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BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!

 
Mr. Whitey
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BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
Remains Identified as Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher


The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) has positively identified remains recovered in Iraq as those of Captain Michael Scott Speicher. Captain Speicher was shot down flying a combat mission in an F/A-18 Hornet over west-central Iraq on January 17th, 1991 during Operation Desert Storm.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Speicher's family for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country," said Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy. "I am also extremely grateful to all those who have worked so tirelessly over the last 18 years to bring Captain Speicher home."

“Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be,” said Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Captain Speicher and his family for the sacrifice they have made for our nation and the example of strength they have set for all of us.”

Acting on information provided by an Iraqi citizen in early July, US Marines stationed in Al Anbar Province went to a location in the desert which was believed to be the crash site of Captain Speicher’s jet. The Iraqi citizen stated he knew of two Iraqi citizens who recalled an American jet impacting the desert and the remains of the pilot being buried in the desert. One of these Iraqi citizens stated that they were present when Captain Speicher was found dead at the crash site by Bedouins and his remains buried. The Iraqi citizens led US Marines to the site who searched the area. Remains were recovered over several days during the past week and flown to Dover Air Force Base for scientific identification by the AFIP’s Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.

The recovered remains include bones and multiple skeletal fragments. Positive identification was made by comparing Captain Speicher’s dental records with the jawbone recovered at the site. The teeth are a match, both visually and radiographically.

While dental records have confirmed the remains to be those of Captain Speicher, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology DNA Lab in Rockville, Maryland is running DNA tests on the remains recovered in Iraq and comparing them to DNA reference samples previously provided by family members. Results will take approximately 24 hours.

Last Edited by Mr. Whitey on 08/02/2009 09:14 AM
If you force me to do violence, I shall be so savage and so cruel, and hurt you so badly that the thought of revenge shall never cross your mind. -Machiavelli

There is nothing more real than a man’s character and values. The track record of what he has actually done is far more real than anything he says, however elegantly he says it. -Thomas Sowell


Rep. Paul Ryan's [R-WI] 'A Roadmap For America's Future': [link to www.americanroadmap.org]
Mr. Whitey  (OP)

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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
BTW... his ex-wife and "best friend" are still dirtbags.
If you force me to do violence, I shall be so savage and so cruel, and hurt you so badly that the thought of revenge shall never cross your mind. -Machiavelli

There is nothing more real than a man’s character and values. The track record of what he has actually done is far more real than anything he says, however elegantly he says it. -Thomas Sowell


Rep. Paul Ryan's [R-WI] 'A Roadmap For America's Future': [link to www.americanroadmap.org]
Treasure Bound

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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
from the sounds of it he died in the crash. Thank goodness, the thought of him being a POW over there all these years makes my stomach turn. My condolences and prayers for his family, at least they got closure now. hf
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Mr. Whitey  (OP)

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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
from the sounds of it he died in the crash. Thank goodness, the thought of him being a POW over there all these years makes my stomach turn. My condolences and prayers for his family, at least they got closure now. hf
 Quoting: Treasure Bound


Indeed. He was buried by the Bedouin people.
If you force me to do violence, I shall be so savage and so cruel, and hurt you so badly that the thought of revenge shall never cross your mind. -Machiavelli

There is nothing more real than a man’s character and values. The track record of what he has actually done is far more real than anything he says, however elegantly he says it. -Thomas Sowell


Rep. Paul Ryan's [R-WI] 'A Roadmap For America's Future': [link to www.americanroadmap.org]
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
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Mr. Whitey  (OP)

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08/02/2009 09:16 AM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!


Blue skies...
If you force me to do violence, I shall be so savage and so cruel, and hurt you so badly that the thought of revenge shall never cross your mind. -Machiavelli

There is nothing more real than a man’s character and values. The track record of what he has actually done is far more real than anything he says, however elegantly he says it. -Thomas Sowell


Rep. Paul Ryan's [R-WI] 'A Roadmap For America's Future': [link to www.americanroadmap.org]
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
BTW... his ex-wife and "best friend" are still dirtbags.
 Quoting: Mr. Whitey


I agree with you. His widow (they never divorced) married his best friend 18 months after he went missing or was thought killed, and they had 2 children. She already had 2 children with Speicher.

