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REMEMBERING LELAND

 


I would like to introduce you to an American hero.

1Lt. Leland "Larry" Stanford McCants III
Here is some of his story. 

Name: Leland Stanford McCants III Rank/Branch: O2/US Army Unit: Battery B, 3rd Btn, 34th Artillery 9th Infantry Division Date of Birth: 31 October 1948 Home City of Record: Alexandria, VA Date of Loss: 30 December 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 100531N 1062149E Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Boat Other Personal In Incident: (none missing) REMARKS: DROWNED IN RIVER CROSSING SYNOPSIS On December 30, 1968 1Lt. Leland McCants of Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 34th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division, was an artillery forward observer with an infantry company from the same division. During the unit’s patrol in Kien Hoa Province, South Vietnam, a river crossing was repuired and the crossing operation one of the men fell into the river. McCants, in an effort to rescue the man, went after him and subsequently drowned. There is no further information on the first man. Two rifle companies made intensive ground searches and there were searches by helicopter along the stream, including the Rach An Binh and Naga Tu Kinh rivers, but no further information was learned. The following are awards thatLeland was awarded for serving his country.

AWARD:AIR MEDAL TO:Leland S. McCants,III First Lieut., Field Artillery, United States Army, Co. A, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division DATE OF ACTION:14 April 1968 to 10 August 1968 THEATER: Republic of Vietnam FOR:Meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight. AUTHORITY: By direction of the President. Lieutenant McCants distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight in support of combat ground forces of the Republic of Vietnam during the period 14 April 1968 to 10 August 1968. During this period Lt. McCants actively participated in more than twenty-five(25) aerial missions over hostile territory in support of counterinsurgency operations. During all of these missions he displayed the highest order of air discipline and acted in accordance with the best traditions of the service. By his determination to accomplish his mission, in spite of the hazards and by his outstanding degree of professionalism and devotion to duty, he has brought credit upon himself, his organization and the service.

 

AWARD:Bronze Star Medal for Heroism (with ‘v’ device-First Oak Cluster) TO:Leland S. McCants, III First Lieut., Field Artillery, United States Army, Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 34th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division DATE OF ACTION:23 October 1968 REASON: For heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. First Lieutenant McCants distinguished himself by valorous actions on 23 October 1968 while serving as a forward observer with Co. A, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry on reconnaissance in force mission in Kien Hoa Province. Lt. McCants, disregarding his own safety, exposed himself to enemy fire for more than four hours as he called in air strikes and artillery on enemy positions resulting in complete devastation of the enemy. Lt. McCants’ personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army. AUTHORITY: By direction of the President.

 

AWARD:SOLDIERS MEDAL TO:Leland S. McCants, III 1st Lt., Field Artillery, U.S. Army, Battery B, 36th Battalion, 34th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division DATE OF ACTION: 30 December 1968 FOR: Heroism not involving actual conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. First Lieutenant McCants distinguished himself by valorous actions on 30 December 1968 while serving as Artillery Forward Observer with Co. A, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry on reconnaissance in force mission near Mo Cay, Kein Hoa Province. As a man of his company began to flounder while crossing a large canal, Lt. McCants, with selfless disregard for his own safety, immediately entered the water and saved the life of his drowning companion by pushing him to the safety of shallow water. Lt. McCants sacrificed his own life to save his comrade. The heroic actions of Lt. McCants were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division and the United States Army. AUTHORITY: By direction of the President.

 

AWARD: Bronze Star Medal TO:Leland S. McCants, III First Lieutenant, United States Army, Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 34th Field Artillary, 9th Infantry Division DATE OF ACTION: 18 March 1968 to 30 December 1968 THEATER: Republic of Vietnam REASON: For meritorious service in connection with military operations against hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. AUTHORITY: By direction of the President.

 

Dept. of the Army HQ, 3rd Battalion, 34th Artillery A letter from Lieut. McCants’ commander.

Leland has been one of the most outstanding young officers I have had in the battalion. His bravery, sincerity and maturity gained him the respect of all who had the privilege of being associated with him. By coincidence I have had much more personal contact with Leland than with other forward observers. It always gave me a good deal of confidence to know that he was the forward observer with a particular operation since I had absolute confidence in his ability. You can be proud of Leland. He is the type of young man all of would like to have for a son. Leland has given much to this organization and the people in it.
Leland McCants is listed with honor among the missing because no remains were found. His case seems quite clear. For others who are listed missing resolution is not as simple. Many were known to have survived their loss incident. Quite a few were in radio contact with search teams and describing an advancing enemy. Some were Photographed or recorded in captivity. Others simply vanished without a trace. Nearly 2500 Americans remain missing or otherwise unaccounted for Vietnam. Since the war ended, over 6000 reports concerning Americans still alive in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many experts are completely convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive. One set of critics say that the U.S. has done little to address the issue of live POW’s preferring the politically safer issue of remains return. Others place the blame on the Vietnamese, for using the issue of POW/MIA to their political advantage. Regardless of blame, no living American has returned through the efforts of negotiations between the countries, and the reports countinue to pour in. Are we doing enough to bring these men home.

