Posts by Bkauthor

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  • U.S. Forces Interrogating Iraqis About Pilot Missing Since 1991

    06/24/2003 4:11:23 PM PDT · 1 of 7
    Bkauthor
    Thought you all might be interested in this one about Scott Speicher. Task Force 20 is interrogating prisoners of high-level nature such as #4 in the deck of most wanted: Mahmud.
  • U.S. will use reward, posters in effort to find downed Navy pilot--Scott Speicher

    05/29/2003 2:17:01 PM PDT · 1 of 21
    Bkauthor
    U.S. will use reward, posters in effort to find downed Navy pilot By DAVID GOLDSTEIN The Kansas City Star

    WASHINGTON - In their thus-far fruitless search in Iraq for Navy pilot Capt. Scott Speicher, U.S. investigators plan to use two old-fashioned tools: reward money and wanted posters.

    Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida backed a "sense of the Senate" resolution urging Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to use his authority to offer rewards for information about missing military personnel.

    "We've pretty well hit a dead-end street," Roberts said of the need to try new methods to recover the pilot shot down over Iraq in 1991. "It's a little hard not to be discouraged. We had hoped by this time that we would have had more specific word. That doesn't mean we aren't persevering, that we aren't making every effort."

    The Senate provision, included in the Defense Authorization bill passed last week, calls for the publicizing of a $1 million reward for information "resolving the fate" of Speicher.

    Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin said members of the former Iraqi regime, terrorists or others who might have been involved in Speicher's captivity are not eligible for the money.

    The reward also applies to the search for members of the armed forces from the Korean and Vietnam wars still considered to be missing, held prisoner or killed in action, but who remain unaccounted for.

    "It might flush somebody out who knew about Scott," said Roberts, a leader in the efforts to recover Speicher. "There were probably three, four or five people who even knew about him. He was more or less a pet prisoner of Saddam."

    Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, his two sons and dozens of other top Iraqi officials are still considered at large, assuming they survived U.S. air attacks.

    Roberts, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, acknowledged that in a recent closed-door briefing with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz he pushed the idea of circulating posters with Speicher's photograph because he wanted "every Iraqi citizen to know exactly what Capt. Speicher looks like."

    The posters and the prospect of a reward should produce a flood of information, Roberts said, although much is likely to be useless. But he said the searchers are starting to run out of options.

    Roberts said a new team of investigators would be on the ground soon in Iraq to aid the search, although he said its primary task is to look for evidence of weapons of mass destruction. The new team is called the Iraq Survey Group and is made up mainly of scientists.

    The existing team searching for Speicher is a joint operation of about a dozen people from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other intelligence operations.

    Speicher was the first U.S. casualty of the 1991 conflict. Although he was initially declared killed in action, subsequent evidence showed that he probably survived the crash of his fighter jet and was taken prisoner by Iraq.

    His status was first changed to missing in action, but reports continued to surface that he was alive. The military now considers him to be a prisoner of war.

    Once the latest war concluded and military and intelligence teams began roaming Iraq, optimism was high that Speicher -- or at least evidence of his fate -- would be found.

    "Obviously as years go by, the possibility of bringing him home alive realistically seems to diminish," said Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Pentagon's POW/MIA office. "But we've got to be vigilant and exercise all the resources we've got."

    Expectations rose several weeks ago when investigators found Speicher's initials carved into a wall at the Hakmiyah Prison, a site where an informant reportedly said an American pilot had been held during the mid-1990s.

    Amy Waters Yarsinske, a former naval intelligence officer who wrote a book last year about the Speicher case, said she understood that investigators also found other symbols inside the prison that might have been left by Speicher.

    "The symbols he was using are something he was taught in survival training," she said. "The Iraqis would have no idea what they were even if they noticed. They are the same symbols Scott has left everywhere."

    But Lt. Cmdr. Jim Brooks, a spokesman for the Defense Intelligence Agency, cast doubt on the likelihood that such symbols were found, or if they were, that Speicher was responsible. He said the Army was conducting forensic tests.

    "In all the prisons they've been through, everyone carves on the wall," he said. "I haven't seen anything definitive. The search continues."

    But as more time passes without a clear resolution of Speicher's fate, his friends and supporters grow more anxious.

    "I was hopeful when the war was coming to a rapid close," said Barry Hull, a fellow pilot in Speicher's squadron who flew with him the night he disappeared. "I hoped they'd find him in a few days. It's been pretty quiet since."

