News is in CHRONOLOGICAL order - Updates at the bottom
SPEICHER, MICHAEL SCOTT
Name: Michael Scott Speicher
Rank at Loss/Branch: Lt.Cdr./US Navy
Rank in 2002: Commander
Unit: USS SARATOGA
Age at Loss: 33,
Born: March 1958
Age in 2002: 44
Home City of Record: Jacksonville FL
Date of Loss: 17 January 1991
Country of Loss: Unknown
Original Status: Missing in Action
Status Changed to KIA/BNR May 1991
Status changed BACK to MIA 01/10/01
The U.S. Navy has changed the status of Gulf War pilot Scott Speicher from missing in action to missing-captured 10/11/2002
Lt. Cmdr. Micahel S. Speicher: Expendable
There is no chance Lt. Cmdr. Michael S. Speicher survived, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney assured the American people within hours of the Navy pilot's failure to return to the aircraft carrier Saratoga on the night of Jan. 16, 1991. He was last heard from over Iraqi flying northeast toward Baghdad.
Speicher, 33, of Jacksonville, Fla, was the first U. S. pilot shot down in the Gulf War. He left a wife, a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-year old son.
On Jan. 18, 1991, less than 48-hours after Speicher became missing, the Pentagon said his single-seat FA-18 Hornet fighter bomber was shot down by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile. The plane "exploded to bits" in the sky after being hit.
"Evidently, pieces of the plane were strewn all over the Iraqi landscape and Speicher's wing mates saw it happen," the official said.
So, if Speicher and his aircraft "exploded to bits" all over the Iraqi sky in 1991, why, in December 1995, did a Pentagon team go to Iraq On a secret mission to look at the wreckage of Speicher's fighter end to search for his remains?
The search mission, which was led by the International Committee of the Red Cross and undertaken with the approval of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, found the wreckage virtually intact and upside down.
Pentagon spokesman Bev Baker said the U.S. team, which conducted a week long excavation and search of the site, found "no human remains" in the wreckage or around the crash site.
Evidence is now surfacing indicating that Speicher parachuted from his plane, landed safely, was alive on the ground and later captured. These revelations have the Pentagon scrambling for cover. Naval intelligence is now saying they were never sure why Speicher's plane disintegrated in midair. They now conclude he either had a freak midair collision with an Iraqi MIG-25 or that the enemy plane shot him out of the sky.
Pentagon officials told the press in December that a parry of hunters discovered the crash site of Speicher's Navy FA-18 two years ago and that as a result, a U.S. spy satellite photographed the crash site. Intelligence officials conveyed the images to the POW/MIA office at the Defense Department. Secretary of State Warren Christopher contacted the Red Cross in Baghdad and requested its assistance.
"Not exactly," a Capitol Hill source familiar with the case told the U.S. Veteran Dispatch.
"A couple of years ago, Naval Intelligence picked up a story that Speicher had survived the shoot down and was captured by the Iraqis," the source explained.
"As a result, Pentagon intelligence went back and looked at old satellite imagery of the Speicher crash site which was in a wasteland far from civilization. Beside Speicher's ejection seat located on the ground several miles away from the wreckage of the aircraft' the analysts found the image of a two-letter Escape and Evade (E and E) symbol used by downed pilots to indicate they are alive and want to be rescued.
"They also checked the debriefs of other pilots who had been shot down and released from Iraq. They may have even reinterviewed some of the former prisoners. One pilot said he was told by his Iraqi captors that 'the guy in the FA-18 shot down on the first day is on the run and we're going toe catch him," the source said.
When asked if it was true that the Pentagon had satellite imagery of Speicher's ejection seat and E and E code, Baker said "The Pentagon does not discuss intelligence reports."
She said it was still the position of the Department of Defense that Speicher
was killed in action, body not returned, and that pilot
The U.S. government's rush to declare Speicher dead is a glaring example of the Pentagon's secret policy of writing off military personnel who become captured or missing during a conflict as "expendable."
As servicemen and women start falling into the hands of an enemy, the Pentagon simply declares them missing in action and denies all knowledge of Americans being captured. If some of the missing are resumed alive at the end of hostilities, it is a plus for the Pentagon. For those who are not returned, it is easier for the Pentagon to close the book by declaring them killed in action, body not returned.