[link to www.arlingtoncemetery.net]
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
she thought he was dead and tried to move on, which is what most young widows find sensible to do...it's not like they re-married after 18 days, it was a year and a half for goodness' sake. why would you judge her, her grieving process, and how she chooses to go on with her life?
NEVER FORGET
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08/02/2009 10:15 AM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
At least he gets to come home, but remember there are still many more unaccounted for. Welcome home, Captain...

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08/02/2009 10:29 AM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
SEMPER FI
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
she thought he was dead and tried to move on, which is what most young widows find sensible to do...it's not like they re-married after 18 days, it was a year and a half for goodness' sake. why would you judge her, her grieving process, and how she chooses to go on with her life?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 719895


I don't care what you say. Read the link. They're dirtbags.

The "best friend" (glad I don't have one like that) had Speicher's two children take HIS last name. Talk about 'moving in'.....so they're all Speicher-Harris's.

As far as waiting 18 mos to marry, don't kid yourself. They were prolly gf/bf long before 'tying the knot'.
Normal Is Subjective

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08/02/2009 11:52 AM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
she thought he was dead and tried to move on, which is what most young widows find sensible to do...it's not like they re-married after 18 days, it was a year and a half for goodness' sake. why would you judge her, her grieving process, and how she chooses to go on with her life?


I don't care what you say. Read the link. They're dirtbags.

The "best friend" (glad I don't have one like that) had Speicher's two children take HIS last name. Talk about 'moving in'.....so they're all Speicher-Harris's.

As far as waiting 18 mos to marry, don't kid yourself. They were prolly gf/bf long before 'tying the knot'.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 740157




When Lieutenant Commander Michael Scott Speicher’s FA/18 Hornet vanished from the radar screens over Iraq in the 1991 Gulf war, everyone — including his family — accepted that he had been killed by a ground-to-air missile.

His widow, Joanne, was left to comfort their two young children. She in turn was consoled by his best friend and fellow navy pilot, Buddy Harris. They married 18 months later and had two children of their own.

Then evidence began to emerge that Speicher may have survived and become a prisoner of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Throughout the build-up to last year’s war and in the months after, Harris flew to the Pentagon for secret briefings on the search for Speicher, never knowing whether the friend whose place he had taken as husband and father would return to reclaim it.

The Sunday Times has obtained details of the search and has interviewed witnesses who claim Speicher did indeed survive. They say the pilot was taken to a house near the spot where his jet crashed in the desert west of Baghdad and then handed over to Saddam’s security police.

A team of American experts has scoured prisons in and around the Iraqi capital. It discovered Speicher’s initials on a cell wall and documents indicating that at one stage he was injured. But it has heard conflicting accounts about his ultimate fate.

The Americans were told by one source that he had been executed years ago; by another that he was still being held prisoner by one of Saddam’s most feared lieutenants after the Washington-led invasion.

In recent days the Pentagon has indicated that a lack of any conclusive evidence has convinced officials that Speicher is dead. His family nevertheless refuses to give up hope.

They claim he was abandoned in 1991 when Dick Cheney, then defence secretary and now vice-president, announced his death, and is being abandoned again because to admit mistakes would be difficult in the run-up to the presidential election. Harris, who married Speicher’s widow only to be told that he might not be dead after all, says he has hoped all along that his friend would return home safely, whatever the impact on his family.

“We will throw a huge welcome home party,” he said. “Then we will deal with whatever comes next in an adult and private manner.”

Harris, 44, added: “I want to be able to look him in the eye and say, ‘This is what I did, this is why I did it’. And I can’t imagine him being displeased.”

When Speicher’s aircraft vanished he left behind Joanne, his college sweetheart, Megan, three, and one-year-old Michael.

“I knew Joanne before she and Scott got married,” Harris said. “She was like a sister. We had a lot of fun together. We were all pretty close. Scott was the leader of his class, a fun-loving, nice guy, always with a smile on his face. We had that connection between us.”

Speicher became a national hero when, in May 1991, a memorial stone was erected in Arlington national cemetery in Washington.

It was less than a year after marrying Joanne that Harris, who was working at the Pentagon, heard that wreckage from the jet had been found intact. He decided to keep the news from his wife, uncertain how it would affect their marriage.