    Still, Hull said, "It's not over yet."

    To reach David Goldstein, Washington correspondent, call (202) 383-6105, or send email to dgoldstein@krwashington.com

  • Question: Soldier who died saving Iraqi child & others being nominated for Medal of Honor?

    04/28/2003 4:29:26 PM PDT · 23 of 36
    Bkauthor to shawne
    Two Medals of Honor were awarded to the two Delta Force men killed at the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993. Their story is documented in the book Black Hawk Down.
  • The FReeper Foxhole Remembers John Marshall Alley - Union Soldier - Mar. 19th, 2003

    03/27/2003 2:35:25 PM PST · 73 of 74
    Bkauthor to AntiJen
    REMOVE
  • First Girl Lost in the War

    03/27/2003 10:57:13 AM PST · 3 of 41
    Bkauthor to Dirk McQuickly
    There's no proof that Jessica Lynch is dead; DoD lists her as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN) and the media is calling her Missing in Action (MIA). She was driving the 5-ton truck, according to her father, Greg Lynch. While some of her fellow soldiers were segregated out and executed, others taken before cameras as POWs, she was not among them. Her fate is undetermined and the British Sun is the only paper reporting such speculation that she's dead. There is NOTHING out there to substantiate her death.
  • Breaking News" [Ted] Maher Convicted = Ten Years

    12/02/2002 1:58:27 PM PST · 265 of 418
    Bkauthor to Rodney King
    Try this photo:

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/021202/170/2sja1.html

    He isn't looking so good here...
  • Breaking News" [Ted] Maher Convicted = Ten Years

    12/02/2002 1:43:21 PM PST · 260 of 418
    Bkauthor to wimpycat; Rodney King
    In answer to both of you--an AP photographer is not an AP reporter. Ted is also conferring with one of his attorneys in this shot and no one knows just how close this cameraman was when he took the picture; they are not allowed close in so I suspect a longer lense. Ted showed up in court with marks that indicate he was beaten overnight before his last appearance in the courtroom. Those are evident on yesterday and today's photos of him, taken by a Reuters photographer covering the trial. He has not been permitted to utter a peep to the press--the consequences of this are severe--normally beatings--on return to jail. This is not the US folks--it's a country where you're guilty until proven otherwise and they treat you accordingly. There have been efforts on Ted's behalf through the State Department and his New York congressional delegation. None of these folks has been able to make their point strongly enough before the Monegasque government but I understand as of this afternoon that State made some headway that will likely end up presenting previously excluded evidence that would help him. Ted's original confession was tortured out of him and of this there is ample testimony and admittance on the part of Monegasque police. As I've noted before, by their law, you cannot retract a confession. Ted, to the laughter of the media in the courtroom, was forced to read his "confession" as the trial opened. No one from the US/Britain could fathom that they don't let someone change the plea, especially given admittance as to how it was obtained.
  • Breaking News" [Ted] Maher Convicted = Ten Years

    12/02/2002 11:21:09 AM PST · 135 of 418
    Bkauthor to Rodney King
    The media present at trial are on hand to report and give impressions on what they see going on. I think we'll see some interesting pieces soon enough. The verdict was just rendered--give it time. Dominick Dunne has written about Ted Maher in several of his Vanity Fair pieces and talked about Maher on Larry King Live a number of times. It's not for Dominick or anyone else in the media to pass personal judgment on Maher, but none would tell you they are comfortable with the way the trial went. It was a staged circus and that usually doesn't end well for the defendent.
  • Breaking News" [Ted] Maher Convicted = Ten Years

    12/02/2002 11:17:02 AM PST · 126 of 418
    Bkauthor to wimpycat
    Please see my additional post. By Monegasque law, the accused is not permitted to recant a confession, even under the strangest of circumstances. Ted has not been permitted, as those in American courtrooms are, to be near the media. The jailers in Monaco have also refused to permit "48 Hours" and "Dateline NBC" to interview him from behind bars. He's just not given that kind of access, the kind we're so accustomed to in this country.
  • Breaking News" [Ted] Maher Convicted = Ten Years

    12/02/2002 11:14:13 AM PST · 122 of 418
    Bkauthor to Hillary's Lovely Legs
    Yep, I know that as well. By his own admission, he had a role that night, but I don't think he was alone.
  • Breaking News" [Ted] Maher Convicted = Ten Years

