Scott Speicher was born on July 12, 1957, in Kansas City, Missouri. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 17, 1980, and entered Aviation Officer Candidate School on July 20, 1980. Speicher was commissioned an Ensign on October 31, 1980, and was designated a Naval Aviator in November 1981. After completing Naval Justice School at Newport, Rhode Island, Speicher was assigned to VA-174 in August 1982, where he flew the A-7 Corsair II. In May 1983, he was transferred to VA-105, where he continued to fly A-7s until he joined VFA-106 in December 1986, flying the F/A-18 Hornet. CDR Speicher flew F/A-18s with VFA-81 from December 1989 until he was shot down on the first day of the Gulf War on January 17, 1991. At the end of the war, he was declared Killed in Action, but his remains were never recovered. In January 2001, in a highly unusual move, his status was changed to Missing in Action, and it was changed again in October 2002 to Missing/Captured. His remains were found buried in Iraq in July 2009, and he was interred at Jacksonville Memory Gardens in Orange Park, Florida.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation w/Valor reads:
For heroism while participating in aerial flight as a Pilot of an F/A-18 aircraft while serving with Strike Fighter Squadron 81 embarked aboard the USS SARATOGA (CV 60) on 17 January 1991. Tasked to provide suppression of enemy air defenses during the initial strike of Operation DESERT STORM, Lieutenant Commander Speicher delivered his AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missiles against three separate, active enemy threat systems. In the face of withering enemy air to air and surface to air defenses, he courageously positioned his aircraft in the optimum firing envelope, maximizing delivery parameters in order to silence critical ground defenses. Following delivery of his weapons, Lieutenant Commander Speicher's aircraft was shot down and his personal status remains "missing in action." His total commitment to this critical support mission dramatically enhanced the survivability of dedicated attack assets, contributing immeasurably to the resounding success of the strike. Lieutenant Commander Speicher's outstanding leadership, tactical expertise, and loyal devotion to duty in the face of hazardous flying conditions reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.