The Pentagon considered mounting a special forces operation to rescue Speicher if he could be located.
“I felt it was a mission we had to perform because we never leave one of our own out there without hope,” said Tim Connolly, assistant deputy secretary of special operations at the time.

American officials approached the International Committee of the Red Cross, which obtained permission to search the crash site. It found the cockpit canopy and a flight suit with the legs cut open. There were no signs of blood.

Harris knew he had to tell Joanne. “Up to that point, there was just no sense in making her more miserable over possibilities,” he said.

She took it well, he explained, but added: “It wasn’t a happy environment for a while. I mean, you can just imagine trying to give that kind of information to your wife.”

Stories began to trickle in from Iraqi defectors about an American pilot being held in Iraq. Then in 1998 an Iranian pilot, Hossein Lashgari, was released after being held for 17 years by the Iraqis. Iran had long given him up for dead.

By this time Congress had started asking questions about Speicher. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate select committee on intelligence, was given a private briefing and went public with his outrage.

“We have quite a few people that dropped the ball,” he admitted. “Quite frankly, I think some people ought to be court martialed.”

In 2001 Richard Danzig, the navy secretary, changed Speicher’s status from killed in action to missing in action, the first formal acknowledgment that he might have survived. He was promoted to captain and salary payments to his family resumed.

In 2002 the navy reclassified him as missing in action, captured. In the run-up to last year’s invasion, he was declared a prisoner of war.

“I think it is very likely that he could be alive,” Roberts said. “And that makes you stop and think that for 12 years, here is a young man who has gone to bed every night or awakened every morning wondering, ‘When is my country going to come get me?’ ”

Cindy Laquidara, the Speichers’ lawyer, spoke to an Iraqi defector who reported seeing a captive American pilot. At least two other defectors told US intelligence they were aware of Speicher’s existence. A small team attached to the US Marines who entered Baghdad 18 months ago was assigned to find him.

For two days six experts concentrated the search on Hakimiyah prison, where they discovered the initials “MSS” scratched into a cell wall. They also found documents indicating he had been hurt in captivity and had been moved between 18 locations around the country.

There were unverified reports that Speicher had been executed by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, one of Saddam’s closest aides. A body, said to have 30 bullet holes, was supposedly buried in one of two possible locations, although extensive searches failed to uncover it.

However, it was also claimed that General Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as “Chemical Ali”, kept Speicher with him following the war. Al-Majid was captured but has refused to talk about Speicher.

The Iraq Survey Group looking for weapons of mass destruction also contained a team of seven intelligence experts known as Task Force Speicher whose sole job was to hunt for him.

A report by the group revealed that a defector from Saddam’s Special Security Organisation had provided names of witnesses who had seen or known of Speicher in captivity.

In Washington, another 15 experts from the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency were dedicated to finding him. A search team that tried to reach the crash site two months after the fall of Baghdad was foiled by attacks from insurgents.

However, several witnesses told The Sunday Times they remembered Speicher’s jet. Mashel Shehan al-Asafe, 61, a sheep merchant, said: “Two shepherds who were close to the place where the aircraft crashed helped him. They brought him to my house and I gave him water and some food.

“When we spoke to him it was with our hands, because we could not understand his words. I remember his name and it was Speicher, as you say.”

Speicher was taken by car to the nearest large town of Hit, west of Ramadi, where he was handed to police. Al-Asafe added: “He was injured and he was treated by a medical doctor in Ramadi.”

All the developments in the official hunt have been disclosed to Harris at his Pentagon briefings. Some information is difficult to share with Joanne and the children, he said.

“There are moments when we think we’re on the verge of bringing Scott home,” he explained. “But because it is an emotional rollercoaster and much of it doesn’t pan out, I sit and absorb it all. If I passed it all on to the family we would all be basket cases.”

Harris believes there is no doubt Speicher was in captivity. “I’ve spoken with the president several times about this and I’ve been assured by him he will never give up looking for Scott. He will make sure this is resolved and he has given me his word and I’m going to hold him to that.”

Friends of Joanne say she has dealt with the news of her husband by “putting it all into a compartment that she refuses to open."

“She has moved on and at times says she doesn’t want to look back,” said a close friend. “It makes her sound uncaring and she’s not but she’s had to move on with her life.”

