Dugway searching for missing soldier

Published: Monday, May 9 2011 1:28 p.m. MDT

DUGWAY PROVING GROUND — The Army is searching for a missing soldier on this expansive military range who used his cell phone to report he was without shoes and is possibly using his shirt as footwear.

The soldier said he had run out of gas and was walking to the test area, said Dugway spokeswoman Paula Thomas. "Apparently he was wearing flip-flops prior to losing them.

"We don't have phone contact any longer," Thomas said. "We don't know why. It could be for any number of reasons — the area he's in doesn't have cell contact, his battery died...."

Inclement weather kept the Army and Tooele County officials from searching by air Monday morning, but a search force was at work on the ground. "I know he is familiar with the area, and he has quite a bit of outdoor experience," Thomas said. "But Dugway covers a lot of area."

Spc. Joseph Michael Bushling did not report being in distress to Dugway officials but placed a call about 7 p.m. Sunday, possibly to a friend. He is described as 5-foot-9 with blue eyes and weighs about 190 pounds. He drives a black 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer. The Army said his last known location was west of Granite Mountain.

Bushling works for the medical clinic at Dugway, but whether he was last seen traveling to or from work is not known, Thomas said.

Anyone with information about Bushling is asked to call the Dugway Police Department at 435-831-2929.

E-mail: sfidel@desnews.com Twitter: SteveFidel

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