- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The family of the first U.S. service member lost in the Gulf War is at peace now that his remains have been found, but some of his loved ones still have questions about the discovery.

“It’s something we still need to resolve,” Cindy Laquidara, spokeswoman for the family of Capt. Michael “Scott” Speicher, said Monday. “This chapter is not closed.”

Capt. Speicher disappeared on a 1991 combat flight mission at the onset of the first Gulf War, and his remains were found in early July near the crash site in Iraq, the Pentagon said Sunday.

A tip led Marines to a grave in remote Anbar province, where two nomadic Bedouin tribesmen claimed they had buried the pilot.

Ms. Laquidara told The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio program that the biggest question is: Were the confirmed bone and skeletal fragments always buried near the aircraft or were they moved there?

After the Iraq war started in 2003, the initials M.S.S. were found scrawled into a wall in an Iraqi prison.

That and other information led the military to change Capt. Speicher’s status from killed in action to missing.

Ms. Laquidara said the Speicher family has it own “assets” in Iraq, including somebody who had found “significant information” suggesting that the pilot had been held at the prison. However, the prison records were destroyed when Iraqis fled the site, she said.

“Our job is to tie up the loose ends,” she said.

Capt. Speicher’s wife, Joanne, who has remarried, and their two adult children have found comfort in the discovery, but being told Saturday also brought the sense of loss that comes with word of a loved one passing, Ms. Laquidara said.

The Pentagon said Sunday that Marines, along with several Iraqis, one of whom was in the area on the day Capt. Speicher lost his life, aided the search and recovery.

The remains were recovered over several days during the past week and were flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for scientific identification, officials said.

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