Friday, September 09, 2005
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.
Capt. Michael SpeicherNavy brass have been unable to determine whether Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher, the fighter pilot shot down over Iraq on the first day of the Gulf War in January 1991, is dead or alive, but it decided to keep his official status "missing/captured" and intensify investigative efforts. The report was made public Thursday. The board's report said that some years after Speicher's F/A-18 fighter was shot down over the Iraqi desert, Iraqi government officials turned over items from the aircraft and his flight suit. The report did not say who in Saddam Hussein's regime is believed to have knowledge about what happened to the pilot after he was shot down. The Iraqi government maintained that Speicher perished at the site where his F/A-18 crashed after being hit by an Iraqi missile. 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.