An American in the Basement


An American in the Basement by Amy Waters Yarsinske

Winner of the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award for General Non-Fiction

An American In the Basement

The ordeal of U.S. Navy Captain Michael Scott “Spike” Speicher, left to die after he was shot down over Iraq on January 17, 1991, is the latest in a chain of betrayals and cover-ups that have cost many an American serviceman his life. Now, Speicher’s story can finally be told in all its sad and sordid detail. An American in the Basement documents his shameful abandonment by our government, along with the history of America’s prisoners of war and missing in action, dating back to our nation’s beginnings, and revealing for the first time information that the American public was never meant to know.

Secrets that kill people are hard to keep. For anyone with a conscience the guilt and pain of living with the burden of suppressed truth cannot be contained forever. When the author interviewed and counseled men and women who eventually tried to help Scott Speicher, she always thanked them on Scott’s behalf, though to many this was gut-wrenching. “If I were Scott I wouldn’t thank any of us who stood by and did nothing,” said a member of the evaluation team that convened immediately after Speicher was shot down on January 17, 1991 – the same group of military officers and “men in clothes” [civilian] who began the cover-up that sealed Scott Speicher’s fate.

“This thing cost a good man years of suffering and eventually his life, and it cost a wife her husband and children their father; there is no thank you or forgiveness for such a thing… My motives aren’t pure, at best I’m trying to extinguish my own guilt; what’s done cannot be undone… I never spoke a word to anyone until… the guilt caught up with me and it was far too late. I will never be able to make up for the decision I made to forget and move along. I just try to honor him by being a good father, grandfather, husband, friend and countryman. Thank you so much for taking up this fight for those of us who wouldn’t.”

Servicemen and women, plus every parent, family member or friend of one, should seriously question the sincerity of the oft-repeated pledge made by their leaders and the military chain of command to do everything in their power to search for, locate, assist and recover all prisoners of war and missing in action. Amy Waters Yarsinske shows us through painstaking research and a true passion for justice that this pledge is, when politically inconvenient, just an empty promise.

Winner, Next Generation Indie Book Award for General Non-fiction, 2014

Praise for An American in the Basement:

“This true hero and fighter-pilot, shot down during the first Gulf War back in 1991, performed super-human feats trying to survive in Iraq. But he was betrayed and forsaken. Thank God, Amy – who’s covered this story from day one – never gave up. A MUST-READ that rates all of our five stars.” — Major Glenn MacDonald USAR retired, editor-in-chief

“This is a MUST READ for all Americans. Ms Yarsinske’s research has allowed the truth surrounding the Prisoner of War and Missing in action issue to see the light of day. The documented depth of the research combined with her detailed explanation leaves no doubt that Capt. Scott Speicher was alive for well over a decade in the hands of our country’s enemy and our leaders chose to do nothing. Ms Yarsinske confirms that the ‘mindset to debunk’ the facts and truth connected to our Live Prisoners of War is as prevalent today as it was 40 years ago. Excellent Read.” — Jim ‘Moe’ Moyer, chairman, The Ride Home, Inc. and national co-chairman, Honor-Release-Return, Inc.

“As a POW-MIA activist for over three decades, I deeply regret not having read An American in the Basement when it was gifted to me last year [2013]. I further regret that my focus on POWs from America’s wars prior to the first Gulf War made me feel that inasmuch as we were victorious in the Gulf War that the POW issue for that war was not the same issue. I was certainly wrong and Ms. Yarsinske has most admirably demonstrated that the indifference and corruption in our Defense bureaucracy and our high command has continued unabated. This is a book that requires more than reading, it is a call to action. Despite the phrase so often used by our military, ‘we leave no one behind’, they have and they do. It is notable that some of the personalities noted as responsible for Scott’s abandonment continue their lives and careers which they, by their inaction and indifference, denied Scott. These individuals are part of the problem America now faces with the loss of her moral compass. For Scott’s sake and for our all of America’s abandoned, for her tremendous research and dedication, the American people, especially those whose loved ones are still prisoners of war and missing in action, Amy Yarsinske has earned great accolades for this effort.” — John J. Molloy, chairman, National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition

“[Amy Waters Yarsinske], an expert in contemporary and historical naval aviation, drew her conclusions from interviews with government and military officials, diplomats, pilots and Iraqi defectors and informers.”  — Orlando Sentinel on No One Left Behind


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