    12/02/2002 11:12:57 AM PST · 118 of 418
    Bkauthor to Fred Mertz
    I know, Fred, I noticed. It's a shame that none of the major papers or television outlets here have done any substantive pieces on Ted Maher's case. Dominick Dunne of Vanity Fair is about the only one.
  • Breaking News" [Ted] Maher Convicted = Ten Years

    12/02/2002 11:10:25 AM PST · 113 of 418
    Bkauthor to SamAdams76
    You're welcome. Ted Maher has gotten alot of play on Free Republic as a discussion topic, but little hardcore, big-time American media interest. The case is complex, including a coerced confession and many, many other ins and outs that I think many I've noticed who've posted here today on this thread are unfamiliar. I think more of his story came right back to you when you realized which Maher this was. But, truthfully, so many folks don't have any idea. Monegasque courts are unique and do not have high standing, as one poster suggested. There should be a statement by one of Edmund Safra's brothers tonight in which he addresses the suppressed evidence and coverups at trial, engineered by the Monegasque prosecutor and the court itself. Foreign press, including several well known personages in the American media, felt this trial was a farce from beginning to end. Ted's case is clouded by his unwillingness to back off his claim that he started the fire in the wastebasket; he wasn't able to retract the confession by Monegasque law, which states that the accused must stick with their first claim, even if it indicates guilt. Did he actually kill Safra and Torrente, the nurse? No. They were dead, according to the autopsy reports suppressed at trial, before suffering smoke inhalation. Did he start the fire in the wastebasket--he says he did, but that was not what led directly to the deaths. Even Safra's widow, Lily Safra, stood up in court and said she felt that others were responsible. You don't really need conspiracy theories when the facts speak for themselves.
  • Breaking News" [Ted] Maher Convicted = Ten Years

    12/02/2002 11:00:29 AM PST · 92 of 418
    Bkauthor to SamAdams76
    You're welcome. Ted Maher has gotten alot of play on Free Republic as a discussion topic, but little hardcore, big-time American media interest. The case is complex, including a coerced confession and many, many other ins and outs that I think many I've noticed who've posted here today on this thread are unfamiliar. I think more of his story came right back to you when you realized which Maher this was. But, truthfully, so many folks don't have any idea. Monegasque courts are unique and do not have high standing, as one poster suggested. There should be a statement by one of Edmund Safra's brothers tonight in which he addresses the suppressed evidence and coverups at trial, engineered by the Monegasque prosecutor and the court itself. Foreign press, including several well known personages in the American media, felt this trial was a farce from beginning to end. No one could believe Ted was convicted from what I'm hearing out of court press pool. They were taken aback by the overtness of the coverups at trial and were actually caught laughing at the ridiculousness of exclusions and testimony given in the course of the trial. There's much more, but suffice to say no one should be gloating in an American convicted in Monaco, or saying that he got what he deserved when they don't know the facts of the case. I've seen the autopsy reports on Safra and the female nurse killed in the same incident--they did not die by asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation. Both were dead before they breathed in any of that.
  • Breaking News" [Ted] Maher Convicted = Ten Years

    12/02/2002 10:15:28 AM PST · 9 of 418
    Bkauthor to SamAdams76
    It's Ted Maher, the American nurse, former Green Beret, accused (now convicted) of complicitcy in the death of billionaire banker Edmund Safra in 1999. He's been in Monaco awaiting trial for 3 years. The trial, which began before Thanksgiving, ended today with a sentence of 10 years in jail for the crime, which his supporters contend he did not do.
  • Boeing Super Hornet, New U.S. Fighter, Begins Patrols Over Iraq

    11/04/2002 4:21:40 PM PST · 35 of 36
    Bkauthor to BuddhaBoy; USNBandit
    Here's a bit more on the production of the Tomcat -D model for context. Production shifted to the F-14D (from A/C) in 1988, and Initial Operational Capability for the F-14D Aircraft was in FY92. The original program schedules envisioned the first -D delivery in March 1990 with an all-D fleet achieved by 1998. Plans called for 127 new-production F-14D and modification of 400 F-14A and F-14A+ to D configurations. The revised defense budget submitted in April 1989 proposed cancelling the new-construction portion of the program, but Congress authorized 18 new F-14Ds for 1990 with the stipulation that these would be the last new aircraft authorized--a total of 37. The first F-14D was delivered in February 1990. The funding plans for remanufacturing F-14As into F-14D(R)s in the 1990-1994 period included 6 in 1990, 12 in 1991, 24 in 1992, 48 in 1993, and 60 in 1994; the schedule was later scaled back to 18 in 1992, 20 in 1993, and 24 aircraft in 1994 and 1995. Further defense spending cutbacks eliminated almost all procurement funding for 1991 and provided no money at all in 1992-1993. The final blow fell in mid-February 1991 when the Navy cancelled an already-funded $780 million contract for 12 remanufactured F-14, effectively ending further production. This was the Cheney decision cited before.

