LEONOR, LEONARDO CAPISTRANO Remains Identified 02/15/2002
Name: Leonardo Capistrano Leonor Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 523rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn AF TH Date of Birth: 22 September 1940 Home City of Record: Astoria NY Date of Loss: 10 October 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 174800N 1064000E (XE541685) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E Refno: 1936 Other Personnel in Incident: Peter M. Cleary (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 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. NETWORK 2002.
SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.
Capt. Peter A. Cleary and Capt. Leonardo C. Leonor were pilots attached to the 523rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn Airfield, Thailand. The aircraft they flew on the combat missions they were assigned was the F4E, an electronic version of the Phantom.
On October 10, 1972, Cleary was the pilot and Leonor the navigator onboard their F4E when it was assigned a mission over North Vietnam. The aircraft did not return to friendly control, and the crew was declared missing at the time of estimated fuel exhaustion. Their last known location was on the coastline of North Vietnam at Quang Binh Province, about 5 miles south of the city of Ron.
Cleary and Leonor were maintained missing in action for the next seven years. At that time, their status was administratively changed by the Department of the Air Force to killed in action, based on no specific evidence that they were alive.
When the last American troops left Southeast Asia in 1975, some 2500 Americans were unaccounted for. Reports received by the U.S. Government since that time build a strong case for belief that hundreds of these "unaccounted for" Americans are still alive and in captivity.
"Unaccounted for" is a term that should apply to numbers, not men. Nearly 600 men were left behind in Laos, and our government did not negotiate their release. We, as a nation, owe these men our best effort to find them and bring them home. Until the fates of men like Cleary and Leonor are known, their families will wonder if they are dead or alive - and why they were deserted.
A LONG-LOST BROTHER HEADS HOME ; OFFICIAL IDENTIFICATION OF VIETNAM WAR PILOT'S REMAINS ENDS NEARLY 30 YEARS OF UNCERTAINTY FOR COLCHESTER FAMILY TRACY GORDON FOX; Courant Staff Writer
In the 29 years since Maj. Peter Cleary's F-4 Phantom disappeared over North Vietnam, his family has lived with grief punctuated by occasional flickers of hope -- but never closure....