SEYMOUR, LEO EARL
Name: Leo Earl Seymour
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Command & Control Detachment, MACV-SOG
Date of Birth: 14 May 1942 (Sayre PA)
Home City of Record: Towanda PA
Date of Loss: 03 July 1967
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 144500N 1062300E (YB575326)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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 2020.
SYNOPSIS: MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and
Observation Group) was a joint-service unconventional warfare task force
engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th
Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (although it was not a
Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which
provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams
performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and
interdiction into Laos and Cambodia which were called, depending on the time
frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.
SSGT Leo E. Seymour spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining
the Army. He advanced in rank and training until 1967, when he was assigned
to Command and Control Detachment, MACV-SOG.
On July 3, 1967, Seymour was a team leader of a joint U.S and indigenous
reconnaissance patrol on a combat mission in Laos. The team was called recon
team "Texas" and was operating about ten miles inside Laos in Attopeu
During the mission, the patrol stopped on a small hill for a break. During
this break, the patrol observed a number of enemy forces moving down a trail
25 meters from their position. SSGT Seymour directed an air strike on the
enemy location. Following the air strike, Seymour sent up an ambush on a
small secondary trail.
While Seymour was readying the patrol for the ambush in the Dale Xow River
Valley, two sizeable enemy columns converged at the trail junction and
noticed a psywar propaganda poster which had been tacked on a tree by a
member of the "Texas" patrol. Realizing the poster had not been there
before, the enemy began searching and spotted the forward security man of
the patrol. The security then opened fire and an intense firefight followed.
The patrol split into several elements and broke contact with the enemy.
Upon rallying, the patrol could not locate SSGT Seymour. No team member
could recall having seen Seymour after the initial contact, nor did they
hear him at any time. It is not known if he was wounded. If he departed the
area, his direction of travel was unknown.
On May 28, 1974, a report indicated SSGT Seymour's last known location was
in the vicinity of coordinates YB575326. Hostile threat in the area of loss
precluded any onground inspections of the area while the U.S. maintained a
presence in Southeast Asia.
The missions Seymour and others were assigned were exceedingly dangerous and
of strategic importance. The men who were put into such situations knew the
chance of their recovery if captured was slim to none. They quite naturally
assumed that their freedom would come by the end of the war. For 591
Americans, freedom did come at the end of the war. For another 2500,
however, freedom has never come.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to missing Americans in
Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S., convincing many authorities
that hundreds remain alive in captivity. Seymour could be among them. If so,
what must he think of us?