BOISE -- Gov. C.L. Butch Otter honored Idaho veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, mourned those who died -- and raised hopes a prisoner of war from Hailey will soon be released.

Otter also said he hopes efforts promoting the hiring of veterans will result in more former soldiers with jobs, with a statewide unemployment rate at 8.5 percent.

At least five Idaho soldiers died in 2011, including specialists Nathan Ryan Beyers and Nicholas Wayne Newby of the National Guard's 116th Armored Cavalry.

Otter called them out by name, with other soldiers who died -- Specialist Robert Dyas, Corporal Devin Daniels and Corporal Ryan Sharp -- to mark their tragic passing.

Otter also said he was praying for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's return from Taliban-linked captors who have held him since 2009.

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