Remains of Scott Speicher found in Iraq after 18 Years

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The U.S. Defense Department announced early Sunday that the remains of the first American pilot shot down in the Gulf War nearly two decades ago have been found in Iraq.

Navy Capt. Michael “Scott” Speicher, whose jet was shot down over the Iraq desert on the first night of the 1991 war, has been recovered and positively identified by the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Capt. Speicher’s family for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. “I am also extremely grateful to all those who have worked so tirelessly over the last 18 years to bring Capt. Speicher home.”

His remains, which included bones and skeletal fragments, were found in the western Anbar Province. The Pentagon said Speicher likely did not survive the plane crash and was buried in the desert by Bedouins.

The find ends eighteen years of uncertainty over the pilot’s fate during which his status changed several times.

[Image source: United States Navy]