(Washington, D.C.) – “All veterans, indeed all Americans, can be relieved that one family’s uncertainty about the fate of their loved one has been finally resolved,” said John Rowan, newly re-elected National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), referring to the recovery of the remains of Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher. Captain Speicher was shot down flying a combat mission in an F/A-18 Hornet on January 17, 1991, during the first Gulf War. His fate until now had been uncertain.
Acting on information provided by civilians in Anbar Province, Iraq, Marines went to a desert location believed to be the crash site of Speicher's jet. Remains were recovered over several days and were flown to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for scientific identification by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's Armed Forces Medical Examiner, which positively identified the remains as Speicher’s on August 1.
“Today, according to the Department of Defense, we still have 1,737 Americans missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War,” Rowan said, “and there are thousands of troops from World War II and the Korean War whose remains have never been recovered.
“We should not and cannot shirk our responsibility as a nation to see that all of our troops are returned to freedom back home or to their families for proper burial with military honors. We hold the issue of last-known alive personnel as our highest priority. Our goal is now and always has been to achieve the fullest possible accounting of servicemen missing still in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and the Chinese territorial waters.