Leonard Murray Lee

United States Navy
08 July 1935 - 08 December 1977
Pulaski, Virginia
Panel 32E Line 076


Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Leonard Murray Lee

13 Aug 2005

I was fortunate enough to wear LCdr Leonard Lee's MIA bracelet. I was also, unfortunately, in an accident and lost his bracelet. I'm sad to say this but after losing the bracelet, I wasn't reminded on a daily basis that he was still missing. After visiting "his wall" my thoughts were directed towards him once again and after searching for him, I was saddened, but relieved, that his body has finally come home and there was closure after so many years.

I read that he was a pilot of a Phantom fighter jet. He was, obviously, an extremely brave man who fought so unselfishly for our country. How sad that his family and friends had to wait so many years to finally put him to rest. I know that until one actually "sees" one's remains, the hope continues on forever. He died valiantly defending all of us and my heart salutes him for sacrificing his life for all. Thank you Lt. Cdr. Leonard Lee, I was so proud to wear your bracelet, may it too now rest in peace.

Rebecca Dormire Larussa

14 May 2007

I now wear Leonard Lee's MIA Bracelet. I found it at a street sale in New York City, and bought it, curious about its story. Searching on the internet I found this site, and was shocked to see that someone had worn it before me, and lost it. I wear it almost every day and I love to tell people its story. For me, it's a constant reminder of the futility of war, and the lives it costs.


A Note from The Virtual Wall

A section of F-4s from VF-114 embarked in USS KITTY HAWK was conducting a strike against a target near Cape Falaise, some 25 miles north of Vinh in North Vietnam. The weather was marginal, with the cloud base at about 1000 feet, and the two crews decided to deliver their ordnance with a loft delivery rather than a dive-bombing delivery. In a loft delivery, the aircraft runs in at low level, initiates a 4-G pull-up, and releases its weapons in a kind of toss delivery to the target. After weapons release the pilot either rolls out as he approaches the top of the loop or continues over the top to egress outbound along more or less the same track used to approach the target. By using a loft delivery the crews expected to be able to get better accuracy, since they would be approaching and sighting on the target under the cloud deck, rather than trying to attack the target through holes in the cloud layer.

The first aircraft to go in lined up, successfully engaged the target, and completed the maneuver without difficulty. The second, F-4B BuNo 153005, made his run-in, intiated pull-up, entered the clouds - and disappeared. An E-2 Hawkeye that was providing radar following lost contact with the F-4, no parachutes were seen, and no emergency beepers were heard. SAR efforts failed to find either wreckage or signs of the two crewmen, LCDR Leonard M. Lee of Pulaski, Virginia, and LTJG Roger B. Innes, Chicago, Illinois.

Both men were carried as Missing in Action, and were promoted while in that status, until the Secretary of the Navy approved Presumptive Findings of Death (Lee on 08 Dec 1977). Their remains were repatriated on 14 July 1999; positive identification of LCDR Innes's remains was announced on 23 June 2000, while CDR Lee's remains were identified on 27 July 2000.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 25 Aug 2005
Last updated 08/10/2009