Even after Cable News Network (CNN) reported Iraq's minister of information saying that American pilots had been captured and that reporters would be allowed to meet with them, the Pentagon denied knowledge of any Americans being captured.
"We know of no American prisoners of war," Lt. Gen. Thomas Kelly, operations director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said when asked by reporters if Iraq were holding any U.S. prisoners of war.
Only after video interviews of allied POWs were broadcast on Iraqi television and later in the United States did the Pentagon officially declare that the Iraqis were holding U.S. prisoners.
It was nearly two weeks after 20-year-old Army Spec. Melissa Rathbun-Nealy and 23 year-old Amy Spec. David Lockett disappeared before the Pentagon officially declared them missing in action.
The Pentagon had held the two absent without leave (AWOL) despite eyewitness accounts from American servicemen who saw them being captured and reports that a captured Iraqi soldier had said he helped transport two Americans, a white female and a black male (Nealy is white and Lockett is black.) to Basra, a key Iraqi command center north of Kuwait.
Nealy's father, Leo Rathbun, took matters into his own hands and appealed directly to Saddam Hussein asking him to acknowledge his daughter as a prisoner of war.
Rathbun told The Grand Rapids Press that he did not want his daughter forgotten if a peace plan calling for the release of all prisoners were to be signed.
"The Army has not recognized Melissa as a POW and if the war ends, I believe the Bush administration would ignore the problem of MlAs and POWs just as previous administrations ignored the MIAs and POWs still thought to be held in Vietnam," Rathbun said in the interview.
Neither the U.S. or Iraqi governments officially acknowledged that Nealy and Lockett were prisoners of war until they were released in February 1991.
Is Speicher alive? There certainly is evidence that he was alive after being shot down and in the absence of credible evidence proving him dead, all Americans must demand his immediate release.
Dozens more like Speicher are missing as a result of the war with Iraq and only the Pentagon knows exactly how many.
The Pentagon has always lied to the American people about U.S. servicemen known to be captives of an enemy. The Iying is as deadly for the captured and missing as an enemy bullet and it is time for it to stop. We must demand that our government be absolutely honest and accurate in accounting for our missing servicemen.
Otherwise, those brave men and women now serving our country in Bosnia will also be treated as expendable, abandoned to the enemy and allowed to disappear.
That is exactly what happened to Lt. Cmd. Speicher and many unfortunate U.S. servicemen captured in Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam and in the Gulf.
The Honorable Richard Danzig
Dear Secretary Danzig:
We are writing to request
that you use your authority under Title 37, USCS, Section 555 (a) and 556 (d) to
Lt. Cmdr. Speicher was the first American to be listed as missing in action when his F-18 was lost over Iraq during a combat strike mission in the first hours of the Gulf War in January, 1991. When the war ended, the Iraqi Government returned a "soft tissue fragment and hair bearing skin" which allegedly related to Lt. Cmdr. Speicher. However, subsequent DNA tests determined the remains were not those of Lt. Cmdr. Speicher.
The Navy convened a Status Review Board on May 20, 1991 to consider the state of evidence at that time related to Lt. Cmdr. Speicher's loss. On May 22, 1991, the late Admiral Mike Boorda, then Chief of Naval Personnel, approved and signed out the board-recommended "finding of death" which resulted in Lt. Cmdr. Speicher's status being changed from missing in action to killed in action.
In December, 1993, a
Qatari official and his hunting party came upon Lt. Cmdr. Speicher's aircraft
wreckage in Iraq. He
In February, 1998, a classified follow-up briefing on this case was provided to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO). In September, 1998, pursuant to our earlier inquiries on this matter, the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense provided to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence a classified chronology outlining Intelligence Community activities bearing on the issues raised as a result of Lt. Cmdr. Speicher's loss. The briefing materials and the chronology referenced above are available for your review. We strongly believe that the information contained therein supports the request we are making of you with this letter.
