At the beginning of the war, I briefly recounted the complicated and unresolved story of Lt. Cmdr. Scott Speicher, a Navy pilot. His F/A-18 Hornet was shot down on the first night of the Gulf War, Jan. 17., 1991. He was, and is, the only American officially unaccounted for in that conflict.
Because of continuing reports that indicated Speicher might be alive and held captive, Speicher’s status was changed twice by the Pentagon, from killed in action to missing in action in 2001 and from MIA to prisoner of war in 2002. The Pentagon said at the war’s outset that attempting to find Speicher, or his remains, would be a priority.
It looks like the government has stuck to its word. In his initial interrogation sessions, Saddam Hussein denied any knowledge of Speicher’s fate. This, and many other questions, no doubt will be revisited in the weeks and months ahead.
The only U.S. soldier unaccounted for in the current Iraq conflict is Spc. Todd M. Bates of Bellaire, Ohio. He was on a patrol on the Tigris River south of Baghdad, on December 10 when his squad leader fell overboard. Bates dived into the water and did not surface.