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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida pilot's remains found in Iraq desert



ScottWASHINGTON (AP)- The remains of the first American lost in the Gulf War have been found in Iraq, the military said Sunday, a sorrowful resolution of a nearly two-decade old question about the fate of Navy pilot Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher.

Speicher went to high school in Jacksonville and attended Florida State University, where a tennis facility was named in his honor.

The Pentagon said the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology on Saturday positively identified the remains, buried in the desert and located after officials received new information from an Iraqi citizen about a crash. Speicher's disappearance has bedeviled investigators since his fighter was shot down over the Iraq desert on the first night of the 1991 war.

His family, left behind in the Jacksonville area, pressed the military to do more to solve the mystery. They had an ally in U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who once visited the Baghdad prison cell where it was thought Speicher may have carved his initials in the wall. "We all clung to the slim hope that Scott was still alive and would one day come home to his family," Nelson said Sunday. (full story here)

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:55pm]


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