Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Navy Changes Speicher Status To 'Missing In Action'

Navy Changes Speicher Status To 'Missing In Action'
Story Number: NNS090310-05
Release Date: 3/10/2009 1:49:00 PM

From the Department of the Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter determined March 10 that the status of Capt. Michael Scott Speicher is changed from "missing/captured" to "missing-in-action" (MIA).

This determination was made after a review of available information, including the report and recommendation of a Status Review Board and comments provided by the Speicher family, as well as a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment.

"The Navy appreciates the challenges Captain Speicher's family has faced these past 18 years," Winter said. "Captain Speicher is an American hero, and bringing him home to his family and his country will remain a top priority for the Navy and our nation."

Speicher was the first casualty of Operation Desert Storm. His F/A-18 Hornet was downed by hostile action Jan. 17, 1991 during the first manned air strike of the war. He was placed in an MIA status the next day.

His status was changed to "killed in action/body not recovered" (KIA/BNR) May 22, 1991, following a Secretary of the Navy Status Review Board that found "no credible evidence" to suggest he had survived the shoot down.

In December 1995, working through the International Committee of the Red Cross, investigators from the Navy and Army's Central Identification Laboratory entered Iraq and conducted a thorough excavation of the crash site. In September 1996, based on a comprehensive review of evidence accumulated since the initial KIA/BNR determination, the Secretary of the Navy reaffirmed the presumptive finding of death.

In January 2001, following the emergence of new evidence and further assessment by the intelligence community, the Secretary of the Navy concluded that Speicher's status should be "missing in action." A working group was established in July 2002, and in October of that year, the Secretary of the Navy changed the status from "MIA" to "missing/captured."

This status was continued following another review in September 2005.

In October 2008, the intelligence community concluded that Speicher is deceased, though his remains are unlocated. Based on that assessment, the Secretary of the Navy convened a Status Review Board to consider whether Speicher's status should remain missing/captured or should be changed.

Although the Status Review Board rejected the DIA assessment, the Secretary of the Navy concluded that there was no credible evidence that Speicher is "captured." However, in the abundance of caution, Secretary Winter determined that Speicher's status should be changed to MIA.

For more information, read the statement from Secretary Winter on the Web atwww.navy.mil/navydata/people/secnav/Winter/Message/Speicher%20Statement.pdf.

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