Harris, on the other hand, remains preoccupied with the search. “I gotta find out the truth,” he said. “This is important, the most important thing in my life."
[link to www.arlingtoncemetery.net]

Well seeing as how much of the above turned out to be wrong, your baseless speculations and mis-characterizations make you quite the dirtbag.
I thought I'd beat the inevitibility of death to death just a little bit.
Anonymous Coward
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08/02/2009 12:21 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
she thought he was dead and tried to move on, which is what most young widows find sensible to do...it's not like they re-married after 18 days, it was a year and a half for goodness' sake. why would you judge her, her grieving process, and how she chooses to go on with her life?


I don't care what you say. Read the link. They're dirtbags.

The "best friend" (glad I don't have one like that) had Speicher's two children take HIS last name. Talk about 'moving in'.....so they're all Speicher-Harris's.

As far as waiting 18 mos to marry, don't kid yourself. They were prolly gf/bf long before 'tying the knot'.




When Lieutenant Commander Michael Scott Speicher’s FA/18 Hornet vanished from the radar screens over Iraq in the 1991 Gulf war, everyone — including his family — accepted that he had been killed by a ground-to-air missile.

His widow, Joanne, was left to comfort their two young children. She in turn was consoled by his best friend and fellow navy pilot, Buddy Harris. They married 18 months later and had two children of their own.

Then evidence began to emerge that Speicher may have survived and become a prisoner of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Throughout the build-up to last year’s war and in the months after, Harris flew to the Pentagon for secret briefings on the search for Speicher, never knowing whether the friend whose place he had taken as husband and father would return to reclaim it.

The Sunday Times has obtained details of the search and has interviewed witnesses who claim Speicher did indeed survive. They say the pilot was taken to a house near the spot where his jet crashed in the desert west of Baghdad and then handed over to Saddam’s security police.

A team of American experts has scoured prisons in and around the Iraqi capital. It discovered Speicher’s initials on a cell wall and documents indicating that at one stage he was injured. But it has heard conflicting accounts about his ultimate fate.

The Americans were told by one source that he had been executed years ago; by another that he was still being held prisoner by one of Saddam’s most feared lieutenants after the Washington-led invasion.

In recent days the Pentagon has indicated that a lack of any conclusive evidence has convinced officials that Speicher is dead. His family nevertheless refuses to give up hope.

They claim he was abandoned in 1991 when Dick Cheney, then defence secretary and now vice-president, announced his death, and is being abandoned again because to admit mistakes would be difficult in the run-up to the presidential election. Harris, who married Speicher’s widow only to be told that he might not be dead after all, says he has hoped all along that his friend would return home safely, whatever the impact on his family.

“We will throw a huge welcome home party,” he said. “Then we will deal with whatever comes next in an adult and private manner.”

Harris, 44, added: “I want to be able to look him in the eye and say, ‘This is what I did, this is why I did it’. And I can’t imagine him being displeased.”

When Speicher’s aircraft vanished he left behind Joanne, his college sweetheart, Megan, three, and one-year-old Michael.

“I knew Joanne before she and Scott got married,” Harris said. “She was like a sister. We had a lot of fun together. We were all pretty close. Scott was the leader of his class, a fun-loving, nice guy, always with a smile on his face. We had that connection between us.”

Speicher became a national hero when, in May 1991, a memorial stone was erected in Arlington national cemetery in Washington.

It was less than a year after marrying Joanne that Harris, who was working at the Pentagon, heard that wreckage from the jet had been found intact. He decided to keep the news from his wife, uncertain how it would affect their marriage.

The Pentagon considered mounting a special forces operation to rescue Speicher if he could be located.
“I felt it was a mission we had to perform because we never leave one of our own out there without hope,” said Tim Connolly, assistant deputy secretary of special operations at the time.

American officials approached the International Committee of the Red Cross, which obtained permission to search the crash site. It found the cockpit canopy and a flight suit with the legs cut open. There were no signs of blood.

Harris knew he had to tell Joanne. “Up to that point, there was just no sense in making her more miserable over possibilities,” he said.

She took it well, he explained, but added: “It wasn’t a happy environment for a while. I mean, you can just imagine trying to give that kind of information to your wife.”

