Schoeppner, Leonard John, LT

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary Designator/NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1969-1970, 131X, USS Ranger (CVA-61)
Service Years
1965 - 1970
Lieutenant Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Schoeppner, Leonard John (CHOPS), LT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Canton, OH
Last Address
Canton, OH

Casualty Date
Mar 09, 1970
Non Hostile- Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Tonkin Gulf
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
13W 101 / Court B

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial
  2015, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2017, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2017, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page

 Tributes from Members  
Friends Remember posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 432
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Naval Aviator Wings

 Duty Stations
VF-21 Free LancersUSS Ranger (CVA-61)
  1968-1970, 131X, VF-21 Free Lancers
  1969-1970, 131X, USS Ranger (CVA-61)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1969-1970 Yankee Station, North Vietnam
 Colleges Attended 
Ohio State University
  1961-1965, Ohio State University1
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Memorial Marker also at Calvary Cemetery, Massillon, OH
  Mar 12, 2017, General Photos1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
LT Leonard J. Schoeppner and LTJG Rex L. Parcels Jr. were F4 pilots assigned to Fighter Squadron 21 onboard the USS RANGER. On March 9, 1970, the two were assigned a photo reconnaissance escort mission in their F4J Phantom. Schoeppner was the pilot and Parcels served as the Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) on the flight. 

Schoeppner and Parcels launched at 1200 hours on that day. Their climbout and aerial refueling were normal. Because of low ceilings and poor visibility in the reconnaissance aircraft's target area, the escort mission was cancelled. Schoeppner's aircraft was diverted to their secondary mission assignment as combat air patrol for the Task Force. The reassignment occurred about one hour after their takeoff. 

Schoeppner reported his position as overhead the RANGER in the Gulf of Tonkin at 17,000 feet. He was instructed to rendezvous with another squadron F4, but he failed to contact the newly assigned control agency for the required vector. Contact between Schoeppner's and Parcels' aircraft and the ship's search radar was also lost at about this time (1330). 

A preliminary search was conducted, using aircraft already airborne in the vicinity of the carrier. With no success on this preliminary search, the assistance of other assets was utilized (seven destroyers, seven helicopters, four A7's, three OV10's, two HC130's, two E1's, one E2, one C1A, one C131, and one P3). A thorough and detailed coverage of this large area was attested to by a variety of non-pertinent floating debris recovered by the SAR force, including objects as small as an old life jacket.

A pilot from the HANCOCK reported that he had seen an F4-type aircraft in a dive at approximately 4,000 feet. All other F4 pilots airborne at this time stated that they had not engaged in such a maneuver. The diving aircraft was thought to possibly be that of Schoeppner and Parcels. With weather conditions as they were, they may have inadvertently entered a maneuver, such as a dive, which carried them to an altitude too low to effect a recovery after their condition was realized. 
Not Specified
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