DNA confirms pilot identity

Times Staff Writer

The remains of Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher were found in the Iraqi desert about 1.2 miles from the crash site examined by U.S. investigators in 1995, the Navy said Friday.

The Navy also said further DNA testing of bone fragments had confirmed the identity of the remains. On Sunday, the service had announced an initial identification based on dental records.

The U.S. military had long searched for the remains of Speicher, whose F/A-18 Hornet warplane was shot down on Jan. 17, 1991, the first night of the Persian Gulf War.


The initial tip came from a Bedouin tribesman who was 11 when the plane was shot down, the Navy said Friday. He led searchers to other Bedouins who had information about the burial site, about 60 miles west of Ramadi in Anbar province.

About 150 Marines and others attached to the U.S. effort in Iraq searched the desert for a week before the remains were found, the Navy said.

Speicher, who was 33, was the first U.S. casualty of the war. Controversy swirled for years about whether he survived the crash and was being held by Saddam Hussein.