    In late 1995 the F-14 Tomcat took on a new combat mission as part of Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia. Nicknammed "Bombcats", they delivered laser-guided bombs while other aircraft painted the targets with lasers. With the addition of the precision strike mission for F-14 aircrews, there was a shift in the emphasis of training; flight hours now have to be devoted to air-to-ground training as well as for air-to-air training.

    Precision Strike provides the F-14 the capability to deliver laser-guided bombs for air-to-ground missions. It consists of the LANTIRN pod with laser designator and internal navigation system, LANTIRN control panel and night vision capable displays. In LANTIRN equipped F-14As and F-14Bs, the TID has been replaced with the PTID. In 1994 the Navy planned to spend over $2.5 billion to add limited ground attack capability and other improvements to 210 F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft (53 F-14Ds, 81 F-14Bs, and 76 F-14As). The ground attack capabilities were required to partially compensate for the loss in combat capabilities during the period starting in 1997, when all of its A-6E Intruder attack aircraft were retired, to the turn of the century when the F/A-18E/F, the next generation strike fighter, was scheduled to arrive. The F-14 is undergoing two upgrades.


    The A/B initial upgrade, includes structural modifications to extend the F-14's fatigue life to 7,500 hours, improved defensive capabilities and cockpit displays, and incorporation of digital architecture and mission computers to speed data processing time and add software capacity.

    Block I adds a LANTIRN Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) pod with a built-in laser to designate targets and allow F-14s to independently drop laser guided bombs (LGBs), a modified cockpit for night attack operations (night vision devices and compatible lighting), and enhanced defensive countermeasures. The A/B upgrade had to be incorporated into 157 F-14 aircraft before the Block I upgrade could be added.

    Concerned about the Navy's capability to maintain carrier-based power projection without A-6Es and with only limited F-14 upgrades, the Joint Conference Committee on the fiscal year 1994 Defense Authorization Act directed the Navy to add an F-15E equivalent capability to its F-14D aircraft, including the capability to use modern air-to-ground stand-off weapons. But the Navy, in a report submitted on May 20, 1994 outlining its plans for the F-14, reiterated the intent to add only the A/B and Block I upgrades. The Navy estimated it would cost $1.8 billion to add F-15E-equivalent capability to 53 F-14Ds and another $9 billion to upgrade 198 F-14A/Bs. According to the Navy, an upgrade of that magnitude was not affordable.

    Upgraded F-14s generally have greater range than the F/A-18C and could possibly reach targets beyond the Hornet's range. But planned upgrades will not include an air-to-ground radar for precision ground mapping that would permit crews to locate, identify, and attack targets in adverse weather and poor visibility. In addition, no F-14s will be able to launch current or planned precision munitions or stand-off weapons, except for LGBs. The 157 F-14A/B models' AWG-9 radar is one of the most powerful US military aircraft radars for detecting multiple air targets approaching at long range, but it does not provide a ground mapping capability that permits crews to locate and attack targets in adverse weather and poor visibility or to precisely update the aircraft's location relative to targets during the approach, a capability that improves bombing accuracy. Only the 53 F-14Ds, with their improved APG-71 synthetic aperture ground mapping radar, will have this capability.

