"They went there with a name and now they're just so many unknowns. Why?" said Montoya, 69. "I want my son to have his name."
Montoya is part of a group of families who want desperately to send Argentine scientists to the islands to identify their war dead, even as other families resist the idea. Montoya's group reached out to British musician Roger Waters, who delivered their appeal to President Cristina Fernandez in March between concerts in Buenos Aires. She quickly took on their cause, describing it as a matter of universal human rights, and asked for help from the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has been studying whether to intervene.
The trouble is, some relatives of the fallen are appalled at any plan to unearth the bodies for their DNA and seek matches among survivors.
"I don't agree with this appeal. I have already mourned," said Delmira Hasenclever de Cao, president of a commission of families of dead soldiers. "The wound was closed 30 years ago."
"We want each and every family to be consulted to see what their opinion is," de Cao added. "One family's opinion cannot be imposed upon another's. Everyone has the same right to decide what they will do."
Montoya's group wants the work done by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, an independent group of scientists who developed their expertise identifying victims of the 1976-83 military junta and have since helped unravel human-rights atrocities on four continents.
The Red Cross has begun interviewing families of "unknown" soldiers to better understand their concerns. Some want their loved ones' bodies back home. Others fear that once identified, they'll be removed from the land they gave their lives to recover for Argentina. Still others worry that the process will be awful to see or even think about, causing them more grief and pain.
The governments in Buenos Aires and Stanley will have to deal with each other if the effort goes any further, bridging a political gulf as wide as the frigid Argentine Sea that separates the islands from the South American mainland. The Argentines consider the islands an illegal British colony, refusing to recognize the self-governing democracy islanders established after the war.
Falkland Islands government spokesman Darren Christie said the Red Cross has not formally approached officials there about identifying the buried soldiers.
"The official line is that if and when we receive some sort of formal contact, we will consider it very carefully," Christie said.
The war ended on June 14, 1982, but most Argentine bodies were left untouched on the battlefield or in temporary graves through the long southern winter. Britain tried for months to send them to Buenos Aires, but the military junta said they were already in their homeland. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher finally agreed to build an Argentine cemetery, and Geoffrey Cardozo, a young British Army captain, was ordered to recover and rebury the dead in January 1983.
Cardozo assembled a team of British funeral directors that rappelled into minefields from helicopters and dug up mass graves to recover the Argentine corpses, carefully preparing each one for reburial in individual coffins. It was gruesome but important work, and Cardozo, who retired recently as a colonel, remains proud of it. In all, 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers died in the war. All but 14 of the British war dead whose bodies could be recovered were taken home.
The Argentines had been ill-prepared for the war, and weren't given durable identification tags. Captured Argentines who might have identified comrades months earlier had been quickly sent home. The British had no Argentine military records to compare the bodies to, let alone dental records or other forensic information.
Televised images of British soldiers being lowered into a temporary battlefield grave during the fighting were so upsetting to viewers back home that for the first time in British military history, most of the dead soldiers were brought back immediately after the war and reburied at home, Cardozo said. All the soldiers in the small British military cemetery in the islands were identified.