Tuesday, March 10, 2009

US Navy Changes Status of Capt. Michael Scott Speicher to 'Missing-In-Action'

Secretary of the Navy Gordon England today announced a revision to the status of Navy Capt. Michael “Scott” Speicher, the F/A-18 "Hornet" pilot who has been unaccounted for since his plane was shot down over Iraq on the opening night of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Secretary England has updated his status to “Missing-Captured.” Official Department of the Navy file photo of Navy Capt. Michael “Scott” Speicher. (U.S. Navy photo.)

Focus on Defense:
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was updated Aug. 2, 2009. See: Pentagon: Remains Identified as Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher; and, Pentagon Discuses Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher.
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2009 -- Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter determined March 10 that the status of Capt. Michael Scott Speicher is changed from "missing/captured" to "missing-in-action" (MIA).

This determination was made after a review of available information, including the report and recommendation of a Status Review Board and comments provided by the Speicher family, as well as a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment.

Speicher was the first casualty of Operation Desert Storm. His F/A-18 Hornet was downed by hostile action Jan. 17, 1991 during the first manned air strike of the war, and he 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 sighting reports in Iraq. Those sightings have since been discredited.

In October 2008, the intelligence community concluded that Speicher is deceased, though his remains are unlocated. Based on that assessment, the Secretary of the Navy convened a Status Review Board to consider whether Speicher's status should remain missing/captured or should be changed.

(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

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