Leetun, Darel Dean, Lt Col

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1966-1975, MIA Vietnam
Service Years
1955 - 1966
Officer Collar Insignia
Lieutenant Colonel

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

67 kb

Home State
North Dakota
North Dakota
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Leetun, Darel Dean, Lt Col.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Hettinger, North Dakota
Last Address
Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand

Casualty Date
Sep 17, 1966
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
10E 107

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
American Battle Monuments CommissionVietnam Veterans Memorial
  2005, American Battle Monuments Commission
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Air Force Reserve Command School AssignmentsAir Training Command55th Tactical Fighter Squadron
478th Tactical Fighter Squadron44th Tactical Fighter Squadron13th Tactical Fighter Squadron388th Tactical Fighter Wing
US Air Force
  1955-1956, Air Force Reserve Command
  1956-1957, 1021A, Pilot Training Class (Unknown)
  1957-1958, 1021A, Air Training Command
  1958-1961, 1021A, 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1961-1963, 1021A, 478th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1963-1966, 1021A, 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1966-1966, 1021A, 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1966-1966, 1021A, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing
  1966-1975, MIA Vietnam
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1966-1966 Various Air Missions over North Vietnam
  1966-1966 Vietnam Air Campaign (1966)
  1966-1966 Vietnam Air Offensive Campaign (1966-67)
 Colleges Attended 
North Dakota State University-Fargo
  1951-1955, North Dakota State University-Fargo
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-100 Super Sabre  F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)  
  1958-1963, F-100 Super Sabre2
  1963-1966, F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
After showing extraordinary courage during a combat mission for which he would be posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, he was almost certainly killed when his F-105 crashed in flames Sep 17, 1966 after being shot down in Lang Son Province, North Vietnam. However, he was declared missing and was promoted to Major and Lieutenant Colonel and then declared dead in 1975. His remains were found in 2004 and were buried in Arlington Jul 8, 2005 in Section 66, Grave 1316.

His AF Cross citation:
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pride in presenting the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) to Captain Darel Dean Leetun, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as Pilot of an F-105 aircraft of the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, 7th Air Force, in action against the Cao Nung Highway Bridge in North Vietnam on 17 September 1966. On that date, Captain Leetun led a flight of F-105 Thunderchiefs against a heavily defended high priority target near Hanoi. Undaunted by intense and accurate flak, deadly surface-to-air missiles, and hostile MiGs, Captain Leetun led his flight through this fierce environment to the crucial target. On the bomb run, Captain Leetun's Thunderchief was hit by hostile fire, becoming a flaming torch and nearly uncontrollable; however, Captain Leetun remained in formation and delivered his high-explosive ordnance directly on target. After bomb release, Captain Leetun's plane went out of control and was seen to crash approximately 10 miles from the target area. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Leetun reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.


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