Officials Identify Gulf War Pilot’s Remains
American Forces Press Service | ORIGINAL DISPATCH
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2009 – Remains found last
month in Iraq’s Anbar province are those of Navy Capt. Michael
Scott Speicher, who was shot down flying a combat mission in an F/A-18
Hornet on Jan. 17, 1991, and whose fate until now had been uncertain,
Defense Department officials reported today.
Military officials have identified remains found in Iraq’s
Anbar province as those of Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, who
was shot down while flying an F/A-18 Hornet combat mission on Jan.
17, 1991. U.S. Navy photo
Military officials have identified remains found in Iraq’s Anbar
province as those of Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, who was shot
down while flying an F/A-18 Hornet combat mission on Jan. 17, 1991.
U.S. Navy photo
Acting on information provided by Iraqi civilians, Marines stationed
in Anbar province went to a desert location believed to be the crash
site of Speicher’s jet, and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
positively identified remains recovered there Speicher’s.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain
Speicher's family for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country,"
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said. "I am also extremely grateful to
all those who have worked so tirelessly over the last 18 years to bring
Captain Speicher home."
The Navy’s top uniformed officer also praised the effort to
determine Speicher’s fate and expressed gratitude for the fallen
aviator’s sacrifice. “Our Navy will never give up looking
for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search
may be,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations. “We
owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Captain Speicher and his family
for the sacrifice they have made for our nation and the example of strength
they have set for all of us.”
In early July, an Iraqi civilian told Marines he knew twotwo people
who recalled an American jet crashing and the remains of the pilot being
buried. One of those people said he was present when Bedouins found
Speicher dead and buried his remains. The Iraqis led Marines to the
site, and the Marines searched the area. Remains were recovered over
several days during the past week and were flown to Dover Air Force
Base, Del., for scientific identification by the Armed Forces Institute
of Pathology’s Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.
The recovered remains include bones and skeletal fragments. Positive
identification was made by comparing Speicher’s dental records
with the jawbone recovered at the site. The teeth are a match, both
visually and radiographically, officials said.
While dental records have confirmed the remains to be Speicher’s,
officials said, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology DNA Lab in Rockville,
Md., is running DNA tests on the remains and comparing them to DNA reference
samples previously provided by his family. Results are expected tomorrow.
(From a Defense Department news release.)
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
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