The family of a long-missing Navy pilot will get another military briefing Tuesday on information surrounding his death in Iraq nearly 20 years ago. That will be followed by a memorial service on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon released photos of the team that helped find and excavate the remains of Navy Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher in the Iraqi desert, the discovery coming 18 years after he was shot down on the first day of the 1991 Gulf War.
Speicher's family has been hesitant to accept the Defense Department's conclusion that the pilot most likely died at the time his plane was shot down, particularly since there had been reported sightings and other leads over the years that had given them hope Speicher might have survived.
They had a briefing Tuesday from the Defense Intelligence Agency and will have another one this coming Tuesday from forensics experts via telephone conference, family attorney Cindy Laquidara said. A memorial is planned near Jacksonville, where Speicher had lived before he went to Iraq at age 33.
Speicher's remains were found about 100 kilometers (some 62 miles) west of the city of Ramadi in central Iraq after an Iraqi nomad — an 11-year-old boy at the time of the Gulf War — said he remembered the burial of an American pilot and led authorities to a second Iraqi who had information about the location, officials said Friday.
A team of 150 people, mostly U.S. Marines searched two sites from July 22 to 29, finding Speicher's remains at the second one, according to a Defense Department statement Friday. A surgeon on the team, carrying Speicher's dental records, was able to immediately identify a jawbone found at the site as Speicher's, and the finding was later confirmed through x-rays and DNA once the remains were returned to the states last week, officials said.
Word reported from Jacksonville, Fla.
Source: AP News