Two Men, Two Wars, Same Fate - Missing/Captured in Iraq


Friends of Missing in Action/Captured Captain Michael Scott Speicher, who was captured in the First Gulf War, and Family of Missing in Action/Captured Keith "Matt" Maupin, who was captured in Operation Iraqi Freedom, come together to send message of

(I-Newswire) January 3, 2005 - On January 17th, 2005 Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher will host a prayer/candle vigil at Lake Shore United Methodist Church at 7:30 pm. The plight of two men, who have never met will bring together their friends and family members to discuss the one thing they have in common. The two men are United States Navy Pilot, Captain Michael Scott Speicher and Army Specialist Keith "Matt" Maupin. The common denominator between these two men is their status of Missing in Action/Captured in Iraq and their supporter's efforts to keep that status unchanged until they are found. The idea is to have this message heard across the nation while at the same time honoring Captain Speicher and the anniversary of his capture.

January 17, 2005, marks the fourteenth year since Speicher originally went missing in Iraq. Matt Maupin has been missing now for nine months. Keith and Carolyn Maupin will be speaking at the church to honor their son, Matt Maupin's senior counterpart, Scott Speicher. By showing the two missing service members mirrored side by side, it is hoped by the Maupin family that this will help their son's case avoid the many missteps, which have been made in the Speicher case. In contrast, Maupin's more recent capture will help to shine new light on the Speicher case, bringing public awareness to a hero that has yet to be returned home after fourteen years. Other guest speakers will participate.

Speakers will include: Bob Gandt, renowned author of military fiction including, Bogeys and Bandits, and Shadows of War, which is loosely based on Scott Speicher. Mr. Gandt also worked as writer and technical consultant for the popular TV series Pensacola:Wings of Gold. Longtime Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher member and current Delta Airlines pilot, Tim Goings. Mr. Goings piloted Apache Helicopters in the First Gulf War. POW advocate Ed Burge will speak as well as bring for viewing a special limited edition motorcycle dedicated to POW/MIA's including Captain Speicher. Former POW from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Young, Jr and many of Speicher's close friends.

Then LCDR Speicher was pronounced dead by Secretary of State Richard Cheney, the day after his plane was lost, January 18, 1991, with no search and rescue mission ever launched. On January 11, 2001, in light of new evidence that indicated Speicher safely ejected and with remains of his plane and canopy intact, President Bill Clinton and the United States Navy, took the unprecedented action of changing now Captain Speicher from KIA to MIA. On October 11, 2002 the United States Navy changed Speicher's status once again to Missing/Captured, stating, " There is no evidence that Captain Speicher is dead." Since the current war in Iraq began, the initials MSS have been found all over parts of Iraq, including in a cell in Hakmiyah Prison and a carport beam at another detention center. Scott Speicher's name was also found written in an Iraqi prison log book, dated just before the war began.

On April 9, 2004, PFC Matt Maupin's convoy is attacked west of Baghdad. April 13, 2004, Maupin is listed as missing. A videotape of Maupin surrounded by five hooded men airs on Al - Jazeera TV, April 16, 2004, confirming that Maupin has indeed been captured. May 1, 2004, the Army promotes Maupin to Specialist. One month later in June of 2004, another videotape surfaces of a man Al - Jazeera claims as Maupin. The man in the video is shown being shot twice in the head and back. July 1, 2004, Brig. Gen. Michael W. Beasley, states that, " There is no bad information, no negative information with regard to Specialist Maupin that is known now. We are continuing full efforts to locate him and return him to his family." Monday, August 9, 2004, military officials announced that analysis of the video in question is now complete. Major Mark Magalski, casualty assistant officer for the Maupin family, is quoted as saying, " There's nothing in the video that lends you to think it was Matt Maupin."

In March of 2002, Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher, Inc. was founded by Speicher's classmates of Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Florida. This group's mission is to raise awareness and finally bring Scott Speicher home. Vice President of the organization and Speicher friend Nels Jensen, says, " One reason I felt we were brought together is to serve as a beacon of light for our fallen warriors. It's necessary to point out the errors in judgements or mistakes made from 14 years ago concerning Scott, but more importantly our calling may be to ensure these mistakes never happen again as in the case of Matt Maupin." Carolyn and Keith Maupin have accepted an invitation to not only speak at this vigil but to join together with Speicher members in the fight for their son and Scott Speicher.

For more information and/or to schedule an interview with one of the speakers, please contact Georgia Davis, member of Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher, at 904-292-4197

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January 3, 2005

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