During the last three years, we understand that the Department of Defense has refused to authorize any further approaches to the Iraqi Government concerning the fate of Lt. Cmdr. Speicher "because of the state of U.S.-Iraqi relations." Nonetheless, our offices were informed during a briefing we received on March 12, 1999 that the official publicly-stated position of the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) with respect to whether the available evidence indicates Lt. Cmdr. Speicher perished in his aircraft incident, is "we don't know." As you know, the DPMO is charged with developing, implementing, and overseeing policy on unaccounted for U.S. personnel for the Department of Defense.
In view of the official position of the Department of Defense and the classified evidence now available to the Department of the Navy, we believe that the justification for the finding of death determination in May, 1991, is no longer valid and conclusive. We, therefore, urge you to use your statutory authority to change the status of Lt. Cmdr. Speicher back to "missing in action" -- a status that more accurately reflects the available evidence and provides a presumptive "benefit of the doubt" to Lt. Cmdr. Speicher. We owe nothing less to Lt. Cmdr. Speicher and his family.
We look forward to your response, and thank you for your personal attention to this very important matter that deeply concerns us.
May 02, 2000
CBS News | The First Casualty
CBS NEWS BROADCASTS
A Downed Gulf War Flier
(CBS) On January 17, 1991, the first night of the Gulf War, Lieutenant Commander Michael Scott Speicher was shot down over Iraq. He became the conflict's first American casualty.
But there's one problem: There is no evidence that he is dead. Bob Simon
Navy Changes Status of Gulf War Pilot
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a highly unusual move, the Navy has changed the status of Lt. Cmdr. Michael Speicher, shot down in an F-18 fighter on the opening night of the 1991 Gulf War, from killed in action to missing, officials said Wednesday.
Navy Secretary Richard Danzig notified the Speicher family of the decision
Wednesday, according to officials in the office of
US Changes Pilot Status to 'Missing' After Gulf War
Updated 7:58 AM ET January 11, 2001
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In an unusual step, the Navy has decided to change the
status of a U.S. fighter pilot shot down
Navy Secretary Richard Danzig on Wednesday notified relatives of Lt. Cmdr.
Michael Scott Speicher, who had been listed as
Pilot's MIA status based on sources, official says Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The Navy's decision to change the status of Gulf War pilot Lt. Cmdr. Michael S. Speicher from killed in action to missing in action was based on intelligence information from several different sources, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.
Kenneth Bacon, spokesman for Defense Secretary William Cohen, said some of the information was received after the Navy reaffirmed in 1996 its previous determination that Speicher had been killed on an F- 18 combat mission over Iraq on Jan. 17, 1991......
New Leads Emerge On Missing Flier
Gulf War: U.S. senator says pilot
downed in 1991 may have survived and that
By Paul Richter, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times; February 9, 2001
WASHINGTON--Recent publicity about the first
U.S. casualty of the 1991 Persian Gulf War has loosed an outpouring
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a member of the
Senate Intelligence Committee, said the leads have come to light since last
Please pass on the following information about the POW/MIA issue. I
have recently received a letter about a pilot, Lt Cmdr Michael Speicher, who was
shot down in the Gulf War and is believed to be captured and held prisoner
8715 First Ave., Apt 827 C
To All concerned on America's POW:
It was pointed out that the Senate Armed Services Committee and Personnel subcommittee have not been getting any support, positive feedback, or pressure on the Lt. Cmdr. Michael Speicher case from the veteran's organizations. There is a feeling among some Senator's that there is little interest being shown in the Speicher case or the POW issue. Some Senators see the Speicher case as the best possibility of a live POW, but there is no veteran support. Furthering the Speicher case is a goal itself, but doing so will also bring needed support for Vietnam era cases.
Without continued pressure on the Senate by the Legion and other veteran's groups nothing will be done. They need to hear Veteran's demands to do more, to account on what is being done for the return of Lt. Cmdr. Michael Speicher. Any help the Legion can bring to this important matter will help assure positive action by the committee for his safe return and not another remains case.
