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Capt. Leonard Murray Lee, USN POW/MIA
 

Arlington National Cemetery
Section: 66  #5888

Capt. Lee's remains were recovered on 14 July99, were Identified on 27 July00
Interred 04 09-2000
(See News Release Below)

LEE, LEONARD MURRAY

Name: Leonard Murray Lee

Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy

Unit: Fighter Squadron 114, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63)

Date of Birth: 08 July 1935

Home City of Record: Pulaski VA

Date of Loss: 27 December 1967

Country of Loss: North Vietnam

Loss Coordinates: 10600N 1054400E

Status (in 1973): Missing In Action

Category: 3

Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B

Refno: 0952

Others In Incident: Roger B. Innes (missing)
Recovered: 140799; ID: 230600

 

 

SYNOPSIS: 

LtCdr. Leonard Lee had one of the most sought jobs for a pilot. Heflew aboard the F4 Phantom fighter jet. The aircraft saw so much combat in Vietnam that during the two year period of 1965 and 1966, 54 F4C's were lost. The C, D and E versions also downed 107 enemy MiGs. The Phantom's combat radius exceeded 900 miles and featured a maximum level speed of over Mach 2. Its navigation system was comprehensive and could guide the aircraft at a wide variety of levels and speeds. The navigation and bombing equipment was mostly operated by the "guy in back", the second man aboard. When Lee flew on an armed reconnaissance mission two days after Christmas 1967, his backseater was LTJG Roger B. Innes. Lee and Innes were to fly the lead aircraft in a section of two at Cap Falaise, North Vietnam. Lee reported a target, but had to position himself for a better strike angle due to poor weather. At this time his wingman was able to release his ordnance on the target. Radio communications with Lee's aircraft confirmed the strike. Lee began his bombing run immediately behind his wingman and was lost from the radar scope of the E2A radar control aircraft. No further contact was made with his aircraft. The wingman was unable to observe Lee due to his relative position and the overcast weather in the area, and proceeded out to sea in accordance with their mission briefing in case of emergency. A search and rescue effort was initiated but to no avail. No wreckage was sighted, and no emergency radio beacons were heard in the strike area. No anti-aircraft fire had been seen in the target area. Lee and Inne's aircraft went down about 50 miles west and slightly south of the city of Thanh Hoa in Nghe An Province, North Vietnam. Both men were classified Missing In Action. No one knew for sure if they bailed out successfully or died when their plane went down. A later intelligence report indicated that they were dead, but that information was never substantiated. The two remained missing, and their fates uncertain. Nearly 2500 Americans remain missing from American involvement in Indochina. Evidence continues to mount that some of them are alive and held captive. The tragedy is that these men who willingly served their country were abandoned -and know it. Isn't it time we brought them home? Leonard M. Lee was promoted to the rank of Captain, and Roger B. Innes was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander during the period they were maintained missing.

Vietnam War Memorial: 32E Row: 076


F-4B Phantom II

The below letter was sent to the President of the United States, The Vice President of the United States, Congressman Davis, and Senators Warner and Robb:

Dear Sir,

          I am writing to inquire what action is being taken to bring home our POW/MIAs from Vietnam/Laos.  Of particular interest is Capt. Leonard M. Lee USN who has been MIA since 27 December 1967.  Capt. LEE was shot down over North Vietnam.

Please advise what is being done to bring Capt. Lee home as well as all of our POW/MIAs.  All of these servicemen fought for our nation, they deserve to be brought home.

  I look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,

  Stephen R. Scherr

 

News Release
IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 15, 2000 No. 568-00
(703)697-5131(media)
(703)697-5737(public/industry)

SERVICEMEMBERS MISSING IN ACTION RETURNED

The remains of two U.S. Navy officers, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial in the U.S. One has been identified as Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Innes of Chicago. The other officer's name will not be released at the request of his family.

On Dec. 27, 1967, Innes and the other U.S. aviator were aboard an F-4B Phantom as the lead aircraft in a flight of two from the carrier, the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. The flight was an armed reconnaissance mission along the coast of North Vietnam. Innes' aircraft was observed on radar as it started its attack on an enemy target, but contact was abruptly lost in the vicinity of the target. Repeated radio calls were unsuccessful, and an extensive visual and electronic search conducted throughout the day failed to locate the aircraft. Low flight ceilings and poor visibility in the target area prevented additional search efforts.

In August 1992, teams of U.S. and Vietnamese investigators, led by Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, interviewed villagers and reviewed documentation which indicated an aircraft crashed in 1967 about 300 meters off the coast. The information was a close match to the circumstances of Innes' loss. In 1995, investigators interviewed local fishermen who pointed out a general area where their fishing nets had snagged on aircraft wreckage.

In February and March 1998, U.S. and Vietnamese divers surveyed the underwater site and recommended a full excavation. Then in May and June 1999, U.S. Navy divers operating from a Vietnamese barge, conducted the first underwater recovery operation in Vietnam in waters approximately 10-15 meters deep. The divers were able to recover remains, personal effects of the crew, and aircraft debris.

Analysis of the remains and other evidence by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii established the identity of these servicemen.

The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation demonstrated by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam that resulted in the identification of these officers. We hope that such cooperation will bring more significant results in the future. Achieving the fullest possible accounting of Americans missing in action is one of the nations highest priorities.

 


Blue Angels in Missing Man Formation courtesy of Blue Angels Alumni Assoc.

 


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Capt. Leonard M. Lee has been adopted by the Virtual Military Command-Navy.


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