Sunday, August 02, 2009

Remains of Capt Speicher found and identified

Remains of US Air Force Captain Michael “Scott” Speicher, missing since Gulf War I, have been positively identified.

Remains of missing US pilot Michael Speicher found after 18 years in desert
By Tim Reid, UK Times, August 2, 2009

After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, an American military unit was detailed to search for the missing pilot. That lead to a number of false leads, including the discovery of what some believed were the initials “MSS” scratched on the wall of an Iraqi prison.

It now appears that Captain Speicher was buried by nomadic Bedouin tribesmen close to where his F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet was shot down during a combat mission on January 17, 1991, the first night of Operation Desert Storm. His plane crashed in a remote, uninhabited wasteland. It is believed he was shot down by a missile fired from an Iraqi aircraft, probably a MiG-25. [...]

The military recovered bones and multiple skeletal fragments, which were flown back to the US. Captain Speicher was positively identified by matching a jawbone and dental records at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

U.S. identifies remains of pilot missing in Persian Gulf War
By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2009
The break in the case came recently when an Iraqi contacted Marines with information about the desert crash site. The Marines were then led to another Iraqi living in the desert who said he was present when Speicher's plane crashed and when his body was found and buried by nomadic tribesmen at an obscure place called Wadi Thumayal.
To see a map of Iraq, visit ('click here to zoom' to see the Iraq map online). Wadi Thumayal, which I have been unable to locate on a map so far, is located somewhere within the Anbar governate or province of western Iraq. 

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Photo credit: US Navy

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