The funeral motorcade of Capt Scott Speicher departs NAS Jacksonville earlier today (WJXT-TV photo).
Eighteen years after he disappeared in Iraq, Navy Captain Scott Speicher was finally laid to rest this afternoon. The Navy F/A-18 pilot, shot down on the first night of Operation Desert Storm, was listing as "missing" or "captured" for two decades until Marine search teams found his remains in the Iraqi desert. That discovery--made two weeks ago at a location near the wreckage of his downed fighter--set in motion the homecoming that concluded today in Jacksonville.
But, as we note in our new column for Examiner.com, many questions about Scott Speicher's fate remain unanswered. Did he survive ejection from his F/A-18 (as most experts believe)? Did he carve that evasion sign into the desert floor--a symbol known only to Speicher and members of his unit? How did he wind up at the location where his remains were found? Did he die at that spot from combat or ejection-related injuries, or was he executed by Saddam's troops, and deliberately buried at that site?
The Speicher family plans to continue their quest for answers, but the Pentagon seems less determined. Two weeks ago, when DoD announced recovery and identification of the missing pilot's remains, the Speichers said their private inquiry would continue. That suggests that DoD is preparing to close the books on the Speicher file; that action (in our estimation) would be premature.