    Initially, the Block I upgrade did not add any weapon capability new to the F-14, except the ability to independently drop LGBs. While the Tomcat has the AMRAAM and HARM systems in its library, the Navy initially quashed the HARM program due to cost factors. Select test -D models were racked with AMRAAM-120s and HARMs, and test firings were done for both, but the expense to convert the F-14s in the fleet was then considered exhorbitant and the HARM program cancelled; the idea, however, to provide the capability to the Tomcat, wasn't. The Navy added the capability to launch the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) to F-14Ds when their computer software is updated (perhaps what BuddhaBoy is talking about).
    While Block I F-14s were not originally targeted for funding that allowed for upgrades to launch precision stand-off attack weapons such as the High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM), Harpoon antiship missile, Maverick anti-armor missile, Walleye guided bomb, and Stand-off Land Attack Missile (SLAM) under the original plan, opinions and circumstances shifted. The plan changed as the Super Hornet took longer than expected to cycle into the fleet. Northrop Grumman, progenitor of the F-14 Tomcat, recently updated its data on the aircraft (January 2002) to reflect the newest provisions for the F-14D--a far cry from what many defense watchers expected would happen to the fast-retiring Tomcat. Armament
    (6) AIM-54 Phoenix Air-to-ground stores:
    (6) AIM-7 Sparrow (provisions for):
    (4) AIM-9 Sidewinder AGM-88A HARM
    (1) M61-A1 Vulcan AIM-120A AMRAAM
    20 mm Cannon AIM-84A Harpoon


    The F-14 was--and is--the P-51 Mustang of its era and the mistake the Navy made was not improving upon this great aircraft by continuing to manufacture it, not just parts--the whole aircraft. Doing so would have given the fleet a constant turnover of old planes for new and improved ones--and a matchless aircraft to boot. The F-14D Tomcat, speaking of models to come off the Grumman line in the early to mid-1990s, has no peer and is one heck of a great airplane.






  • Status change for Scott Speicher

    10/15/2002 4:32:58 AM PDT · 49 of 50
    Bkauthor to Chemnitz
    Saddam also knows the mistakes we made trying to re-acquire Scott, effectively leaving him behind more than once. We neither looked for him when he went down, didn't ask for him during negotiation of the cease-fire (the Red Cross list was absent his name as well as several others) and, later, which I talk about at some length in the book, when in the clear custody of Bedouins, who we always knew from intelligence information played a role in Scott's situation, we left him with these people and they met their fate (all executed, every man, woman and child) on Saddam's order and Scott was hauled away. Saddam's intelligence people hunted Scott down when he realized after Clinton officials asked if they could come to the desert to look at the crash site that we weren't after the plane so much as the pilot (after all, more sophisticated hardware and so forth was aboard a couple of F-15Es in the Iraqi desert with more important gear to retrieve) and info about that pilot. Saddam's intel was also not sure one way or another whether Scott was killed during the war, so the skepticism later parlayed into wanting to know for sure. The curiosity sent Saddam's best henchmen into the desert to acquire Speicher. It worked. We had also canceled a covert to retrieve him at that time, the Clinton administration fearful of repeating a clash with Saddam's Spec Ops in the desert over one pilot--a repeat, in his mind, of Mogadishu, Somalia, just a 1.5 or so earlier. The administration was risk adverse, which was proven repeatedly in the way in which it failed to handle successive crises in the Middle East--all of which have now come to their cumulative effect.
  • Status change for Scott Speicher

    10/12/2002 3:15:35 PM PDT · 46 of 50
    Bkauthor to blau993
    The wife remarried July 4, 1992, to Albert "Buddy" Harris. She gave one interview to Ladies' Home Journal that appeared in the June 1991 issue of that magazine. She's not spoken publicly of Scott's case, preferring instead to use an attorney, Cindy Laquidara, to do the talking.
  • Status change for Scott Speicher

    10/12/2002 5:10:28 AM PDT · 43 of 50
    Bkauthor to Travis McGee
    My thanks to you and all Free Republic folks who've continued to comment on this very important story. I should clarify Scott's status changes for the Free Republic audience, to lend perspective to where we are today with his latest designation of MIA/Captured (GENEVA CONVENTION: POW).

    When Scott was first shot down on January 17, 1991, he was DUSTWIN (his duty station unknown)as he was down on the ground. A couple of days later, Scott was listed as MIA (missing in action) AND he REMAINED MIA until a Navy board met on May 20, 1991, to officially declare him KIA/BNR (killed in action/body not recovered) which became official on May 22, 1991. THIS IS THE FIRST SERIES OF STATUS CHANGES DUSTWIN-MIA-KIA/BNR.

    Scott Speicher's status remained KIA/BNR until a review conducted after the Red Cross mission to his crash site declared him retroactively MIA from May 22, 1991, to September 30, 1996. BUT, the next day, October 1, 1996, he was put BACK in KIA/BNR status. This series of changes was for the purpose of paying out a great deal of back pay to his remarried wife. THIS IS SECOND SERIES OF STATUS CHANGES KIA/BNR-MIA-KIA/BNR.