Stories began to trickle in from Iraqi defectors about an American pilot being held in Iraq. Then in 1998 an Iranian pilot, Hossein Lashgari, was released after being held for 17 years by the Iraqis. Iran had long given him up for dead.

By this time Congress had started asking questions about Speicher. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate select committee on intelligence, was given a private briefing and went public with his outrage.

“We have quite a few people that dropped the ball,” he admitted. “Quite frankly, I think some people ought to be court martialed.”

In 2001 Richard Danzig, the navy secretary, changed Speicher’s status from killed in action to missing in action, the first formal acknowledgment that he might have survived. He was promoted to captain and salary payments to his family resumed.

In 2002 the navy reclassified him as missing in action, captured. In the run-up to last year’s invasion, he was declared a prisoner of war.

“I think it is very likely that he could be alive,” Roberts said. “And that makes you stop and think that for 12 years, here is a young man who has gone to bed every night or awakened every morning wondering, ‘When is my country going to come get me?’ ”

Cindy Laquidara, the Speichers’ lawyer, spoke to an Iraqi defector who reported seeing a captive American pilot. At least two other defectors told US intelligence they were aware of Speicher’s existence. A small team attached to the US Marines who entered Baghdad 18 months ago was assigned to find him.

For two days six experts concentrated the search on Hakimiyah prison, where they discovered the initials “MSS” scratched into a cell wall. They also found documents indicating he had been hurt in captivity and had been moved between 18 locations around the country.

There were unverified reports that Speicher had been executed by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, one of Saddam’s closest aides. A body, said to have 30 bullet holes, was supposedly buried in one of two possible locations, although extensive searches failed to uncover it.

However, it was also claimed that General Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as “Chemical Ali”, kept Speicher with him following the war. Al-Majid was captured but has refused to talk about Speicher.

The Iraq Survey Group looking for weapons of mass destruction also contained a team of seven intelligence experts known as Task Force Speicher whose sole job was to hunt for him.

A report by the group revealed that a defector from Saddam’s Special Security Organisation had provided names of witnesses who had seen or known of Speicher in captivity.

In Washington, another 15 experts from the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency were dedicated to finding him. A search team that tried to reach the crash site two months after the fall of Baghdad was foiled by attacks from insurgents.

However, several witnesses told The Sunday Times they remembered Speicher’s jet. Mashel Shehan al-Asafe, 61, a sheep merchant, said: “Two shepherds who were close to the place where the aircraft crashed helped him. They brought him to my house and I gave him water and some food.

“When we spoke to him it was with our hands, because we could not understand his words. I remember his name and it was Speicher, as you say.”

Speicher was taken by car to the nearest large town of Hit, west of Ramadi, where he was handed to police. Al-Asafe added: “He was injured and he was treated by a medical doctor in Ramadi.”

All the developments in the official hunt have been disclosed to Harris at his Pentagon briefings. Some information is difficult to share with Joanne and the children, he said.

“There are moments when we think we’re on the verge of bringing Scott home,” he explained. “But because it is an emotional rollercoaster and much of it doesn’t pan out, I sit and absorb it all. If I passed it all on to the family we would all be basket cases.”

Harris believes there is no doubt Speicher was in captivity. “I’ve spoken with the president several times about this and I’ve been assured by him he will never give up looking for Scott. He will make sure this is resolved and he has given me his word and I’m going to hold him to that.”

Friends of Joanne say she has dealt with the news of her husband by “putting it all into a compartment that she refuses to open."

“She has moved on and at times says she doesn’t want to look back,” said a close friend. “It makes her sound uncaring and she’s not but she’s had to move on with her life.”

Harris, on the other hand, remains preoccupied with the search. “I gotta find out the truth,” he said. “This is important, the most important thing in my life."
[link to www.arlingtoncemetery.net]

Well seeing as how much of the above turned out to be wrong, your baseless speculations and mis-characterizations make you quite the dirtbag.
 Quoting: Normal Is Subjective


NO, YOU are the dirtbag, plus you can't read.

BTW, his 'widow' received Speicher's back pay retroactively when his status was changed to MIA. On top of that, her second hubby has a 6 figure salary at the Pentagon.

Think that's enough money for her, dirtbag? Do ya?

Nope. She's suing the radio manufacturer stating that her dead husband's radio malfunctioned when his plane crashed.