For Immediate Release:
Two Men, Two Wars, Same Fate ~ Missing/Captured in Iraq
Jacksonville, Florida - January 17, 2005 - Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher will host a prayer/candle vigil at Lake Shore United Methodist Church at 7:30 pm. The plight of two men, who have never met will bring together their friends and family members to discuss the one thing they have in common. The two men are United States Navy Pilot, Captain Michael Scott Speicher and Army Specialist Keith "Matt" Maupin. The common denominator between these two men is their status of Missing in Action/Captured in Iraq and their supporter's efforts to keep that status unchanged until they are found. The idea is to have this message heard across the nation while at the same time honoring Captain Speicher and the anniversary of his capture. January 17, 2005, marks the fourteenth year since Speicher originally went missing in Iraq. Matt Maupin has been missing now for nine months. Keith and Carolyn Maupin will be speaking at the church to honor their son, Matt Maupin's senior counterpart, Scott Speicher. By showing the two missing service members mirrored side by side, it is hoped by the Maupin family that this will help their son's case avoid the many missteps, which have been made in the Speicher case. In contrast, Maupin's more recent capture will help to shine new light on the Speicher case, bringing public awareness to a hero that has yet to be returned home after fourteen years. Other guest speakers will participate.
Speakers will include: Bob Gandt, renowned author of military fiction including, Bogeys and Bandits, and Shadows of War, which is loosely based on Scott Speicher. Mr. Gandt also worked as writer and technical consultant for the popular TV series Pensacola:Wings of Gold. Longtime Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher member and current Delta Airlines pilot, Tim Goings. Mr. Goings piloted Apache Helicopters in the First Gulf War. POW advocate Ed Burge will speak as well as bring for viewing a special limited edition motorcycle dedicated to POW/MIA's including Captain Speicher. Former POW from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Young, Jr and many of Speicher's close friends.
Then LCDR Speicher was pronounced dead by Secretary of State Richard Cheney, the day after his plane was lost, January 18, 1991, with no search and rescue mission ever launched. On January 11, 2001, in light of new evidence that indicated Speicher safely ejected and with remains of his plane and canopy in tact, President Bill Clinton and the United States Navy, took the unprecedented action of changing now Captain Speicher from KIA to MIA. On October 11, 2002 the United States Navy changed Speicher's status once again to Missing/Captured, stating, " There is no evidence that Captain Speicher is dead." Since the current war in Iraq began, the initials MSS have been found all over parts of Iraq, including in a cell in Hakmiyah Prison and a carport beam at another detention center. Scott Speicher's name was also found written in an Iraqi prison log book, dated just before the war began.
On April 9, 2004, PFC Matt Maupin's convoy is attacked west of Baghdad. April 13, 2004, Maupin is listed as missing. A videotape of Maupin surrounded by five hooded men airs on Al - Jazeera TV, April 16, 2004, confirming that Maupin has indeed been captured. May 1, 2004, the Army promotes Maupin to Specialist. One month later in June of 2004, another videotape surfaces of a man Al - Jazeera claims as Maupin. The man in the video is shown being shot twice in the head and back. July 1, 2004, Brig. Gen. Michael W. Beasley, states that, " There is no bad information, no negative information with regard to Specialist Maupin that is known now. We are continuing full effort to locate him and return him to his family." Monday, August 9, 2004, military officials announced that analysis of the video in question is now complete. Major Mark Magalski, casualty assistant officer for the Maupin family, is quoted as saying, " There's nothing in the video that lends you to think it was Matt Maupin."
In March of 2002, Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher, Inc. was founded by Speicher's classmates of Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Florida. This group's mission is to raise awareness and finally bring Scott Speicher home. Vice President of the organization and Speicher friend Nels Jensen, says, " One reason I felt we were brought together is to serve as a beacon of light for our fallen warriors. It's necessary to point out the errors in judgements or mistakes made from 14 years ago concerning Scott, but more importantly our calling may be to ensure these mistakes never happen again as in the case of Matt Maupin." Carolyn and Keith Maupin have accepted an invitation to not only speak at this vigil but to join together with Speicher members in the fight for their son and Scott Speicher.
# # #
For more information and/or to schedule an interview with one of the speakers, please contact Georgia Davis, member of Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher, at 904-292-4197 or by email at Georgiand@aol.com.
Secretary of the Navy announces decision to review status of
Story Number: NNS050405-13
Release Date: 4/5/2005 2:49:00 PM
From Chief of Navy Information
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Upon review of an intelligence community report regarding
the case of Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, Secretary of the Navy Gordon England
directed the Chief of Naval Personnel to convene a board to review the
classification of Speicher’s status as Missing/Captured.
