The remains of Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher have been returned to the US and positively identified more than 18 years after his jet was shot down during the First Gulf War in 1981. Via CNN:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The remains of the first American shot down in the 1991 Persian Gulf War have been uncovered, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Sunday.
U.S. Navy Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher was shot down in an F/A-18 Hornet on January 17, 1991, the first night of the war.
The announcement early Sunday of the discovery of Speicher's remains ends more than 18 years of speculation about whether Speicher may have survived the crash and been held captive, or died in captivity in the ensuing years.
"The news that Captain Speicher's remains have been recovered is a reminder of the selfless service that led him to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom," President Obama said in a statement. Video Watch: Naval aviator's remains found »
"I am grateful to the [U.S.] Marines who pursued the information that led to Captain Speicher's recovery so that he can now come home. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, and I hope that the recovery of his remains will bring them a needed sense of closure," Obama said.
Speicher's family thanked the military in a statement Sunday, saying Speicher "was a brave and wonderful father, husband, and naval officer who responded without hesitation when his country needed him. ... We thank the active duty men and women whose diligence has made this happen, and hope that this process has prevented another of our service men and women from being left behind.
"We will miss him, and will never forget. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."
Our condolences to Capt. Speicher's family and loved ones who have endured so patiently during these long years, and our thanks to the Marines who never gave up searching for him and were able to bring him home at last.