Name: Leonard Corbett Eastman
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: VFP 63
Date of Birth: 25 June 1933
Home City of Record: Bernardston MA
Date of Loss: 21 June 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 213600N 1063500E (XJ638891)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RF8A
Missions: 45+

Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

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


SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of
Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North
Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively
by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
reported shot down on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier
fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The
aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.

The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were
the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie
carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions
as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a
heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were
used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo
version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and
frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF-A models were equipped
for photo reconnaissance. The RF-G were also photographic versions, but with
additional cameras and navigational equipment.

The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar
fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or
destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader
pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war. In addition,
there were 16 pilots who went down on photographic versions of the aircraft.
Of these 16, seven were captured (six were released, one died in captivity).

Lt. Leonard Eastman was the pilot of an RF8A on a combat mission in Lang Son
Province, North Vietnam on June 21, 1966. As he was about 15 miles southwest
of the city of Lang Son of his aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed.
Eastman was captured by the Vietnamese, and held prisoner until his return
in Operation Homecoming in the spring of 1973.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned
American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return
unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the
honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly
held. It's time we brought our men home.

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

Commander- United States Navy
Shot Down: June 21, 1966
Released: February 12, 1973
I grew up in a small country town of 1500 people, in Massachusetts. I
studied mechanical engineering at Northeastern University in Boston and
graduated in 1957. I joined the Navy that same year.

My Navy service has been primarily with photographic reconnaissance
squadrons. I have attended the Navy's photographic school, the postgraduate
school at Monterey, California. I have also served as a flight instructor in
the Naval Air Training Command.

My future is with the Navy. My expressed desires are to continue flying and
I expect to be able to do so. As a POW, the greatest sustaining factor for
me was faith in a great and powerful country. My Country.


Leonard Eastman retired from the United States Navy as a Commander. He and
his wife Jackie reside in Maryland.

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