Finding Speicher

Associated Press reports that a recent Navy review board believes the Defense Department should not close the investigation into what happened to Navy pilot Scott Speicher, lost during the 1991 Gulf War. Initial reports cited an Iraqi surface-to-air missile, but later accounts, including one unclassified intelligence report, credited an Iraqi MiG firing an air-to-air missile with bringing down Speicher’s F/A-18 on Jan. 17, 1991. The Pentagon first listed him as killed in action, but that changed initially in 2002 following new intelligence and what investigators believed to be his initials carved into the wall of a prison. In November 2005, then-acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England directed that the Navy continue to carry Speicher as missing in action rather than killed in action. AP reports that the Speicher family has continued to press the Pentagon to maintain the investigation and that Navy Secretary Donald Winter ordered the latest Navy board review after receiving word from the Defense Intelligence Agency that it had followed all available leads. Winter can uphold or deny the board’s finding. (Air Force Magazine coverage over the years.)