Colonel Leroy W. Stutz was a U.S. Air Force officer, pilot and prisoner of war for 2,284 days (6.25 years) during the Vietnam War.
Stutz’s 85th combat mission came on December 2, 1966. Stutz and his co-pilot, Captain Robert R. Gregory, were assigned a 55-minute photo reconnaissance mission over Hanoi, North Vietnam. During a pass over their target, their aircraft was hit by 57mm AAA ground fire and the two ejected as their aircraft crashed near Yên Bái 25 miles outside of Hanoi. After landing, the two established voice contact with each other, and both were captured.
On March 4, 1973, Stutz, promoted during his time as a prisoner to captain, was released from Hanoi. Almost 600 Americans were freed during Operation Homecoming.
Promoted to major in 1974, Stutz was an Air Officer Commanding at the Air Force Academy and then the Commandant’s Executive for Honor and Ethics. He next attended the Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1977-1978. Promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1978, he attended Maintenance Officers School at Chanute Air Force Base. He was then assigned to MacDill Air Force Base as officer in charge of the 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit, maintenance supervisor, and later commander of the 56th Aircraft Generation Squadron and assistant deputy commander for maintenance.
Promoted to colonel in 1984, Stutz then attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1984-1985. He returned to MacDill as Deputy Commander for Maintenance for the 56th Tactical Training Wing. He was next Deputy for Maintenance of the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
In July 1990, he reported to Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, where he became the vice wing commander and the chief of the operation division of the 3330th Technical Training Wing. He was put in command of the 3360th in February 1992, and appointed commander of the Training Wing in November 1992.
Colonel Stutz retired from the Air Force in June 1994, having completed 30 years on active duty.