Too bad your best friend doesn't start a 'relationship' with your spouse the minute you go missing.

But then, a dirtbag like you would need a friend and a spouse.

GFY.
Anonymous Coward
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08/02/2009 12:41 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
No link OP?
Sandpiper
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08/02/2009 12:50 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
I am so sorry, but feel relief for his family and kin, not knowing is the worst hell. May he rest in peace.
Anonymous Coward
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08/02/2009 12:53 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
Indeed. He was buried by the Bedouin people.
 Quoting: Mr. Whitey


I am not a religious person, but it is nice to know that someone took care of that young man and buried him in our earth. where he came from.
Normal Is Subjective

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08/02/2009 12:56 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
she thought he was dead and tried to move on, which is what most young widows find sensible to do...it's not like they re-married after 18 days, it was a year and a half for goodness' sake. why would you judge her, her grieving process, and how she chooses to go on with her life?


I don't care what you say. Read the link. They're dirtbags.

The "best friend" (glad I don't have one like that) had Speicher's two children take HIS last name. Talk about 'moving in'.....so they're all Speicher-Harris's.

As far as waiting 18 mos to marry, don't kid yourself. They were prolly gf/bf long before 'tying the knot'.




When Lieutenant Commander Michael Scott Speicher’s FA/18 Hornet vanished from the radar screens over Iraq in the 1991 Gulf war, everyone — including his family — accepted that he had been killed by a ground-to-air missile.

His widow, Joanne, was left to comfort their two young children. She in turn was consoled by his best friend and fellow navy pilot, Buddy Harris. They married 18 months later and had two children of their own.

Then evidence began to emerge that Speicher may have survived and become a prisoner of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Throughout the build-up to last year’s war and in the months after, Harris flew to the Pentagon for secret briefings on the search for Speicher, never knowing whether the friend whose place he had taken as husband and father would return to reclaim it.

The Sunday Times has obtained details of the search and has interviewed witnesses who claim Speicher did indeed survive. They say the pilot was taken to a house near the spot where his jet crashed in the desert west of Baghdad and then handed over to Saddam’s security police.

A team of American experts has scoured prisons in and around the Iraqi capital. It discovered Speicher’s initials on a cell wall and documents indicating that at one stage he was injured. But it has heard conflicting accounts about his ultimate fate.

The Americans were told by one source that he had been executed years ago; by another that he was still being held prisoner by one of Saddam’s most feared lieutenants after the Washington-led invasion.

In recent days the Pentagon has indicated that a lack of any conclusive evidence has convinced officials that Speicher is dead. His family nevertheless refuses to give up hope.

They claim he was abandoned in 1991 when Dick Cheney, then defence secretary and now vice-president, announced his death, and is being abandoned again because to admit mistakes would be difficult in the run-up to the presidential election. Harris, who married Speicher’s widow only to be told that he might not be dead after all, says he has hoped all along that his friend would return home safely, whatever the impact on his family.

“We will throw a huge welcome home party,” he said. “Then we will deal with whatever comes next in an adult and private manner.”

Harris, 44, added: “I want to be able to look him in the eye and say, ‘This is what I did, this is why I did it’. And I can’t imagine him being displeased.”

When Speicher’s aircraft vanished he left behind Joanne, his college sweetheart, Megan, three, and one-year-old Michael.

“I knew Joanne before she and Scott got married,” Harris said. “She was like a sister. We had a lot of fun together. We were all pretty close. Scott was the leader of his class, a fun-loving, nice guy, always with a smile on his face. We had that connection between us.”

Speicher became a national hero when, in May 1991, a memorial stone was erected in Arlington national cemetery in Washington.

It was less than a year after marrying Joanne that Harris, who was working at the Pentagon, heard that wreckage from the jet had been found intact. He decided to keep the news from his wife, uncertain how it would affect their marriage.

The Pentagon considered mounting a special forces operation to rescue Speicher if he could be located.
“I felt it was a mission we had to perform because we never leave one of our own out there without hope,” said Tim Connolly, assistant deputy secretary of special operations at the time.

American officials approached the International Committee of the Red Cross, which obtained permission to search the crash site. It found the cockpit canopy and a flight suit with the legs cut open. There were no signs of blood.

