MacDill recognizes veteran POW with lasting impact on personnel (Leroy Stutz)

Veterans of MacDill pause to reflect the passing of one of their finest, Colonel Leroy W. Stutz on July 9th.

Stutz served 30 years at duty stations across the Air Force beginning his career in 1964 earning his wings as a RF-4C Phantom II pilot before completing his upgrade training and heading to the growing conflict in Southeast Asia.

A combat veteran of 64 missions there, it was on his final mission over North Vietnam Leroy was shot down and captured December 2, 1966. He was listed as MIA for the next three years. His status was changed to POW in 1969 and he remained in captivity.

It was not until the Paris Peace Accords were signed on March 3, 1973 that Leroy was released and he could finally return to the United States and his family.

The core of the life he left behind was his relationship to his wife Karen. Leroy always talked about how much Karen had endured and supported him. As he couldn’t be married as a cadet, Karen had waited four years to marry. After two short years of marriage, he left for Vietnam. Then Karen waited once again, almost seven years, for him to be found and ultimately for his return home.

Upon his return to the United States in 1973 he was medically grounded from flying. Victim of harsh treatment at the hands of the North Vietnamese for almost the entirety of that conflict, Leroy and his wife Karen could be forgiven from ending their time with the Air Force.

Other Books You Might Be Interested In

Contact Us