This is the story of an F-18 fighter pilot, who fought for his country bravely and his country forgot him.
This is the story of Navy Lt.Cmdr.Michael Scott Speicher who went missing in action Jan.17.1991
Many people on the Internet have Sites about POW/MIA from the Vietnam War or any earlier way. Heck my whole Site is dedicated to my "adopted" Heroes from the Vietnam War.
But this story is about a different War. A War not long ago. A War we all promised that when our Men and Women returned We the People were going to make up for all the bad things that were done to the Vietnam Veterans.
Remember when we tied the yellow ribbons around the Trees and remember when we cried at the Home when we watched the soldiers say good-bye from their families not knowing if and when they would ever return?
Do you remember how many Servicemen and women gave the ultimate sacrifice? Do you even realize how many Men and Women are still paying for their Service to US? ( Gulf War Syndrome ring a bell?)
I am not going to preach, because I am just as guilty as anyone. But I am trying to make up for it. Please read on.........
The aviator in question is Navy Lt.Cmdr.Michael Scott Speicher.On the first night of the war, Jan 17.1991,Speicher took off in his F-18 fighter from the USS Saratoga stationed in the northern Red Sea. About two hours after take-off and shortly after entering Iraqi airspace, his wingman reported seeing a flash of fire from the direction of Speicher's aircraft.
This is the USS Saratoga
Based on available evidence it appears Speichers 's F-18 was shot down by an Iraqi plane. This made Speicher the first US casualty and the only U. S pilot to lose his plane to an Iraqi in an "DOGFIGHT,"
On Jan. 26.1991 Speicher was listed as "missing".Later that year in May, the Pentagon declared him 'killed in action,"
There is absolutely no doubt that Michael's Plane went down. The question what seems to be on quit a few people is :"What happen to Navy Lt.Cmdr.Michael Scott Speicher after his plane was shot from the air?
No rescue was ever launched, because no one knew exactly where he went down. It was nearly THREE YEARS before the Site was located.
According to most accounts, a Qatari military officer roaming in a remote area of the western IRAQ in December 1993 found the wreckage of Speicher's jet. But in a 1999 lawsuit filed (against Motorola, maker of the survival radio in Speicher's jet) by the pilot's widow, her attorney contends that the Qatar officer first noticed desert nomads selling parts of an F-18 in a market bazzar.When the Qatar Officer questioned them, they then took him to the crash site.
Once there, the officer took photos of the plane's canopy and collected a shard of metal with serial numbers matching Speicher's missing jet. He then presented this evidence, along with a statement saying he also had seen the ejection seat at the Site, to official at the U. S. Embassy in Qatar.
A few months later in 1994, a U. S spy satellite flying over the crash site "detected a man-made symbol in the area of the ejection seat,"according to Pentagon documents. This has lead some to theorize that Speicher indeed had survived the crash and attempted to "fashion" a type of "escape and evade" signal to rescuers.
In December 1994 a covert operation to search the site was scrubbed by then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff JOHN M.SHALIKASHVILI, who said he didn't want to risk the lives of U. S Troops "LOOKING FOR OLD BONES".
Instead, the Pentagon requested permission from the Iraqi government to send in a Red Cross team to examine the wreckage. This of course, divulged the location to the Iraqis. After six months of stalling Saddam Hussein finally agreed, and the search team traveled to the Site in December of 1995. By the time the team got to the Site. The Crash Site had been scavenged and no ejection seat was found.!!!!!
Coincidentally, the Pentagon reported that team members did recover, from Bedouin nomads, remnants of Speicher's flight suit and one of the plane's data recorders. The Pentagon stated that the evidence showed that Speicher had successfully ejected, but had been cut out of his suit, indicting that he was "probably severely injured or dead when these items were removed".
But in another interesting twist to the story,60 minutes reported in January 2000 that an Iraqi defector who had recently escaped to Jordan told them that in the first days of the war, he had driven an American pilot from the desert to Baghdad and the authorities," according to the 60 minutes transcript."The pilot was wearing his flight suit, alert and ALIVE! The defector pointed Speicher out in a photo line up and passed two lie detector tests.
So, what do you think? Did Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher survive his ejection from his plane?
Without a set of remains positively identified as Speicher's, this case may never be solved. But for the pilot's former commander, retired Adm.Stan Arthur, who led allied naval forces during the Gulf War, all leads must be pursued before concluding that the first American classified as KIA of the War is indeed dead.
"My worst fear is what happens if someday he shows up in Baghdad on the TV screen, and it's a surprise to everyone," Arthur said."How would you explain that?"
As you finally finished reading this story, I ask you why? Why did this happen all over again? I fully understand that there is a slim chance that Michael is still alive, but like all his Brothers and Sisters who gave the ultimate sacrifice before. Doesn't he have the right to be "COMING HOME"
Dead or Alive one Day we will come for you Michael..................
Thank you so much for remembering and honoring Michael Scott Speicher.May he never be forgotten!!!!
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