LtCdr Speicher was the first casualty of Operation Desert Storm. His F-18 Strike Fighter aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missle during the first manned air strike near an area known as Wadi Thumayal. Other intelligence gathering indicated his jet was shot down by a MiG-25 flown by Lt. Zuhair Dawood, 84th squadron of the IQAF. LtCdr. Speicher was declared "Killed-In-Action/Body-Not-Recovered" in May 1991. His status was changed in 2001 to MIA, and then to Missing/Captured in 2002 based on reported sighting in Iraq. Those sightings have since been discredited.
Acting on information provided by an Iraqi citizen in early July, US Marines stationed in Al Anbar Province went to a location in the desert which was believed to be the crash site of Captain Speicher's jet. The Iraqi citizen stated he knew of two Iraqi citizens who recalled an American jet impacting the desert and the remains of the pilot being buried in the desert. One of these Iraqi citizens stated that they were present when Captain Speicher was found dead at the crash site by Bedouins and his remains buried. The Iraqi citizens led US Marines to the site and they searched the area. Remains were recovered over several days during the past week and flown to Dover Air Force Base for scientific identification by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner. Positive identification was made by comparing Captain Speicher's dental records with the jawbone recovered at the site. The teeth are a match, both visually and radiographically.
He apparently was not captured, died at the crash site, and was buried by Bedouins. May God rest his soul and heal his family.
Labels: US Navy