The Mystery of Missing Gulf War Navy Pilot Michael “Scott” Speicher Shot Down in 1991 is Over … Remains Identified in Iraq


The mystery of what happened to Michael “Scott” Speicher is over …

The 18 year mystery into what happened to missing US Navy Captain Michael “Scott” Speicher is finally over. Speicher was shot down on January 17, 1991, the very first night of the Iraq Gulf War, “Operation Desert Storm,” in his F/A-18 Hornet. Michael “Scott” Speicher was the first combat casualty for American forces in the war. From that point forward, his status and whereabouts remained a mystery, until today.

May Navy Captain Michael “Scott” Speicher finally rest in peace and his family have some form of closure.


Navy Capt. Michael “Scott” Speicher, the F/A-18 “Hornet” pilot who was shot down over Iraq on the opening night of Operation Desert Storm in Jan. 1991

The remains of Michael “Scott” Speicher have been positively identified according to the Pentagon by the Armed Forces Institute of PathologyAfter more than 18 years of speculation as to if Speicher was dead or alive, had survived the crash, died, was MIA, died in captivity or was still alive and being held captive, the mystery is over. The remains recovered included bones, skeletal fragments and a jaw bone. Dental records were used to positively ID the missing Navy pilot. 

Press Release from the US Department of Defense

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Speicher’s family for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country,” said Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy.  “I am also extremely grateful to all those who have worked so tirelessly over the last 18 years to bring Captain Speicher home.”  

“Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be,” said Admiral 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.”

According to CNN, an Iraqi civilian told US forces in early July 2009 about the location of the crash site of  US Navy Captain Michael “Scott” Speicher. US forces then went to the remote Anbar province in Iraq and spoke to others who witnessed Bedouins burying Speicher’s remains in the desert after the crash.

A search of the area uncovered the remains, which were flown to Dover Air Base last week and positively identified as Speicher’s by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the statement said.

Recovered remains included bones and skeletal fragments, and positive identification was made by comparing Speicher’s dental records with a jawbone recovered at the site, the statement said.

He was originally listed as “Killed-In-Action/Body-Not-Recovered” in May 1991. That status changed in 2001 to “Missing in Action,” and then to “Missing/Captured” in 2002 based on sighting reports in Iraq. Those sightings have since been discredited.

A statement from Speicher family spokesman:

“The family’s proud of the way the Defense Department continued on with our request” to not abandon the search, she said. “We will be bringing him home.”

Laquidara said the family would have another statement after being briefed by the defense officials, but she didn’t know when that would be.

A statement from Admiral 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.”

Update I: Michelle Malkin, R.I.P. We never forgot. We’ll never forget

Posted August 2, 2009 by
Iraq, Military, Missing Persons | 8 comments

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  • Comments

    8 Responses to “The Mystery of Missing Gulf War Navy Pilot Michael “Scott” Speicher Shot Down in 1991 is Over … Remains Identified in Iraq”

    1. LilPuma on August 2nd, 2009 9:07 am

      Our thanks to the Iraqi citizens that helped US forces find this man. His family now knows he went “home” in 1991 and can bring his remains back to the U.S.

    2. Nay Pilot Michael “Scott” Speicher Missing for 18 Years Finally Found … Remains Positively Identified | Scared Monkeys Missing Persons Site on August 2nd, 2009 9:17 am

      [...] full story can be read at Scared, The Mystery of what happened to Michael “Scott” Speicher is [...]

    3. Michelle Smith on August 2nd, 2009 10:53 am

      R.I.P. Captain Speicher. Thanks to the Iraqi who helped locate the remains. Thoughts & prayers for Speicher’s family. I’m grateful that his remains were discovered and his family to put him to rest & find closure.

    4. Maggie on August 2nd, 2009 2:00 pm

      I had not heard this.. I am glad his loved ones now how found the answers to where he is. It’s the never knowing that is the hardest. I think about Natalee, Jennifer Kesse, Tara.. everyday and so wish that someone would grow a conscience and give their loved ones the answers they seek. It’s bad enough to lose a loved one..

      RIP Captain Speicher and I agree.. ty to the Iraqi citizens who help find his remains. My thoughts go out to his family. I am sure finding his remains took a huge burden from their hearts.They now have a place to go to pay their respects.

    5. scott on August 2nd, 2009 7:35 pm

      Wow, Scott Speicher’s story is every POW MIA’s family’s horror. I just read, “You Are Not Forgotten,” Foreword by Henry Kissinger, it details the founding of this League, and reveals a record of history during the 1970’s and the Vietnam War that I did not know.
      What these POW/MIA wives and mothers, endured and accomplished is simply amazing. Not only did these women petition the United Nations regarding the Geneva Conventions, they also created the POW/MIA flag as their banner and motto.
      Thank god for Scott’s family….there are thousands of families still suffering, not knowing…let’s not forget them.

    6. Navy Capt. Michael “Scott” Speicher’s Status Can be Changed from Missing to Fallen Hero | Scared Monkeys Missing Persons Site on August 6th, 2009 12:30 am

      [...] Navy Capt. Michael “Scott” Speicher had been missing since January 17, 1991. He was the first casualty if the first Gulf War in Iraq, Operation Desert Storm.  For 18 years Capt. Michael “Scott” Speicher was considered missing. Speicher was considered missing until an  Iraqi nomad who as a child witnessed the pilot’s desert burial. [...]

    7. Alan on August 14th, 2009 2:02 pm

      I have seen Speicher’s rank listed as Captain, Lt Commander, Commander, Navy Captain.

      Can anyone explain the differences? I am assuming that he was promoted during his absence.

      Thanx in advance.

    8. Jules Balon on January 2nd, 2011 4:28 pm

      Although glad that Scott Speicher’s remains were found, I am deeply disturbed how the government turned their backs when faced with obvious errors at the time he went down First, the coordibnates given initially were incorrect but ignored when corrected by a military pilot.secondly, a ground signal was ignored which by virtue of both these flagrant “screwups” resulted in the abandonment of an SAR (search and rescue” mission which is standard protocol in the military. Could Scott have survived his proven ejection from his air-to-air missile aatack on his je? POSSIBLY!!

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