The Web’s Leading Military Blog Since 2004
Capt. Scott Speicher to Come Home
I remember attending High School at Nathan Bedford Forrest High School in Jacksonville, FL during Desert Storm when the news that Captain Scott Speicher was shot down and missing in Iraq. We heard this because Speicher was a graduate of NB Forrest HS as well. If you go there today, there is a memorial in his honor in the front office foyer. I’ve written about Speicher a few times on this site as well as I’ve never forgotten him. Part of my job in Iraq was also to ask locals if they had any idea where he may be. We followed a lot of dead-end leads.
Well, Capt. Speicher is no longer missing.
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.”
â€œOur Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be,â€ said Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations. â€œWe 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.â€
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 Speicherâ€™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 AFIPâ€™s Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.
The recovered remains include bones and multiple skeletal fragments. Positive identification was made by comparing Captain Speicherâ€™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.
May God bless the Speicher family in this time of closure for them. My prayers are with them as they end nearly two decades of confusion and sadness.