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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Remains identified as Captain Scott Speicher

From the DOD press release:

The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) has positively identified remains recovered in Iraq as those of Captain Michael Scott Speicher. Captain Speicher was shot down flying a combat mission in an F/A-18 Hornet over west-central Iraq on January 17th, 1991 during Operation Desert Storm.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Speicher's family for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country," said Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy. "I am also extremely grateful to all those who have worked so tirelessly over the last 18 years to bring Captain Speicher home."

“Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be,” said Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Captain Speicher and his family for the sacrifice they have made for our nation and the example of strength they have set for all of us.”

Acting on information provided by an Iraqi citizen in early July, US Marines stationed in Al Anbar Province went to a location in the desert which was believed to be the crash site of Captain Speicher’s jet. The Iraqi citizen stated he knew of two Iraqi citizens who recalled an American jet impacting the desert and the remains of the pilot being buried in the desert. One of these Iraqi citizens stated that they were present when Captain Speicher was found dead at the crash site by Bedouins and his remains buried. The Iraqi citizens led US Marines to the site who searched the area. Remains were recovered over several days during the past week and flown to Dover Air Force Base for scientific identification by the AFIP’s Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.

The recovered remains include bones and multiple skeletal fragments. Positive identification was made by comparing Captain Speicher’s dental records with the jawbone recovered at the site. The teeth are a match, both visually and radiographically.

While dental records have confirmed the remains to be those of Captain Speicher, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology DNA Lab in Rockville, Maryland is running DNA tests on the remains recovered in Iraq and comparing them to DNA reference samples previously provided by family members. Results will take approximately 24 hours.


Some members of the Able Danger team were involved in this search:

Speicher was a lieutenant commander when shot down, but because his status remained uncertain, he received promotions during the past 18 years, reaching the rank of captain.

He was originally listed as "Killed-In-Action/Body-Not-Recovered" in May 1991. That status changed in 2001 to "Missing in Action," and then to "Missing/Captured" in 2002 based on sighting reports inIraq. Those sightings have since been discredited.

His status was changed back to MIA earlier this year.

In the six years that the United States has been in Iraq for the second Gulf War, many leads and alleged sightings of Speicher have been investigated and found to be false.

The Speicher family has worked closely with the Navy to ensure the hunt for him would not stop.