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thedrifter
04-09-03, 06:26 PM
Special teams look for pilot shot down in 1991 Gulf War


By David Goldstein, Knight Ridder
European edition, Wednesday, April 9, 2003



WASHINGTON With U.S. forces now in Baghdad, special teams are searching for Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher, a Navy pilot missing since he was shot down during the 1991 Gulf War.

The rescue of Speicher if he is alive is the object of both the 75th Exploitation Agency and a special unit of intelligence officers from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, a defense official said.

The task force is also searching for evidence of weapons of mass destruction and war crimes, said the Defense Department official, who described the outlines of the Speicher search but requested anonymity.

"You've got a lot of different people doing a job which contributes to resolving Speicher's fate," the official said.

Speicher, a native of Kansas City, Mo., and the Persian Gulf War's first casualty, was shot down on Jan. 17, 1991, in the first hours of battle. He was declared killed in action, but his body was never recovered and questions lingered.

Evidence gathered over the years has led many investigators, including the CIA, to conclude that he survived the crash of his F-18 fighter and was taken prisoner by the Iraqis.

Speicher was 33 years old with a wife and two young children when he disappeared.

The military has changed his status several times. Through the efforts of Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and others, the Navy changed Speicher from killed in action to missing in action. Last fall, the Navy designated him "missing-captured," effectively declaring him a prisoner of war.

Navy Secretary Gordon England said at the time that he had "no evidence to conclude that Speicher is dead."

Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said he thinks Speicher is alive.

Reports have surfaced from time to time of sightings of Speicher in Iraq, but many remain unconfirmed. They have come from such sources as the Iraqi National Congress, a group of defectors and other opponents of Saddam Hussein, as well as British intelligence.

In an interview, a former intelligence officer with knowledge of the Speicher case said the pilot was seen as recently as last month, around the time the war started. The intelligence officer said that a special forces team similar to the unit that recently rescued Pfc. Jessica Lynch from a Nasiriyah hospital, where she had been taken after her capture last month, is on the ground in Iraq.

That unit was made up of Army Rangers, Navy Seals and Marine commandos, as well as medics and intelligence officers.


Sempers,

Roger

Sparrowhawk
04-09-03, 06:33 PM
Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher has been on my mind for the past two days.

We need another miracle that our nation may feel a new high of honor. Finding him alive and liberating him at this time would be a tremandous blessing from God upon this nation.