Name: John Murray Leaver, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy
Unit: Operations Officer, Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group, 7th Fleet
Date of Birth: 17 August 1933 (Boston MA)
Home City of Record: Arlington MA
Date of Loss: 08 May 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 182105N 1075959E (AL170315)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: SH3G

Other Personnel In Incident: Edmund B. Taylor , Chief of Staff, missing,
Rear Admiral Rembrandt C. Robinson, KIA/BR.

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 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 2020


SYNOPSIS: Commander John M. Leaver was assigned as a staff officer to Commander
Cruiser Destroyer Group 7th Fleet. On May 8, 1972, he and Captain Edmund B.
Taylor were passengers aboard a helicopter attempting to make a night landing on
the fantail of the USS PROVIDENCE (CLG-6). The helicopter crashed and fell

Leaver and Taylor were both lost in the crash and their remains were never
located. They are listed with honor among the missing because no remains were
found. Their cases seem quite clear.

For others who are listed missing, however, resolution is not as simple. Many
were known to have survived their loss incident. Quite a few were in radio
contact with search teams and describing an advancing enemy. Some were
photographed or recorded in captivity. Others simply vanished without a trace.

Nearly 2500 Americans remain missing or otherwise unaccounted for in Vietnam.
Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports concerning Americans still prisoner,
missing or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the
U.S. Government. Many experts are completely convinced that hundreds of
Americans are now held captive.

One set of critics say that the U.S. has done little to address the issue of
live POWs, preferring the politically safer issue of remains return. Others
place the blame on the Vietnamese, for using the issue of POW/MIA to their
political advantage. Regardless of blame, no living American has returned
through the efforts of negotiations between the countries, and the reports
continue to pour in. Are we doing enough to bring these men home?





Return to Service Member Profiles

On May 8, 1972, an SH-3G Sea King (bureau number 149699, call sign "Mustang Angel 5") with eight personnel aboard crashed in the Gulf of Tonkin off the fantail of the cruiser USS Providence (CLG 6) while attempting a night landing. An immediate search and rescue effort was launched, and five men aboard the helicopter were safely recovered. The body of one of the passengers, the commander of Cruiser/Destroyer Flotilla 11, was recovered, but the bodies of two other passengers could not be located.

Commander John Murray Leaver Jr., who joined the U.S. Navy from Massachusetts, served aboard the Providence as the operations officer for the Rear Admiral commanding Cruiser/Destroyer Flotilla 11. He was aboard the helicopter when it crashed, and his remains were not recovered. Today, Commander Leaver is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Non-recoverable.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

Service member profile discrepancy? Please help us ensure the accuracy of each profile by submitting documentation about a service member profile.