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Capt. Scott Speicher to Come Home

All Posts  August 02 2009
 — By CJ Grisham

captain scott speicherI 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.”

“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.

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.

(10) Readers Comments

  1. Most likely a bittersweet time for Capt Speicher’s family. I am so glad that he has been found and will be returned to his family. They will continue to be in my thoughts as they have been all these years. Rest in peace brave warrior

  2. My thoughts and prayers are with the Speichers. I think one thing that I am relieved about is that all these years I have worried that he might have been captured and tortured. May he rest in peace now back home with his family. My sincere thanks for his bravery and sacrifice.

  3. Capt Speicher and his family have been in my prayers, and will continue to be so.

    Welcome home, Captain.

  4. Pingback: Rest in Peace, Captain Speicher - Knee Deep in the Hooah!

  5. I too am glad that they found Capt. Speicher’s remains so that the family could bring him home and bury him here.

    It is indeed a testament to the diligence that the Armed Forces puts forth in finding our lost troops! Bless that Iraqi who came forward and told our soldiers about the remains being buried there.

    My heart goes out to the family as they grieve the loss of their loved one and God Bless them all!!

  6. As a fellow aviator who re-patriated some of our Viet Nam MIA’s long after their sacrifice, God Bless he and his family.

  7. Welcome Home, Capt Specher. And thanks for the tireless work of the guys that got him here.

  8. Years ago I read an extensive article in SOF about the military’s shaky methodology used in identifying MIA remains. It has left me cynical about the subject ever since.

    Especially since I’m usually ready to believe the WORST about what our government does at any given time!

  9. Thank God he’s home. God bless his family.

  10. what does it say in america when we give michael jackson the burial coverage of a president like jfk or reagan but a great man like scott barely rates a 2 minute sound bite on cnn. i hope the people of jacksonville give his family the military honors he deserves. maybe now his mom will be able to sleep at night. god bless people like the speicher family who continually turn out the heroes who save and protect this great nation. welcome home sir.

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