Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Brother Abroad

The remains of the first American lost in the Persian Gulf War have been found in Iraq, the military said Sunday, after struggling for nearly two decades with the question of whether he was dead or alive.

The Pentagon said the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology on Saturday had positively identified the remains of Navy Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher, whose disappearance has bedeviled investigators since his fighter jet was shot down over the Iraq desert on the first night of the 1991 war.

The top Navy officer said the discovery illustrates the military's commitment to bring its troops home.

"Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be," said Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations.

The Pentagon initially declared Speicher killed, but uncertainty — and the lack of remains — led officials over the years to change his status a number of times to "missing in action" and later "missing-captured." The family Speicher left behind, from outside Jacksonville, Fla. — continued to press for the military to do more to resolve the case.

Family spokeswoman Cindy Laquidara said relatives learned on Saturday that Speicher's remains had been found.

"The family's proud of the way the Defense Department continued on with our request" to not abandon the search, she said. "We will be bringing him home."

Laquidara said the family would have another statement after being briefed by the defense officials, but she didn't know when that would be.

More than a decade after he was shot down in a combat mission, the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq finally gave investigators the chance to search inside Iraq. That led to a number of new leads, including the discovery of what some believed were the initials "MSS" scratched into the wall of an Iraqi prison.

The search also led investigators to excavate a potential grave site in Baghdad in 2005, track down Iraqis said to have information about Speicher and make numerous other inquiries in what officials say was an exhaustive search.

Officials said Sunday that they got new information last month from an Iraqi citizen, prompting Marines stationed in the western province of Anbar to visit a location in the desert which was believed to be the crash site of Speicher's FA-18 Hornet.

The Iraqi said he knew of two other Iraqis who recalled an American jet crashing and the remains of the pilot being buried in the desert, the Pentagon said.

"One of these Iraqi citizens stated that they were present when Captain Speicher was found dead at the crash site by Bedouins and his remains buried," the Defense Department said in a statement.

The military recovered bones and multiple skeletal fragments and Speicher was positively identified by matching a jawbone and dental records, said Rear Adm. Frank Thorp.
He said the Iraqis told investigators that the Bedouins had buried Speicher. It was unclear whether the military had information on how soon Speicher died after the crash.

Some had said they believed Speicher ejected from the plane and was captured by Iraqi forces, and the initials were seen as a potential clue he might have survived. There also were reports of sightings. Laquidara was among those who said she believed he survived the crash.

"It's really easy to put out a yellow ribbon but not so easy to allocate resources to find a missing serviceman or woman," she said earlier this year. "If Scott's not alive now, he was for a very long time, and that could happen to somebody else."

While dental records have confirmed the remains to be those of Speicher, the pathology institute in Rockville, Md., is running DNA tests on the remains recovered and comparing them to DNA reference samples previously provided by family members.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Speicher's family for the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in the Pentagon statement. "I am also extremely grateful to all those who have worked so tirelessly over the last 18 years to bring Captain Speicher home."

Speicher was shot down over west-central Iraq on Jan. 17, 1991.

He is now listed as the first casuality of the Gulf War.

This is Day 183.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Realizing I never revealed the identity of the only two persons who DID NOT get sick on the vacation fishing trip, I thought I should give a little hint with the help of some fine photography.

See Exhibits A and B above.

This is Day 182.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Two financially savy men (one being my husband) were having a conversation while sipping coffee and adjusting their fancy ties. It went something like this:

Businessman 1: "So...both your wife's brothers are in the you have anything to talk about with them?"

Redheaded Businessman: "Sure...lots of stuff."

Businessman 1: "Really?"

Redheaded Businessman: "Yup."

Busineessman 1: "Huh. Well, are they really as tough as they make them out to be?"

Redheaded Businessman: "Oh yeah, they're the real deal."

Businessman 1: "Really? So, if I insulted a family member or pushed somebody"

Redheaded Businessman: "Dude, they'd kill you in seconds with their barehands."

Businessman 1: (Silence)

Redheaded Businessman: "So what does your brother in law do?"

Businessman 1: (Silence)

This is Day 182.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Brother Abroad Meets Headline of the Day

"Gates: Some US troops may be leaving Iraq early"

Though only one of the 14 combat troops has been signaled out (and not Paul's), it sounds like good news....unless the news then tells us they're coming home to ready for Afghanistan.


This is Day 181.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Brother Abroad

How did I miss yesterday?

I end every night with the same post before passing out only to awake at some unpredictable (though always early) hour and begin my day again.

There's the morning bargaining over breakfast, the errands and playdates to attend to, another round of bargaining over lunch, naps (for all of us these days), crafts/reading/playing, dinner prep....war over dinner, Daddy time, baths, reading, goodnight kisses, writing, writing, writing, and then the post.

Busy, but somewhat predictable.

How did I miss yesterday?

This is Day 180 (and yesterday was Day 179).

Monday, July 27, 2009


As we piled into the car this morning en route to the grocery store before a morning playdate, Olivia decided it was an opportune time to make a statement.

"Mommy, I wish Joesph was a girl."

"You do? But he's your buddy."

"I know, but I wish he was my sister."


"Mommy, do you know what I want?"

Oh, I know what's coming....brace yourself, brace yourself.




Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Brother Abroad

The newest season for Fantasy Football is but a month away (at least the draft), and the greatest question looms large:

1) Will TO rise like a phoenix out of Buffalo?

2) Will Michael Vick convince a team to pick him, thereby alienating fans and animal lovers everywhere?

3) Will the gods who punished Tom Brady for philandering allow redemption?


Will Paul Weaver figure out how the heck he can draft his team from Iraq via Skype?

This is Day 178.

The End is in Sight.....

I am on the last chapter.

Because I love to bang my head against my monitor...

There is a village where the barber shaves all those and only those who do not shave themselves.

Who shaves the barber?