Panel to review war pilot's status
The Washington Times: Nation/Politics -
April 05, 2005
By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Navy Secretary Gordon England has ordered a special panel to review the status of Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, the pilot declared
killed in combat in 1991 but later classified as captured during the Persian Gulf War.
Not Forgotten, Ever: U.S. Navy Pilot Still Unaccounted For After 14 Years In Iraq
Friends of Captain Michael "Scott" Speicher, a Navy pilot who was captured after being shot down in the first Gulf war, have created a new website as a show of renewed faith and spirit in the search for this still-unaccounted for American hero. Despite recent negative news releases in the media regarding Captain Speicher's current Missing In Action/Captured status, friends of the missing hero are showing that not only have they not lost hope for his homecoming, but are instead displaying the tenaciousness that has become their trademark. The site, created by the Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher group, offers a glimpse at Captain Speicher as a "real" person by using pictures and relevant news articles as well as a song written for the Navy pilot, and a public forum where interested parties can communicate their thoughts on Speicher's situation
Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) June 21, 2005 -- Do you think the world has given up hope for missing/captured Navy pilot, Captain Michael Scott Speicher? If so, think again. Despite all the negative reports coming out of the media recently, Scott's friends and supporters—in a spirit of renewed strength—have launched a brand new website to educate others about this true American hero, missing since the first Gulf war. You can find the new site athttp://www.freescottspeicher.org.
Some of what makes this new website unique is its capacity to offer a comprehensive biography of Scott Speicher the friend, the family man, the hero—and the prisoner of war. With links to a vast array of available transcripts, documents and news items, the site also offers never-before-seen photos, a forum that allows opinions and ideas to be shared, and even a song that was written for Scott by members of Friends and can be downloaded in MP3 format.
The search is still on for Captain Speicher, but many citizens of the U.S. aren't even aware of who he is. That is the primary reason for launching the new website—to allow Michael "Scott" Speicher to enter the homes of the American public as a real, living, breathing person. Someone who smiles, laughs, loves, and has friends—friends who have made it their life's mission to see that he comes home to a waiting nation who knows just who he is, assuring that his sacrifices will never be forgotten.
Scott Speicher's jet was launched off the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga in the Red Sea on the first night of Operation Desert Storm—January 17, 1991. When his squadronmates returned to the ship after completing their missions, Speicher was not with them. Hoping against hope that he'd diverted to Riyadh Saudi Arabia—possibly for refueling—his friends awaited news that would confirm their worried hope. Butt when word came, it wasn't the news they'd hoped for. Instead, they heard then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney say words that still bring a feeling of sick dread to those closest to Speicher. Cheney dispassionately spoke at that news conference about America's first official casualty of the war, and after mentioning a downed Navy pilot, was asked to give that airman's status. "A death, "' he replied bluntly. The world—including the U.S. Navy—assumed Cheney knew this to be a fact. That day, Michael Scott Speicher was left behind without so much as a cursory search to determine the truth of his fate.
But then questions arose when his plane was found a couple years later—nearly intact on that central-western Iraqi desert floor. It became evident that he'd ejected well before his F/A-18c Hornet had hit the ground. The U.S. later excavated the site, but Speicher's remains were not found. So where was Speicher? In the years since, witnesses who have seen him in captivity have come forth on his behalf. Speicher's initials, M.S.S., have been found written on walls and beams in several different locations in Iraq. In each case, they were written in the same exact handwriting, in the same exact format. But Speicher himself was nowhere around.
Now, fourteen years later, the questions remain. Where is Scott Speicher? When will he be rescued and brought home? Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher seeks to find answers to those questions, and to remind the American public of one of their own, still awaiting a rescue that has never come.
Scott's friend and one of the founding members of the group, Nels Jensen, has been quoted as saying, "The most important thing about the new website is that it lets the world know that Scott Speicher is a real person; an American hero. He's not just a statistic. We must not forget his sacrifice to this great nation he's still fighting for." We have not forgotten Scott Speicher. We will not forget. Ever.
For more information please contact Angela Santana, Friends Working To Free Scott Speicher Member and Webmaster at
541-990-1150 or by email at e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information please see:http://freescottspeicher.org
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