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.