SAGE, LELAND CHARLES COOKE
Name: Leland Charles Cooke Sage
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 144, USS BON HOMME RICHARD
Date of Birth: 25 December 1943 (Chicago IL)
Home City of Record: Waukegan IL
Date of Loss: 23 June 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 171759N 1054359E (WE779127)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 July 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 USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA 31) saw early Vietnam war action. A
World War II Essex-class carrier, she was on station participating in combat
action against the Communists as early as August 1964. Her aircraft carried
the first Walleye missiles when they were introduced in 1967. In November
1970, the BON HOMME RICHARD completed its sixth combat deployment and was
scheduled for decommissioning by mid-1971.
One of the aircraft that launched from the decks of the "Bonnie Dick" was
the Douglas Aircraft A4 Skyhawk. The Skyhawk was a perfect carrier aircraft;
it was so compact that it did not need folding wings for aboardship storage
and handling. In spite of its diminutive size, the A4 packed a devastating
punch and performed well where speed and maneuverability were essential.
1LT Leland C.C. Sage was a Skyhawk pilot assigned to VA144 onboard the USS
BON HOMME RICHARD. On June 23, 1969, he launched in his Skyhawk on a night
combat mission into Laos. After rolling in over his target, his aircraft was
observed to impact the ground and explode. No rocket explosion from the
ejection seat was seen, nor any other evidence of ejection. No further
communications were heard from him by other aircraft in the area. Enemy
activity in the area precluded a ground search.
It was suspected that anti-aircraft fire in the area had hit the aircraft,
and Sage was unable to eject from the damaged aircraft. He was classified
Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.
Leland Sage is among nearly 2500 Americans who remain missing in Indochina.
Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of these men can be accounted for.
Tragically, over 10,000 reports concerning Americans prisoner, missing or
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. since the
end of the war. Many experts say that the evidence is overwhelming that
Americans were left behind in enemy hands, and that hundreds of them are
alive today. It's time we brought our men home.