Gulf War Pilot Is Declared ‘Captured’
The Navy on Friday declared that Persian Gulf War pilot Michael Scott Speicher was captured by Iraq, saying there is no evidence that the officer is dead.
Two senators suggested that there is new, classified evidence indicating Speicher is alive inside Iraq.
The F/A-18 Hornet that he was flying was shot down on the first night of the Gulf War in 1991, and he was declared dead. But the military changed Speicher’s status to missing in action a decade later, given the lack of evidence that he was killed.
Iraq claims that Speicher was killed but has not turned over any remains.
Navy Secretary Gordon England on Friday changed Speicher’s official status to missing/captured.
“I have no evidence to conclude that Capt. Speicher is dead,” England wrote.
“While the information available to me now does not prove definitively that Capt. Speicher is alive and in Iraqi custody, I am personally convinced the Iraqis seized him sometime after his plane went down.
“Further, it is my firm belief that the government of Iraq knows what happened to Capt. Speicher,” he wrote.
A spokeswoman for Joanne Harris, Speicher’s wife, said the officer’s family was pleased with the change.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said an Iraqi defector told officials that 11 years ago he drove a wounded American pilot to a hospital.