LEONARD, EDWARD W.
Name: Edward W. Leonard Rank/Branch: O3/United States Air Force, pilot Unit: 602nd ACS Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Winlock WA Date of Loss: 31 May 1968 Country of Loss: Laos/North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 163800 North 1061000 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H Missions: 250+ Other Personnel in Incident: none
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated 2008.
REMARKS: 730328 RELEASED BY DRV
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
EDWARD W. LEONARD JR. Major - United States Air Force Captured: May 31, 1968 Released: March 28, 1973
Oh, how I missed Christmas! That was one day that seemed so empty especially during those three and one half years in solitary. My hometown re-created Christmas on May 4, 1973. The Yuletide chimes rang, the homes, stores and churches were made festive for the occasion. It was the biggest celebration this small town had ever had.
What a contrast with the memories of the nearly five years of imprisonment. After being shot down while flying a rescue mission over Laos, I managed to avoid capture for two days. While sitting in a tree, a Communist soldier Iying in a hammock, looked up and saw me.
In the summer of 1969 for some unknown reason I was interrogated about a possible escape attempt. They did not appreciate my answers and as the saying goes, they tortured me until I was guilty.
I have no regrets over any of the twelve years of military service. In fact, I regard my time as senior officer in the compound as the most important job I ever had, and in the glory of the company of some of the most magnificent men I have ever known. Those years gave me the opportunity to know how to use freedom.
Boredom was the one thing I was not prepared for. I spent hours exercising, praying and filling the hours with various mental projects. I had a "patriotic hour". I recalled everything from my Boy Scout Oath to my commissioning at the Air Force Academy. Then there was "story hour" during which I imagined myself in various situations and acted the parts of every character in dramas. Dreams were many and coming home has more than fulfilled my fondest dreams.
Edward Leonard retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. He and his wife Suzanne reside in Washington State. Ed graduated from Univ. of Texas Law School in 1982 and was elected Mayor, City of Ilwaco, Washington, in 2001.