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Navy Board suggests new Speicher Search|
Posted on July 08, 2005
Missing-Captured should be dropped and the words Prisoner of War should be used. What is the problem of POW/MIA for Speicher and Maupin?
Let's see if I understand this. We are at war. We have our military in another country fighting and dying. That sure meets the definition of war.
Now, if someone is captured by the enemy are they not a prisoner under the control of the enemy? Well, what the hell is the problem of calling our captured people in the hands of the enemy Prisoner of War or Missing in Action (POW/MIA)?
It is time for our elected officials and bureaucrats to get off their asses, stop the double talk and bring these people home or at least do all that they can to account for them.
Danny "Greasy" Belcher, Executive Director
Task Force Omega of KY Inc.
Infantry Sgt. Vietnam 68-69
D Troop 7th Sqdn. 1st Air Cav.
Navy Board Suggests New Speicher Search
July 8, 2005
WASHINGTON - A new Navy review of efforts to determine the fate of missing pilot Capt. Michael Scott Speicher is recommending that the U.S. government undertake an intensified search in Iraq and that his status be affirmed as "missing-captured," Sen. Bill Nelson wrote in a letter to the Navy's top civilian.
"I urge you to accept the board's recommendation regarding Capt. Speicher's status. I also encourage you to work to implement the board's recommendation regarding an intensified search effort," the Florida Democrat wrote to Navy Secretary Gordon England, who also is the acting deputy defense secretary.
Speicher, of Jacksonville, Fla., was shot down over central Iraq in an F/A-18 on Jan. 17, 1991, opening night of the Gulf War. Some aircraft wreckage was later found but his remains were never recovered. Speculation arose over the years - including during the months leading up to the latest Iraq war - that he was being held by the Iraqis.
The Iraqi government under President Saddam Hussein maintained from the start that Speicher perished at the crash site. No evidence to contradict that has surfaced since the fall of Baghdad more than two years ago, but the new Navy inquiry concluded there was no credible evidence of his death, either.
In response to Nelson's statements regarding the board of inquiry's recommendations, the Navy public affairs office said the inquiry is not complete and therefore it would not comment directly on the board's findings.
Two officials who have seen the inquiry's findings and recommendations confirmed to The Associated Press that Nelson accurately portrayed the outcome. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the information's confidentiality and because England has not yet seen it.
The board of inquiry met and reached its conclusions last week, the officials said.
The Navy has changed its position on Speicher's status over the years. Hours after his plane went down, the Pentagon declared him killed in action. Ten years later, the Navy changed his status to MIA, citing an absence of evidence that he had died. In October 2002, the Navy switched his status to "missing-captured," although it has never said what evidence it had that he was in captivity.
"Over the years we've learned a great deal, but I am not satisfied we have fulfilled our responsibility to Capt. Speicher or to his family - or to all members of our military," Nelson wrote in his letter.
He said some areas of Iraq that remain dangerous due to insurgent activity should be searched for possible additional evidence, and former Iraqi government officials in U.S. custody may have more information.
"Other witnesses have been identified but not yet located or brought in for interrogation," Nelson said.
A Pentagon team assigned to search for evidence of Speicher after the fall of Baghdad completed its efforts in May 2004. In congressional testimony shortly afterward, Marine Brig. Gen. Joseph J. McMenamin, who led the search team, said all in-country leads regarding the pilot's fate had been exhausted.
McMenamin also said, however, that some leads could not be fully pursued because of the security threat from the Iraq insurgency. Another problem, he said, was that nomadic Bedouin tribesmen who may have information of value are difficult to find. And some who might have information about Speicher may be intimidated by the threat of retribution by members of the former Saddam regime who are still at large.
Cpt, USArmy (ret); SOA, SFA, MOAA, DAV,
AmLegion, VFW, Amvets, VietNow, AFIO
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