No answers are yet available for the "beheading" claims posted on Arabic media websites, the denials of such, and then the movement from Iraq to the U.S. Embassy in  Lebanon where Hassoun was allegedly "returned to military control."

Meanwhile, no information has been forthcoming as to Matt Maupin's fate. Prayers and vigils continue.


Charges devastate Hassoun family
Wait and see: Fellow Marines and relatives now will wait for the process to run its course

By Derek P. Jensen
The Salt Lake Tribune  
A day after desertion charges against Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun shocked his family and shook Utah's Muslim community, a relative calm prevailed at his Marine base and his adopted home.
   Mohamad Hassoun, who brought his younger brother to West Jordan from Lebanon, prayed at a mosque Friday. At Camp Lejeune, N.C., the Marine resumed his usual dispatching duties at the base motor pool.


Past Stories
Utah Marine charged, 12-10-04

Hassoun's things found in Fallujah, 11-18-04

News leak concerning Hassoun is probed, 9-23-04

Hassoun back on regular duty at Marine base, 9-15-04

NCIS unit is expert in cases like Hassoun's, 8-9-04
Hassoun, back home, says thanks, 8-2-04

     Last summer, when Hassoun vanished from his base near Fallujah and then turned up 18 days later in Beirut, "we were despised and called American agents," the cousin said.
   Hassoun, 24, was charged with desertion Thursday following a five-month military investigation into his June disappearance. He also was charged with theft and the loss of his 9mm handgun and theft of a unit Humvee.....

Accused Deserter on Navy 'Most Wanted' List
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Associated Press

WEST JORDAN, Utah  — A Marine who was declared a deserter days before military court proceedings stemming from an earlier disappearance from Iraq has been placed on a list of "most wanted" fugitives.

A mug shot of Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun  appeared this week on a Navy criminal justice Web site, ..........