This infomation came from the following site: The Wall on the Web --- General / Personal --- Last name: MC CANTS First name: LELAND S III Home of Record (official): ALEXANDRIA State (official): VA Date of Birth: Sunday, October 31, 1948 Sex: Male Race: Caucasian Marital Status: Single --- Military --- Branch: Army Rank: 1LT Serial Number: O5429985 Component: Reserve Pay grade: O2 MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 1193 --- Action --- Start of Tour: Monday, December 30, 1968 Date of Casualty: Monday, December 30, 1968 Age at time of loss: 20 Casualty type: (C1) Non-hostile, died of other causes Reason: Drowned, suffocated (Ground casualty) Country: South VietNam Province: Kien Hoa The Wall: Panel35W - Row 009

If anyone has a story of Leland they would like to share or a picture of him, please contact me. I would love to add anything about him to this page.

I first decided to do this page because my sister is in the Army. Since she is active military I feel a kinship to other military families. Then I received the info on Leland McCants III. When I read his story my emotions ran the entire course from sadness to anger. The sadness because here is a young man who died serving his country. Not only was he serving his country, but he died trying to save the life of another soldier. The anger at our government for leaving servicemen to the mercy of their captors. Our government will spend billions of taxpayer dollars on getting involved in protecting humanitarian rights of citizens of other countries, but what about the rights of U.S. citizens left behind in other countries. Our government is involved in finding missing children. The ones left behind are somebody’s child too. The families of the missing need answers. Be it the joy of holding their loved one or the sorrow of having to lay them to rest. Any emotion is better than the numbness of not knowing. If you would like to help there are several ways you can. Use the links below to write to an elected official. President or Vice President Senators Representative You can adopt a POW/MIA If that is to much for you just add a link on your page to a POW/MIA site. If you don’t have a page, just spread the about the sites or about the POW/MIA issues To everyone you know. No help is to small.

This is the letter that I sent to President Clinton on June 30, 1999.

Dear Sir, I have a question for you. What are you personally doing to bring home the remains of 1Lt. Leland Stanford McCants III from Vietnam? He was lost on December 30, 1968, while trying to save the life of another soldier. Why will you not try to find this American hero? There are so many heroes that are not accounted for. The American government has just forgotten them. Please do not tell me that “everything that can be done is being done”. That is the same as saying,“I do not know and do not care, so don’t bother me again”. In our society today we put all our effort in to keeping our children safe and returning lost or stolen children to their parents, why will you not remember that POW s and MIAs are someone’s children too. Should we not try to return them home? They have parents, brothers, sisters, spouses and children that want them home too. The government of the United States takes the word of another government that there are no captives or remains left. What if this government was just a person who kidnapped a whole family? Would you take his word that he had no captives if he just returned one and swore he had no more? What about a bank robber, who had stolen thousands of dollars,would you believe him if he returned a few hundred dollars and said he had no more? Then why do you believe these governments? I have a sister who is in the Army. I am very proud that she has chosen to serve her country. I support her in anyway I can. I have accepted the fact that she may have to give up her life to protect our country. What I do not accept is the fact that the leader of our government, the one she serves and protects, would not try to find her and return her to me if she were to become missing or lose her life while in a foreign country. How can anyone be so cold and heartless? I do not understand how our government can take the word of a foreign government about such an important issue. With the advanced technology we have today there is no reason not to account for everyone. They are able to get DNA from a 3000-year-old-mummy, so any remains that are found should be able to be identified. On television I have seen how we are able to look at the ground from satellites and see in the dark. That same technology could be used to see if there are any groups of surviving captives hidden in the jungles or forests. I know the life of a leader of a country must be hectic, but does a busy life give you the right to forget the people that were lost protecting it. If it were not for the military protecting us, there would be no United States to have a leader for. Let’s not forget them in their hour of need. They did not forget us.

Sincerely, Teresa Guy

"All Biographical and loss information on POW's provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET. Please check with http://www.asde.com/~pownet/POWNET/ regularly for updates."

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