Speicher’s Status Changes

The Navy yesterday announced that it has changed the status of Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, a Navy pilot lost in the 1991 Gulf War, from “missing/captured” to “missing-in-action.” Navy Secretary Donald Winter made the decision after a review of available information, including the recommendation of a recent status review board. Winter convened the board after the intelligence community concluded last October that Speicher is deceased, though his remains are unlocated. Speicher’s F/A-18 was brought down by “hostile action” on Jan. 17, 1991, according to the Navy announcement. (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.) He was initially declared “killed-in-action/body-not-recovered,” but this status was changed to MIA in 2001 and then to missing/captured in 2002 based on sighting reports in Iraq that have since been discredited, the Navy said.