Skip to comments.Speicher Search Details Announced
Posted on 08/08/2009 9:32:42 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
Speicher Search Details Announced
Story Number: NNS090807-14
Release Date: 8/7/2009 4:11:00 PM
From the Department of Defense
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy announced Aug. 7 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 Jan. 17, 1991, during Operation Desert Storm.
Acting in part on information provided by an Iraqi citizen in early July, Multi National ForceWest'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.
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 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 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.
I reading this to mean (and hoping it to mean) that Capt. Speicher did not rot in some prison.
I’m curious to know what else was found with the remains. Speicher’s flight uniform was uncovered years earlier near the crash site. I think it was in 1995.
“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 story of his flight suit and more:
There’s one problem with that flight suit found in the Iraqi Desert. I’m a former Air Force crew member, with combat and combat-support missions over Iraq and Bosnia. Before any mission of that type, it is standard procedure to “sanitize” your flight suit, removing all patches except for your name tag.
Additionally, pilots and crew members remove personal identification items from their wallets, except for their military ID card and whatever cash they choose to carry. Everything else—credit cards, driver’s license, personal photos—stays behind, in the care of life support or unit intel personnel.
Based on my experience as an aircrew member, it’s almost inconceivable that Scott Speicher would fly into combat with a unit patch on his flight suit. It’s also worth noting that the article you reference doesn’t mention another salient fact; the flight suit discovered in 1995 was in remarkably good shape—almost new, by some accounts.
Nomex is a tough material, but three years in the desert would produce obvious signs of wear and tear on the flight suit. The fact that it was not found at the burial site is also telling; so is the fact that you can buy/sell military patches on line. Based on the publicity surrounding the Speicher case—and the possibility that Saddam’s thugs may have captured, tortured and killed the Navy pilot—the Iraqis certainly knew what squadron he was assigned to.
Finally, the reported location of Captain Speicher’s remains is very suspicious. Two kilometers away is certainly not consistent with a pilot who died in the aircraft. And don’t forget, Speicher apparently carved his escape and evasion “symbol” in the desert floor at the crash site, a process that took several minutes to complete (the symbol must be big enough to be seen from the air by rescue forces, so it’s not a matter of scratching it quickly with a stick or your boot.
The family of Captain Speicher still wants answers on how he died. And rightfully so.
Thank you for posting. So sad to see these photos and that it took so long to find him. 2 kilometers from crash site means to me that he did not live long; weakened by impact and injuries, the heat and deydration got him. Of course, that depends on how quickly the Bedouins found him. One account says he was already dead when discovered.
The REAL story is how quickly search-and-rescue was called off after his disappearance. He was abandoned, no other way to put it.
Before any mission of that type, it is standard procedure to sanitize your flight suit, removing all patches except for your name tag.
Based on my experience as an aircrew member, its almost inconceivable that Scott Speicher would fly into combat with a unit patch on his flight suit.
Its also worth noting that the article you reference doesnt mention another salient fact; the flight suit discovered in 1995 was in remarkably good shapealmost new, by some accounts.
Did you actually read the entire article?
Albano saw that the suit was a little tattered, pockets were missing and the patches were gone. He knew that pilots remove those patches to ``sanitize'' their flight suits before flying into enemy territory.