Laurent Lee Gourley

United States Air Force
05 September 1944 - 29 November 1978
Villisca, Iowa
Panel 20W Line 118

7TH AF F-100 416TH TFS
USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Campaign, Vietnam Service
Laurent L Gourley

The database page for Laurent Lee Gourley

01 Feb 2000

I purchased a POW/MIA bracelet honoring
Major Gourley at the real Wall around 1996.

Luigi Piergallini III

17 Aug 2004

I was given a bracelet today by a friend who also wears one for a man she does not know, I do not know the man who is one my bracelet either . My friend told me it would be a good idea to look this man up to not only honor him but to help feel a connection to this man, and I did, I found out quite a bit. My dad was in the Vietnam War as a scout pilot so I couldn't help but feel connected to this Air Force pilot shot down in Laos with another crew member. I don't even know Major Laurent Gourley past his service record but it makes me feel good that even if he doesn't have any family that one person still honors and remembers him.

I will never take off my bracelet or stop thinking about what would have become of him had he survived.

Stephanie Dillard

4 Oct 2004

I have proudly worn a POW/MIA bracelet bearing Major L. Lee Gourley's name since 1970. I have read that he was accounted for 33 years later. I did not know Lee or the other 2500+ comrades in arms that were not properly accounted for at the close of hostilities. As a fellow Airman, I believe we, as a country, owe these people and their families much better. Many of us can say "There but for the grace of God go I". Not only will I continue to wear the bracelet but my son has stated he will continue the tradition upon my death. May their sacrifice never be forgotten and may future generations never leave any behind.

Thomas W. Weber SMSgt, USAF (Ret.)

14 Jun 2005

I too received a POW/MIA bracelet for Capt. Laurent L. Gourley in early 1970. I have thought and prayed for him all these years, and to now see a picture of him is moving. We shall never forget all of our young men who served in Viet Nam. They deserve all the honors we can bestow upon them.

Kim De Franco

03 Aug 2006

I too have had a bracelet for Captain Laurent Gourley since 1970 or 1971. I particularly think about him and the remainder of a life at this time of year. I hope that it makes me treat others better and work harder for those around me by thinking that he never got that chance.

E-Mail will be forwarded by the

30 Sep 2006

When I was in grammar school in the early 70s I sent away for a MIA/POW bracelet. I felt honored to have received Laurent Lee Gourley's. I wore Laurent's bracelet for a few years until it broke in half.

I corresponded with Laurent's parents for years and even invited them to my wedding in California in the early 80s. I also remember writing many letters to Vietnam trying to receive any information in regards to Laurent.

I still have my bracelet, I still have all of the letters that the Gourleys wrote to me, and I still have Laurent in my prayers.

Laurent, you were a big part of my life and never knew it. You will not be forgotten.

Thank you.

Lisa Maffei
Clayton, California

31 Oct 2006

My mother received a POW/MIA bracelet in the 70s with Captain Laurent Gourly's name and I remember begging to have a turn wearing it.

So many years later, while moving my mother into our home, we discovered the bracelet and I've been wearing it ever since.

Recently I thought to look him up and was moved to find this memorial for him. So young and handsome, a life cut short in service to our country. I am honored to wear this bracelet in memory of him and I appreciate the tremendous sacrifice he made as well as his family and loved ones.

Thank you forever.

Kimberly Brierley
New Hampshire
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

11 Dec 2006

To Kris and Fred Gourley,

I have thought of you all and your brother countless times and always read everything I could find any time remains were found. I didn't know until tonight that Laurent's remains were identified. I hope this brings all of you some measure of peace. I hope this finds you all well and happy - I remember our fun times at Moody AFB.

From a family friend,
Bettye Ann Caputo
Chattanooga, TN 37421

31 Dec 2006

I too had a POW/MIA bracelet with the name Major Laurent L. Gourley USAF, Aug, 9th 1969, Laos.

I was stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia in 87/88 when I went to DC for the day. As I was leaving the Wall there was a plastic container with 25 or 30 bracelets, so I reached in and took one, slipped it on and continued on my way. It wasn't until I was sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that I really looked at what I had put on my wrist. When I did it gave me chills. You see, my birthday is the 9th of August, 1966.

I think about that every so often and to this day it still gives me the chills. Out of all those red bands, I picked that one.

It wasn't until today that I found out Major Gourley was returned home. I guess in a way I always knew he would be.

Mahalo Nui Loa'

05 Feb 2007

I got my POW/MIA bracelet back in the late 60's while I was in high school. I don't remember just how or when I got it since it was so many years ago, but I think it was 1970 since I graduated from high school in 1971 and I know I had been wearing it for a while before graduation.

I went of to college wearing it and wore it for many years, knowing nothing about the man whose name I carried on my wrist. After the war ended I kept it in my jewelry box and looked at it often, still womdering. Looking at it today I decided it was time for me to look him up on the internet. Wow! I am so pleased to learn about Laurent, but very surprised that he looked the way I have pictured him all these years.

Bless you, Laurent, your energy lives on.

Stephanie Litwin

28 Jun 2007

I was a classmate and fellow member of the 21st Cadet Squadron with Lee "Bitty" Gourley for the entire four years that we were at the Academy. After graduation, we shared a rented apartment in Lafayette, Indiana, along with another graduate, while we went to Purdue University to get our MS degrees in Astronautical Engineering. The last time I saw him was in January of 1967 when I went to Los Angeles AFS as an Astronautical Engineer and Lee went to pilot training. He was bright, funny, and a loyal friend. Anytime I encounter another member of our old squadron, we always end up sharing remembrances of Lee.

From a friend and classmate,
Mike Simmons

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In the early morning of 09 Aug 1969 then-Captain Laurent L. Gourley and then-1st Lt Jefferson S. Dotson departed Tuy Hoa Airbase located on the coast of central South Vietnam in F-100F tail number 56-03734. Although the two men were "Misty" Forward Air Controllers (FACs), they did not intend to actually control strike aircraft but rather were conducting a reconnaissance mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in central Laos.

They were to fly low and fast over their objective area and analyze targets for future air strikes, or assess the potential need for further strikes. FAC reconnaissance missions in the traditional sense were often flown by light observation aircraft rather than fighter/bombers, but the necessary element for this mission was low altitude and high speed, as well as the ability to cover a large territory.

Other aircrew in the area provided information as to what happened to 56-03734, intercepting a radio transmission that "We've been hit, we're going to try to get out." One fully deployed parachute was sighted but Search and Rescue efforts were unsuccessful and it was assumed that Dotson and Gourley were either killed or captured. They were carried as Missing in Action until the Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death for the two men, for Major Gourley on 29 Nov 1978 and for Captain Dotson on 26 Apr 1976.

The remains of the two men were repatriated on 11 Dec 2000, and the government announced positive identification of the remains on 09 Aug 2002, 33 years to the day after they went down in Laos.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Luigi Piergallini III

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IA State Index . Panel 20W
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 01 Feb 2000
Last updated 02/06/2008