Harris knew he had to tell Joanne. “Up to that point, there was just no sense in making her more miserable over possibilities,” he said.

She took it well, he explained, but added: “It wasn’t a happy environment for a while. I mean, you can just imagine trying to give that kind of information to your wife.”

Stories began to trickle in from Iraqi defectors about an American pilot being held in Iraq. Then in 1998 an Iranian pilot, Hossein Lashgari, was released after being held for 17 years by the Iraqis. Iran had long given him up for dead.

By this time Congress had started asking questions about Speicher. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate select committee on intelligence, was given a private briefing and went public with his outrage.

“We have quite a few people that dropped the ball,” he admitted. “Quite frankly, I think some people ought to be court martialed.”

In 2001 Richard Danzig, the navy secretary, changed Speicher’s status from killed in action to missing in action, the first formal acknowledgment that he might have survived. He was promoted to captain and salary payments to his family resumed.

In 2002 the navy reclassified him as missing in action, captured. In the run-up to last year’s invasion, he was declared a prisoner of war.

“I think it is very likely that he could be alive,” Roberts said. “And that makes you stop and think that for 12 years, here is a young man who has gone to bed every night or awakened every morning wondering, ‘When is my country going to come get me?’ ”

Cindy Laquidara, the Speichers’ lawyer, spoke to an Iraqi defector who reported seeing a captive American pilot. At least two other defectors told US intelligence they were aware of Speicher’s existence. A small team attached to the US Marines who entered Baghdad 18 months ago was assigned to find him.

For two days six experts concentrated the search on Hakimiyah prison, where they discovered the initials “MSS” scratched into a cell wall. They also found documents indicating he had been hurt in captivity and had been moved between 18 locations around the country.

There were unverified reports that Speicher had been executed by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, one of Saddam’s closest aides. A body, said to have 30 bullet holes, was supposedly buried in one of two possible locations, although extensive searches failed to uncover it.

However, it was also claimed that General Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as “Chemical Ali”, kept Speicher with him following the war. Al-Majid was captured but has refused to talk about Speicher.

The Iraq Survey Group looking for weapons of mass destruction also contained a team of seven intelligence experts known as Task Force Speicher whose sole job was to hunt for him.

A report by the group revealed that a defector from Saddam’s Special Security Organisation had provided names of witnesses who had seen or known of Speicher in captivity.

In Washington, another 15 experts from the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency were dedicated to finding him. A search team that tried to reach the crash site two months after the fall of Baghdad was foiled by attacks from insurgents.

However, several witnesses told The Sunday Times they remembered Speicher’s jet. Mashel Shehan al-Asafe, 61, a sheep merchant, said: “Two shepherds who were close to the place where the aircraft crashed helped him. They brought him to my house and I gave him water and some food.

“When we spoke to him it was with our hands, because we could not understand his words. I remember his name and it was Speicher, as you say.”

Speicher was taken by car to the nearest large town of Hit, west of Ramadi, where he was handed to police. Al-Asafe added: “He was injured and he was treated by a medical doctor in Ramadi.”

All the developments in the official hunt have been disclosed to Harris at his Pentagon briefings. Some information is difficult to share with Joanne and the children, he said.

“There are moments when we think we’re on the verge of bringing Scott home,” he explained. “But because it is an emotional rollercoaster and much of it doesn’t pan out, I sit and absorb it all. If I passed it all on to the family we would all be basket cases.”

Harris believes there is no doubt Speicher was in captivity. “I’ve spoken with the president several times about this and I’ve been assured by him he will never give up looking for Scott. He will make sure this is resolved and he has given me his word and I’m going to hold him to that.”

Friends of Joanne say she has dealt with the news of her husband by “putting it all into a compartment that she refuses to open."

“She has moved on and at times says she doesn’t want to look back,” said a close friend. “It makes her sound uncaring and she’s not but she’s had to move on with her life.”

Harris, on the other hand, remains preoccupied with the search. “I gotta find out the truth,” he said. “This is important, the most important thing in my life."
[link to www.arlingtoncemetery.net]

Well seeing as how much of the above turned out to be wrong, your baseless speculations and mis-characterizations make you quite the dirtbag.


NO, YOU are the dirtbag, plus you can't read.

