From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Leland Sage '66

Date of birth: December 25, 1943

Date of death: June 23, 1969

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1966 Lucky Bag:


From the January 1970 issue of Shipmate:

Lt. Leland C. C. Sage, USN, first reported as missing in action on 23 June while on a night combat mission over Southeast Asia, has been determined killed in action. Born in Chicago, Ill., Lt. Sage was a high school honor student and a member of the Sixth Company at the Naval Academy before he was graduated from the Academy in June 1966. Receiving his wings in Nov. 1967 following flight training at Pensacola and Chase Field, he reported to the Naval Air Station at Lemoore, Calif., attached to Attack Squadron 127. In May 1968 Lt. Sage joined Attack Squadron 144 which deployed aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard in March 1969 for a WestPac cruise.

Among other medals he was awarded five Air Medals, the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Service Medal.

Survivors include his mother Mrs. Joseph Good of 411 S. May St., Bensenville, Ill. 60106; two brothers, and a sister.

From Find A Grave:

LTjg Leland C.C. Sage was a Skyhawk pilot assigned to VA144 onboard USS BON HOMME RICHARD.

On June 23, 1969, he launched in his Skyhawk on a night combat mission into Laos. Once the flight arrived in the mission area, Lt. Sage contacted the on site Forward Air Controller (FAC) for target assignment.

The flight was cleared in to attack an enemy target and, after rolling in over his target, Leland Sage's aircraft was observed to impact the ground and explode.

No rocket explosion from the ejection seat was seen, nor any other evidence of ejection. It was believed that the verified anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) fire directed at the Skyhawks was the cause of the aircraft loss.

Aerial search and rescue (SAR) efforts were immediately initiated, but no further communication could be established with the downed pilot.

The intense enemy activity in the area precluded a ground search of the area for Leland Sage.

At the time search efforts were terminated, Leland Sage was listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

Lee was engaged to be married when he was lost, according to a post on Wall of Faces.


From Wall of Faces:

I was serving with Lee in VA-144 embarked in the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) when he didn't return from a night mission. I remember him as always smiling, cheerful, with a great sense of humor. He was quite tall and just barely fit into the cockpit of the A-4F. Everyone, including the enlisted personnel, liked him because he was such a friendly person. My hope is someday the MIA folks will find him and bring him home. CWO3 J. BEMENDERFER, USN (RET.), 6/18/16

From Wall of Faces:

Lee lived across the street from my mother and father on Burlwood Lane in Lemoore CA. My parents are deceased now, but I remember all the times he stopped by to talk with them and the other neighbors who had gathered on their front lawn in the warm evenings. Our neighborhood and street had so many Navy pilots sharing houses, just before going to Vietnam, and it wasn't uncommon for them to get together like this. I remember the day my parents learned of Lee being shot down and still tear up as if it was yesterday. Lee Sage shared a house with another pilot also named Lee. I understand this Lee died in a plane accident after Vietnam. To both Lees, thank you for being my parent's friends and thank you for serving our country. God Bless...... KAREN BILLICK HENRY, KANDKHENRY@MSN.COM, 2/4/15

From Wall of Faces:

I was engaged to Lee when he was shot down and not recovered. The love lives on after all these years. Lee was a wonderful Dad to my two children in the short time we had him. A wonderful man who will never be forgotten. BCTAYLOR08@YAHOO.COM, 2/2/15

My name is Leland Aaron Sage, and Leland was my uncle. My father named me after him, as an act of respect for his brother. From time to time, I wonder who Leland was and what his personality was like. If anyone out there knew him personally, please send me a message and let me know. LELAND SAGE, 4/21/03

High School Classmate

Lee and I shared a dream of attending USNA and flying. He received the appointment and deserved it. A fine scholar and athlete who served his country in the best traditions of the Navy. His service was for us all. JOHN RUSSELL, 3/2/03

I attended classed with Lee, and remember him well. He was always saying something funny, but whenever a task came up, Lee would do his share. I still miss him. PHIL MCCAFFERTY, 6/7/01

After the Academy, Lee and I went through flight training together including Warner Springs Survival Training. During our time in the camp compound, Lee escaped 5 or 6 times -- setting a record for escapes. He was always looking for ways to challenge himself to the next level. It was a night bombing run in Mugia Pass that claimed Lee. Lee we miss you, we miss the GTO runs, life of the party, all round great guy. DAVID FITCH, 6/24/00

Related Articles

John Doherty '66 and Michael Odening '66 were also in 6th Company.

Class of 1966

Leland is one of 36 members of the Class of 1966 on Virtual Memorial Hall.