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Local soldier finds load of Iraqi gold

Gazette Staff Writer

Submitted photo

Chillicothe native Jarrod Gozy, a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade serving in Operation: Iraqi Freedom, poses next to the nearly $400 million in gold bars that he discovered while stationed in Iraq.

Chillicothe native Jarrod Gozy is no stranger to the find-a-$20-bill-on-the-sidewalk scenario. The discovery of money is always a surprise, even for Gozy, who has now witnessed the king of all surprises.

Twice in the past 12 days Gozy has attested to massive discoveries of pure gold, totaling nearly $1 billion.

Gozy, 29, a graduate of Huntington High School, is a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the U.S. Army, which is currently deployed from Vicenza, Italy to Kirkuk, Iraq. On May 22, Gozy's unit stopped a vehicle in a traffic control point in the city of Kirkuk. The driver of the truck claimed the contents consisted of brass bars they had picked up in Baghdad. But according to Gozy, something was a little fishy.

"Their paper work did not match with who was in the truck," he said. "The unit detained the three people in the vehicle ... the same night I saw a report on CNN that a truck was stopped heading to Syria with 2,000 gold bars coming from Baghdad. I told our unit S2 (Intel) that we needed to check the truck to ensure that what we had was not gold."

Two days later and still no follow-up, Gozy decided to take the matter into his own hands. He and his First Sergeant went out to the truck and discovered a 60-pound bar, which they then handed over to the Tactical Operations Center to have tested.

"Come to find out it was gold," said Gozy, who said 1,000 gold bars were found in the truck, totaling $350 million.

"When I first laid eyes on the truck and saw the gold bars I could not believe it," Gozy said. "It is hard for me to believe that Saddam and his regime could hoard that kind of money and have the majority of his people living in poverty. It's disheartening."

According to Gozy, the gold will be turned over to the Iraqi government once it's established and used for the people. Gozy said elections are currently taking place in Iraq to set up a new government and, according to the Chillicothe native, there is a lot of U.S. involvement in the process.

"There are a lot of people that protested against us coming here," said Gozy. "But 90 percent of this country is glad we have come here and did what we did."

Especially after Tuesday, when Gozy's unit seized yet another truckload of gold, this time 1,183 bars, bringing the grand total to more than $700 million.

"It feels good to be able to give this gold/money back to the people who need it," said Gozy, who reported that peacekeeping missions have been occupying most of his recent time.

Gozy's unit has played a crucial role in establishing a new government, setting up schools, getting hospitals back into operating order, hiring new police forces, and distributing more than 80,000 pounds of medical supplies provided by Americare throughout the city.

"Once we get the city going in the direction we feel it needs to be going, hopefully we can move on," said Gozy. "I believe that everyone should have a chance to come into an oppressed country and liberate them and see the gratitude on the people's face once we do."

(Bunch can be reached at 772-9372 or via e-mail at mailto:bbunch@nncogannett.com.

Originally published Thursday, June 5, 2003

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