Testing underway to determine if they are his;
questions linger as to how he died
The Pentagon has
announced that the remains of a body have been found in Iraq and
that are being tested to determine if they are those of Lt. Cmdr.
Michael Scott Speicher, of Jacksonville (FL), whose aircraft was
reported missing more than a decade ago during the Gulf War.
Speicher's family has been notified.
The results of the testing are expected to take several weeks to
complete, and until then the family has decided not to speculate or
make any statements as to whether or not they think Speicher's
remains have actually been found.
Speicher, whose call sign was "Spike," was last seen taking off
from the USS Saratoga, station in the Red Sea at the time, on his
very first mission in actual combat. He took off at 0100 on January
17, on the very first mission flown over Iraqi soil. The mission
was deemed a success, and all the aircraft returned, except
Soon after, the Pentagon announced that Speicher had been KIA in
a mid-air explosion, even though his fellow pilots believed he had
ejected and survived. Based on this assessment, it was decided that
no recovery mission would be attempted. However, in 1993, US
intelligence operatives found Speicher's aircraft in much better
condition than a mid-air explosion should have left it. They also
found the aircraft's canopy some distance away, suggesting that
Speicher had indeed punched out and survived the crash. No body was
ever found at the crash site.
Based on the reports
that Speicher's aircraft had been found and positively identified,
the Pentagon changed his status from KIA to MIA -- Missing in
Action. Later they changed it yet again, to Missing Captured. Soon
after the second Gulf War began, the initials "M.S.S." were found
in a Baghdad prison after coalition forces took over. Speculation
was rampant that the government was not being forthcoming about
information they might have proving that Speicher might have been
held at the prison. However, DNA testing on the scratch marks
The remains being tested were found in another part of Iraq.
Now, just short of the fourteenth anniversary of Speicher's
disappearance, the family once again waits for news that may
provide them with the closure they have sought for over a