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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/8/2005 8:55:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2005 8:57:29 AM EDT by The_Macallan]

Navy: Iraqis Know MIA Pilot's Whereabouts

A Navy pilot shot down over Iraq in January 1991 may have been captured by Iraqi forces, and members of the former Iraqi government "know the whereabouts" of the officer, the Navy has concluded.

A Navy board of inquiry concluded that there is no credible evidence that Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher is dead, and it reaffirmed his official status as "missing/captured," according to the board's final report.

The board also recommended that the Pentagon work with the State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the Iraqi government to "increase the level of attention and effort inside Iraq" to resolve the question of Speicher's fate.

Navy Secretary Gordon England approved the report on Wednesday, according to Lt. Erin Bailey, a Navy spokeswoman.

The Iraqi government under President Saddam Hussein maintained from the start that Speicher perished at the site where his F/A-18 fighter jet crashed in the desert. No evidence to contradict that has surfaced since the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, but the new Navy inquiry concluded there was no credible evidence of his death, either.

"In view of the above findings, the board concludes as to the current whereabouts and status of the person that the person missing/captured," the report said. A copy of the report was provided to The Associated Press.

After the fall of Baghdad, a team of U.S. investigators searched for evidence of Speicher's fate, but reported finding nothing conclusive.

The board of inquiry noted that years after the shootdown, which happened on the opening night of the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqi government turned over a flight suit and other items associated with Speicher's aircraft.

That fact "leads us to conclude that elements of the former Iraqi regime know the whereabouts of Captain Speicher," the report said.

The board of inquiry also said that a March 2005 U.S. intelligence report on the Speicher case contained unanswered questions, and it recommended that a POW/MIA analytical cell continue its efforts to resolve those questions. It did not provide details on this, noting that the March report is classified secret.

The Navy has changed its position on Speicher's status over the years. Hours after his plane went down, the Pentagon declared him killed in action. Ten years later, the Navy changed his status to MIA, citing an absence of evidence that he had died. In October 2002, the Navy switched his status to "missing-captured," although it has never said what evidence it had that he was in captivity.

A Pentagon team assigned to search for evidence of Speicher after the fall of Baghdad completed its efforts in May 2004. In congressional testimony shortly afterward, Marine Brig. Gen. Joseph J. McMenamin, who led the search team, said all in-country leads regarding the pilot's fate had been exhausted.

McMenamin also said, however, that some leads could not be fully pursued because of the security threat from the Iraq insurgency. Another problem, he said, was that nomadic Bedouin tribesmen who may have information of value are difficult to find. And some who might have information about Speicher may be intimidated by the threat of retribution by members of the former Saddam regime who are still at large.

Link Posted: 9/8/2005 8:59:13 AM EDT
This is a strange situation all the way around. Hopefully he is found safe and sound, but after all this time is there really much chance of that? MJD
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 8:59:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2005 8:59:55 AM EDT by Spade]
Glad they haven't forgotten about this guy.

When I get into arguments about the war with people who don't buy WMD/Terrorism/Crazy Evil Dictator arguments, I pull out Capt. Speicher's name. You're not supposed to leave people behind. We apparently did. Going back to get him, dead or alive, is reason enough for me.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 10:37:47 AM EDT
fox reporting that Iraqi leadership does know where he is.... wierd. G-d bless him whereever he is.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 10:45:02 AM EDT
I hope to god he's alive and can be found, but if so, where is he? Don't we control the whole county, and its jails?
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 10:49:17 AM EDT
You'd think if he was alive that some coward would have stepped forward with info to trade for his security. There's been a lot of Sadam's men taken alive hasn't there?

Regardless he difinately deserves to be honored and remembered. My God Bless him. Patty
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 10:51:11 AM EDT
If true, then these "members" of the iraqi govt. should be "encouraged" to give up the information.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 10:56:28 AM EDT
He has been promoted? Captain? He was not a Marine, correct?

I thought they held or froze the rank of MIA's.

Field Grade...whoa.

Link Posted: 9/8/2005 10:58:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2005 10:59:09 AM EDT by NewbHunter]
I just don't see how the guy could still be alive after all these years, but I guess you never know. It sure would be a miracle if they did find him alive though. I bet this is just heartbreak for the family, not to have any closure and always wonder at the back of their mind if their husband/father/son is still out there somehwere.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 11:01:18 AM EDT
Gives me the shivers to think what that poor SOB endured or is enduring.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 11:05:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Rodent:
Gives me the shivers to think what that poor SOB endured or is enduring.

+1 May God protect him, wherever he is.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 11:08:03 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 11:12:13 AM EDT
While I am happy about the latest news concerning his whereabouts/status, I am quite angry that we left him there back in 1991.

So much for "leaving no American behind."
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 11:14:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ZitiForBreakfast:
He has been promoted? Captain? He was not a Marine, correct?

I thought they held or froze the rank of MIA's.

Field Grade...whoa.

I thought they were promoted automatically in keeping with time in grade while in captivity?

Link Posted: 9/8/2005 11:23:06 AM EDT
All I can says is....................................

Prayers sent for this man. I have heard his story often and wondered his fate and if there is any remote possibility that he could still be alive and held somewhere in the Middle East (not neccessarily Iraq).

I hope that they find him safe and sound very soon.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 11:31:56 AM EDT
Subscribed in hopes of hearing about this Hero's rescue.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 11:40:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 12:43:40 PM EDT
Perhaps he is in a communist country forced to give training on F-18 techniques?

Link Posted: 9/8/2005 2:05:33 PM EDT
never forget ...........
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 2:11:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:

How hard would it be for some opposition group to have removed him prior to Sadaam's fall and kept him at some isolated building in any area where the new government is not popular or for that matter to have lugged him off to Iran?

+1 Or the fact that he could have been used as barter material with a neighboring country or group that we are not popular with. It doesnt seem like it would be that hard to find someone who would like to trade or "buy" and American POW. I'm sure its not the first time it happened either.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 2:37:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ZitiForBreakfast:
He has been promoted? Captain? He was not a Marine, correct?

I thought they held or froze the rank of MIA's.

Field Grade...whoa.

At the time of the crash, he was a Lieutenant Commander, and he has been promoted twice while MIA.

There's a lot of info out there you can find about how his status has been changed from KIA, to MIA, and I think back and forth one more time. Some evidence suggests that at the wreckage site of the downed Hornet, that there was an ejection.

God bless him and his family.
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