Monday, January 30, 2006

I've been meaning to write something about Navy Commander Scott Speicher for a while now, and RofaSix gave me the push with his post.

My wife gave me a book called "No One Left Behind: The Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher Story" for Christmas. It's a compelling story. Before I go any further, I referred to him as Commander, while he's generally known as Lt. Commander--when his status was changed from KIA to MIA he was promoted to Commander based on time in grade.

Cmdr. Speicher was one of, if not the first, casualty of the first Gulf War. He was flying a strike mission in his F/A-18 when a MIG-25 blew through the formation. There was some confusion and the fighters were not given clearance to fire on the MIG until it was too late. Cmdr. Speicher's aircraft was hit, either by the MIG or possibly by another F/A-18 fireing on the MIG.

The author of the book, Amy Waters Yarsinsky, isn't known to me, but she appears to have the bona fides to write an authorative book. She's a former Naval Intelligence officer and her husband is a retired Naval aviator. She's written several other books, mostly historical. While the book is pretty lightweight and there are very few footnotes, she doesn't appear to be, say, an Eric von Daniken.

What the books claims as fact are that his ejection seat was found intact and separated from the wreckage of the aircraft and that the condition of the canopy, including burn marks from the explosive charges, is consistant with an ejection. Apparently review of satellite photography too long after the fact revealed that someone had constructed, and maintained, distress signals which matched his code letters.

I have my doubts that he is still alive, but we should not stop searching for him until we know for certain.

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