BTW, his 'widow' received Speicher's back pay retroactively when his status was changed to MIA. On top of that, her second hubby has a 6 figure salary at the Pentagon.

Think that's enough money for her, dirtbag? Do ya?

Nope. She's suing the radio manufacturer stating that her dead husband's radio malfunctioned when his plane crashed.

Too bad your best friend doesn't start a 'relationship' with your spouse the minute you go missing.

But then, a dirtbag like you would need a friend and a spouse.

GFY.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 740157


I read it all and your smear job reveals you to be a douchebag and a dirtbag, I wouldn't blame your wife or your dog for stepping out on you.
I thought I'd beat the inevitibility of death to death just a little bit.
War is Lies
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08/02/2009 01:49 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
Cliff Notes version plz ?

Was he ever in captivity, or simply found dead and buried near the crash site ?
Anonymous Coward
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08/02/2009 07:53 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
Hmmm. I do wonder how many Iraqis were killed by the 'good' Captain Speicher dropping bombs on them. But I suppose that doesn't matter in the U.S. - only that his remains were found and his wife and buddy were an 'item' before his death.

Priorities. Where are they?
Anonymous Coward
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08/02/2009 07:59 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
He may have been shot down by a Mig 29. In that case it would be the only US aircraft shot down by another plane in the Iraqi conflicts.
Anonymous Coward
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08/02/2009 08:09 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
I don't even believe this story. An Iraqi citizen knew of two other Iraqi citizens who knew that a group of bedouins buried the dead body of Capt. Speicher..

His downed plane happened in 1991...18 years ago. Soooo, just NOW an Iraqi who knows Iraqis who knew some bedouins...come up with this story.

All the other evidence over the years pointed to his flight suit being found, his initials on one of the Iraqi prisons, a prisoner who met him and took a lie detector test and PASSED it. He could have died in one of those prisons and his remains transferred to where they were recently picked up.

I would love to believe this new story, but I think it is just another lie in a long, long list of lies fed to us.
Anonymous Coward
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08/02/2009 09:12 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
BTW... his ex-wife and "best friend" are still dirtbags.
 Quoting: Mr. Whitey

And who the hell are you to pass judgement? Moron!
Mr. Whitey  (OP)

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08/02/2009 10:07 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
Cliff Notes version plz ?

Was he ever in captivity, or simply found dead and buried near the crash site ?
 Quoting: War is Lies 640505


He was never in captivity. He died when he hit the ground and was buried.

There has been many Iraqi's who said they knew the burial site, but they were wrong and when people went to look, they found nothing.

The reason why it is hard to contact the Bedouin people, they very nomadic and stand offish to everyone.

For the guy who wanted the link.... besides being on front page of most news sites, I'll give you the defenselink...

[link to www.defenselink.mil]
If you force me to do violence, I shall be so savage and so cruel, and hurt you so badly that the thought of revenge shall never cross your mind. -Machiavelli

There is nothing more real than a man’s character and values. The track record of what he has actually done is far more real than anything he says, however elegantly he says it. -Thomas Sowell


Rep. Paul Ryan's [R-WI] 'A Roadmap For America's Future': [link to www.americanroadmap.org]
Mr. Whitey  (OP)

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08/02/2009 10:15 PM
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Re: BREAKING>> Captain Michael Scott Speicher who was shot down in '91 during the Gulf War, body remains found!!!!
BTW... his ex-wife and "best friend" are still dirtbags.

And who the hell are you to pass judgement? Moron!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 738473


While the Navy was playing the whole "He survived. No he didn't" game, his best friend married his wife during one of the "He's dead" periods. They would then get on the news and cry on local TV telling everyone how they both deserved to know the truth about what did happen. Shakespeare's "doth protest too much" had locals giving money to their donations to whatever fund or foundation they had. They were going to make some type of memorial or something... And.... aboslutely jack shit came of it. Something about those two is dirty.
If you force me to do violence, I shall be so savage and so cruel, and hurt you so badly that the thought of revenge shall never cross your mind. -Machiavelli

There is nothing more real than a man’s character and values. The track record of what he has actually done is far more real than anything he says, however elegantly he says it. -Thomas Sowell


Rep. Paul Ryan's [R-WI] 'A Roadmap For America's Future': [link to www.americanroadmap.org]





GLP