IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 590-09
August 07, 2009
Speicher Search Details Announced
The Navy announced today additional details regarding the recent discovery of the remains of Navy Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher in Iraq. Speicher was shot down flying a combat mission in an F/A-18 Hornet over west-central Iraq on Jan. 17, 1991, during Operation Desert Storm.Acting in part on information provided by an Iraqi citizen in early July, Multi National Force – West's (MNF-W) personnel recovery team went to a location in the desert which was believed to be the crash site of Speicher's jet. The Iraqi, a Bedouin, was 11 years old at the time of the crash and did not have direct knowledge of where Speicher was buried, but knew of other Bedouins who did. He willingly provided his information during general discussion with MNF-W personnel and stated he was unaware of the U.S. government's interest in this case until queried by U.S. investigators in July 2009.The Iraqi citizens led MNF-W's personnel recovery team to the area they believed Speicher was buried. The area where the remains were recovered was located approximately 100 kilometers west of Ramadi, in Anbar province. There were two sites that teams searched. One site was next to the downed aircraft that was discovered in 1993 and the other site was approximately two kilometers away. The second site was where Speicher's remains were recovered.The recovery personnel searched two sites from July 22-29. The personnel recovery team consisted of approximately 150 people, mostly Marines and other forces under MNF-W.The recovered remains include bones and multiple skeletal fragments. Based on visual examination of the remains and dental records at the site, a preliminary assessment was reached that the remains were that of Speicher. After searching the site another day, no further remains were recovered.On July 30, the remains were turned over from the recovery team to MNF-W mortuary affairs at Al Asad. The remains were then transported to Dover Port Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, Del. They were examined by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's (AFIP) Armed Forces medical examiner who positively identified them as those of Speicher on Aug. 1.Positive identification by AFIP was made by comparing Speicher's dental records with the jawbone recovered at the site. The teeth were a match, both visually and radiographically. AFIP's DNA Lab in Rockville, Md., confirmed the remains to be Speicher on Aug. 2 via DNA comparison tests of the remains by comparing them to DNA reference samples previously provided by family members.Photos are available at http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=2934 .For additional information, please contact Navy public affairs at (703) 697-5342.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
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CAPT Scott Speicher was pronounced MIA (Missing in Action) during the Gulf War in 1991. He was flying combat operations over Iraq. A key installation in Iraq was named for him after the invasion of 2003. CAPT Speicher progressed in rank, largely benefitting his surviving family, until such time as his fate could be determined. CAPT Speicher was one of the critical missions of operations once the invasion began. There was some belief that he may have been alive and held in an Iraqi prison.
Alas, this fragile hope proved for naught. His recovered and identified remains will no doubt find a special resting place. More importantly, just as US forces conducted an exhaustive rescue operation for USAF CAPT Scott Grady, the persistent search for CAPT Speicher (and truly for all MIAs) reminds those serving that we will not leave a comrade behind.