    Scott remained KIA/BNR until Senators Smith, Grams and Roberts pushed to have his status made, ONCE AGAIN, MIA. On January 11, 2001, Scott was officially made MIA. Once again, a large payout was made to the remarried wife. THIS IS THE THIRD SERIES OF STATUS CHANGES.

    Then, yesterday, October 11, 2002, Scott was finally granted MIA/CAPTURED STATUS, THE FOURTH SERIES OF STATUS CHANGES. Under the GENEVA CONVENTION, this is POW (prisoner of war) STATUS.

    The latest change is the most appropriate one. But it has taken nearly 12 years to get here and Scott has been deprived of his life. By keeping this discussion going and remaining keenly attentive to the case, collectively, and not forgetting Scott Speicher needs his country to stand up for him, and that includes all of us. We who have been trying to help Scott Speicher deeply appreciate the support of all of you who've posted here.
  • Status change for Scott Speicher

    10/11/2002 6:26:49 PM PDT · 39 of 50
    Bkauthor to Reborn
    Scott Speicher's status change has been investigated, probed and debated long before President George W. Bush took office. The status change was made after analyzing proven intelligence information and the content of the entire investigation that went into "No One Left Behind: The Lt. Comdr. Michael Scott Speicher Story." While it would be difficult to answer all inquiries as to his current status in this forum, suffice to say that there is reliable information that provides the basis for his change to MIA/Captured and that is the US Navy's classification for its own personnel. By Geneva Convention, MIA/Captured is Prisoner of War (POW). This was NOT a political decision on the part of the Bush administration or the US Navy. The decision was not announced until after the Congressional vote largely due to the Navy Secretary's sense that the public would perceive the timing as just that--political--which, again, it is not. Having been involved in the case for a very long time--8 years-plus--I can assure all who post here that the machinations of this pilot's case have been cycling toward what occurred today with the Navy's announcement. This is the right move to have made on Scott's behalf and for his family and friends. More importantly to the bigger picture, the Navy is sending a message to the uniformed personnel who daily fight for this country and go in harm's way that we must not break faith with our own. The President is sending a stronger one: To Saddam, we know you have chemical and biological weapons in hand, but you also have one of our own; We want him back and we want him back NOW! While it's easy enough to second guess the President or those who are trying to help Scott Speicher get his life back, this President could've, if he'd wanted, used Scott to justify going to war much sooner or more obviously--he DID NOT do that--and he wouldn't. That's not the kind of President we have, folks. If you leave a man behind, no matter what, he believes we should go back and account for that man. For those who don't know my post-name on this site, I'm the author of the book on Scott Speicher and there is so much more to this that the public will soon come to understand. More than that, though, remember that our own history is more telling than anything else. Jim "Floyd" Thompson was a prisoner in Vietnam for 10 days shy of 9 YEARS, 4 of those years held by locals who eventually turned him over to the North Vietnamese. Floyd died July 21, two weeks after Scott's book came out. But he'd have said the same thing--real life is much more "James Bondish" than fiction. Don't dismiss Saddam Hussein so quickly. He's exactly the monster the President has described--and worse.
  • Book asserts that Navy pilot downed in Gulf War is a prisoner in Iraq

    06/26/2002 12:10:09 PM PDT · 7 of 8
    Bkauthor to codebreaker; All
    See www.nooneleftbehind.com to read an excerpt from the book.
  • Hope Reawakens/Part 5 of the Scott Speicher Series

    01/03/2002 6:36:21 AM PST · 1 of 1
    Bkauthor
    You can read the series with graphics at www.pilotonline.com.
  • Returning to Iraq/Part 4 of the Speicher Series

    01/02/2002 1:55:44 PM PST · 4 of 4
    Bkauthor to Bkauthor
    Amy Yarsinske can be reached at ayarsinske@home.com
  • Returning to Iraq/Part 4 of the Speicher Series

    01/02/2002 1:55:34 PM PST · 3 of 4
    Bkauthor to Bkauthor
    Amy Yarsinske can be reached at ayarsinske@home.com
  • Returning to Iraq/Part 4 of the Speicher Series

    01/02/2002 12:11:26 PM PST · 1 of 4
    Bkauthor
    Here's Part 4.
  • A Test of Honor

