HARLEY, LEE DUFFORD

Name: Lee Dufford Harley
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit:
Date of Birth: 21 January 1940
Home City of Record: Danville VA
Date of Loss: 18 May 1966
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 171500N 1061000E (XE256083)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: O1E

Other Personnel In Incident: Andre R. Guillet (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: Airman First Class Lee D. Harley was the pilot and Capt. Andre Guillet
was serving as observer aboard an O1E aircraft which departed on May 18, 1966
for a mission over Laos. While in Laos, west of the demilitarized zone and just
south of the famed Ban Karai Pass, the little spotter plane was shot down. Air
Force officials told the families that the plane burst into flames on impact and
the crew could not be recovered.

If this were all there was to the story, critics wonder, why did the Air Force
not declare the two men Killed/Body Not Recovered? A reasonable assumption is
that there exists no certainty that the two men were killed when their plane
went down, and the possibility exists that they could have successfully bailed
out before impact. Regardless, it is strongly suspected that the Lao or the
North Vietnamese know the fates of the crew of the O1E.

Guillet and Harley are two of nearly 600 Americans who were lost in Laos during
American involvement in the Vietnam War. U.S. presence in Laos was in violation
of Laos' neutrality guaranteed at Geneva by agreement of several nations. But
because the Vietnamese (and also the Chinese) were operating in Laos as well, it
was convenient for all parties concerned to "look the other way." As a
consequence, it would not have been appropriate to recognize the communist
government of Laos, the Pathet Lao, in a treaty to end the war - since we were
not at war with Laos - and the American prisoners the Pathet Lao stated they
held were abandoned.

As reports continue mount concerning Americans still missing in Southeast Asia,
many authorities are convinced that hundreds of them are still alive today. One
must wonder, are Guillet and Harley among them? If so, what must they be
thinking of the country they proudly served?

Andre R. Guillet was promoted to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant and Lee D.
Harley to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained missing.