Remains of US pilot found after 18 years

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

The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology has 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.

Pentagon initially declared Speicher killed, but uncertainty — and the lack of remains — led officials over the years to change his official status a number of times to “missing in action” and later “missing-captured.” Family spokeswoman Cindy Laquidara said relatives learnt on Saturday that Speicher’s remains had been found.