    01/02/2002 11:51:37 AM PST · 23 of 24
    Bkauthor to Magnum44
    Thank you--I mean it. I am pleased with how Part 4 broke this morning.
  • A Test of Honor

    01/02/2002 4:18:03 AM PST · 20 of 24
    Bkauthor to WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
    Part 4 is on the www.pilotonline.com site--"Returning to Iraq." I haven't seen it loaded onto FreeRepublic yet. My system doesn't pick up the pictures like some of the others, so if anybody out there would be so kind as to load it on, I'd appreciate it.
  • A Test of Honor

    01/02/2002 4:16:45 AM PST · 19 of 24
    Bkauthor to WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
    Thank you. Over the years, I also developed a tremendous focus on what was truly important in life, not that I didn't know it already, but the circumstances surrounding Scott Speicher's case make you realize all the more what's precious. I also sensed he needed an advocate and someone who could turn what they knew into something that could get people to take notice. He never had this much exposure until now. I should say, too, that I'm a very modest person. I didn't write what I did for me but for him. While other folks may have a different reason, that's mine. It's a matter of honor and of commitment.
  • A Test of Honor

    01/01/2002 7:13:25 PM PST · 17 of 24
    Bkauthor to WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
    I'm rather new to this forum and wasn't sure of the impact, but, yes, I am the author of the pieces you're reading in the Virginian-Pilot as well as the book. I've spent 7 years of my life, the last of which has been the most intense, researching what has happened to Scott Speicher. I've stuck with his case this long, using all the skills I've learned as a researcher, investigative journalist and author of several military aviation books: Wings of Valor, Wings of Gold, , "Memories and Memorials," in U.S. Naval Aviation and others to dog his case. I had the background and personal history to do the right thing by Scott and have. It's not so much about getting it on paper as getting him back. You'll understand that as this story breaks out--and it is. It's very much the unimaginable story--true in every respect and fraught with painful twists of fate. I've been involved so heavily in how it turns out because I care very much that we do the right thing for him. I'm also anguished by the "what ifs" referred to in today's article. There are several not included in today's piece (too complex to explain in such an abbreviated forum). Also, I am not normally featured in the newspaper--I'm an author, not a newspaper columnist. I only make feature guest appearances as they would say in the newspaper world. So, I'm grateful that the Virginian-Pilot, with the nation's highest per capita military population, is reading these pieces. But they are only a bit--a small taste, really--of what's really going on with Scott's case. The rest will come soon.
  • A Test of Honor

    01/01/2002 7:00:50 PM PST · 16 of 24
    Bkauthor to Magnum44
    I appreciate your e-mail back. I was University of Virginia and intelligence. Not to belabor the point, but you should have the facts on Spike's flight. From the official incident report on Speicher's accident, his flight began at 1:35:39:5 on 17 January (ZULU). Weight off wheels was 1:36:18:44. The mishap was roughly two and a half hours into the flight. The Wetzel/Zaun incident occurred later that day, 17 January, at 2000Z, which would have felt like the next night to those of you on the first strikes, some of which went weight off wheels near midnight on 16 January.

    For several years--and to this day--I am a frequent visitor to the U.S. Naval Academy.

  • A Test of Honor

    01/01/2002 11:42:29 AM PST · 11 of 24
    Bkauthor to WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
    Thank you for the reply. While I can't answer that question, I will say this--and I'd like for everyone to remember that it's the premise-turned-doctrine of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, and in Scott Speicher's case, the duty of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

    "The most basic principle of personal honor in America's armed forces is never willingly to leave a fellow serviceman behind. The black granite wall on the Mall in Washington is filled with the names of those who died in the effort to save their comrades in arms. That bond of loyalty and obligation which spurred so many soldiers to sacrifice themselves is mirrored by the obligation owed to every soldier by our nation, in whose name those sacrifices were made.

    "Amidst the uncertainties of war, every soldier is entitled to one certainty--that he will not be forgotten. As former POW Eugene "Red" McDaniel (a U.S. Navy pilot, by the way) put it, as an American asked to serve: 'I was prepared to fight, to be wounded, to be captured, and even prepared to die, but I was not prepared to be abandoned.'"

    The Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs was created to ensure that our nation meets its obligation to the missing, now including sizeable help from mandates passed to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, whose members are working on Scott Speicher's behalf. And we need to pay close attention to what goes on in Iraq and better understand the evil that resides there...

