Tue, Oct 15, 2002
Once Thought MIA, Then KIA, Then MIA; Now 'Captured'
As things progress to another war against Iraq,
there's another reason to go to Baghdad: to find a Naval aviator
who was written off on January 17, 1991 (the first night of the
Gulf War) as Missing in Action.
In 1995, the Red Cross and military investigators examined the
wreckage of his F/A-18 Hornet, and had his status changed to
"Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered," as they closed the book. As
the Navy had more time to investigate in the late 1990s, it did;
and, in January of 2001, as the Administrations turned over, so did
Captain Speicher's status: he again became classed as, Missing in
Friday, Navy Secretary Gordon England elevated Speicher's family's
hopes, changing the missing airman's status to the current,
Missing/Captured. It is not known what new evidence the Navy has,
if any; England told reporters that the status change was "the
logical extension" in the saga. No specific information was
released, to back up the change; but it may be important,as war
preparations are made, to make the change, for political or morale
reasons. England wrote, in relation to the status upgrade, "While
the information available to me now does not prove definitively
that Captain Speicher is alive and in Iraqi custody, I am
personally convinced that the Iraqis seized him sometime after his
plane went down. It is my firm belief that the government of Iraq
knows what happened to Captain Speicher."
no information was given for that belief; nor was there any
discussion of in what way "information available to me now"
differed from "information available to me five years ago."
Information, available at some time (but not necessarily "new")
includes the facts:
- Speicher ejected. It's likely he survived the ejection; it's
also like he was injured.
- The flight suit provided the investigators may well have been
Speicher's; it indicates it was not in the airplane when it
- England also cited unspecified "cumulative information," in his
Well, I'm convinced.
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