A 33-year-old Navy pilot, father of two young children is the first American combat casualty of the Persian Gulf war. Also identified were two other Navy pilots missing since Thursday.
The Pentagon identified Lt. Cmdr. Michael S. Speicher of Jacksonville, Fla., as missing in action after his single-seat F-A-18 Hornet fighter-bomber was shot down by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile over Iraq. Speicher was listed as an MIA because his body was not recovered. Defense Secretary Dick Cheney had said earlier that the pilot was killed.The Pentagon said Friday that a Navy A-6 Intruder and an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle were missing. The Pentagon identified the missing crewmen as Lt. Robert Wetzel, 30, and Lt. Jeffrey N. Zaun, 28. They also were classified as missing in action.
Based at Cecil Field Naval Station in Jacksonville, Speicher flew from the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, which has its home port in Mayport, a Jacksonville suburb.
A Jacksonville native, Speicher was married and had two children, a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son, said a family friend in Florida, who asked not to be identified. The family declined to talk to reporters.