  • A Test of Honor

    01/01/2002 11:30:58 AM PST · 10 of 24
    Bkauthor to Magnum44
    Having the facts from Wetzel himself--and the Gulf War POWs official web site, maintained by Larry Slade, plus the documentation and deck logs off the key ships in the Gulf that night, it's pretty clear when they took off and when they were lost. That's why I posted the Wetzel/Zaun details off the 5th Allied POW web site.
  • A Test of Honor

    01/01/2002 9:26:07 AM PST · 8 of 24
    Bkauthor to Magnum44
    Not at all. And the point is just the opposite of what you are thinking. In the end, it's about doing the right thing by Scott Speicher--and thereby any of our military who put their lives on the line. But we share an obligation as part of that commitment by our uniformed personnel to do everything possible to account for them, too. There are those now in power and with the ability to help Scott who will. That was not always the case. This "test of honor" or honor itself is something ingrained in all Academy midshipmen--and since I, too, wore my naval officer's uniform with pride, this is a matter of honor and patriotism for me as well.

    As for Wetzel/Zaun:

    Navy Lieutenants Robert Wetzel and Jeffrey Zaun launched from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS SARATOGA (CV-60) in the Red Sea on the night of 17 January 91. LT Wetzel was piloting an A-6E Intruder carrying 10 Rockeye bombs. LT Jeffrey Zaun was his Bombardier/Navigator (B/N). They were both assigned to Attack Squadron 35 (VA-35), the Black Panthers.

    After receiving fuel from a USAF KC-135 tanker located over Saudi Arabia, they proceeded toward H-3 airfield located in southwest Iraq. H-3 airfield was heavily defended by several surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries and numerous anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) batteries. Their target at the airfield was a cluster of fuel storage tanks. The strike package consisted of four A-6E Intruders each flying separate low level routes to arrive at their individual targets at H-3 airfield within a minute of each other. Wetzel and Zaun were "Dash 2" of the flight of four Intruders.

    As they approached the target airfield, both aircrew observed parachute flares being deployed by the Iraqis, turning the night sky into daylight. Additionally, the illumination from the tremendous amount of AAA and SAMs launches aided the Iraqis in visually targeting the incoming aircraft. After evading numerous AAA batteries and one SAM, the aircrew were targeted by an SA-6. LT Wetzel attempted to evade the missile but it detonated behind the aircraft’s right wing.

    Due to the powerful explosion, the aircraft caught fire and quickly lost power to both engines. Both aircrew ejected from their stricken Intruder. Due to the low altitude and extremely high speed of the aircraft, LT Wetzel broke both his arms, his collar bone, and his back in the ejection. LT Zaun was also injured in the ejection. Both aircrew were captured shortly thereafter by the Iraqis, and transported to Baghdad where they were imprisoned for the rest of the war. They were both repatriated on 4 March 91.

  • A Test of Honor

    01/01/2002 8:56:05 AM PST · 5 of 24
    Bkauthor to Bkauthor
    I reversed the kids' ages--Michael was the 18 month old; Meghan, 3. I was typing too fast.
  • A Test of Honor

    01/01/2002 8:48:12 AM PST · 4 of 24
    Bkauthor to Magnum44
    Within the same day, CVW-17 lost an A-6 (Wetzel/Zaun), also down in western Iraq and included in stats for the first 1,000 sorties. Also, Spike was not a "death" during the war--he was listed MIA. He was not considered KIA/BNR until May 22, 1991. Meghan was 18 months; Michael, his namesake, 3 years old.

    Nothing in the article was sensationalized. It was determined to be air wing policy to turn off the ELT, against the advice of SPEAR--the Navy's premier operational intelligence unit. The radios VFA-81 carried on the first strike were new; VFA-83 didn't carry that model radio on the same strike.

    Spike's case is unique in the history of the U.S. military in that he is the first and only person to be officially listed as MIA from any war. The behind the scenes investigation into his whereabouts is one of most significant as well. There is much that the fog of war taught us from January 17, 1991, and it continues to unfold around this particular case.

  • A Test of Honor

    01/01/2002 7:35:28 AM PST · 1 of 24
    Bkauthor
    Here is Part 3 in the 6-part series. There is much more to come on this story, both in the pages of the Virginian-Pilot and in a book that's to be published this year by Penguin Putnam--where all the details and Scott's whereabouts are explained.