CRONIN, MICHAEL PAUL
Name: Michael Paul Cronin Rank/Branch: United States Navy/O2 Unit: VA 23 Date of Birth: 01 March 1941 Home City of Record: Pittsburgh PA Date of Loss: 13 January 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 191700 North 1054700 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E Missions: 175 (125 over North Vietnam) Other Personnel in Incident: Refno:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
REMARKS: 730304 RELEASED BY DRV
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors).
MICHAEL P. CRONIN Lieutenant Commander - United States Navy Shot down: January 13, 1967 Released: March 4, 1973
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 1, 1941. Some years later my family moved to Pittsburgh where I graduated from Carrick High. I have an older sister, Maureen, who is married and has five children, a younger sister who is a social worker in Washington D. C. and a younger brother who is a college student.
I attended the Naval Academy where I met my wife, the former Miss Alice Bouic of Rockville, Maryland. I graduated in 1963 and then went through Naval Flight training which I finished in October 1964. After the completion of pilot training, I received training in the A4 "Skyhawk" at Cecil Field, Florida. In May of 1965 I reported to VA-23 (Attack Squadron twenty-three) aboard USS Midway on "Yankee Station." The Midway returned to the US on November 23, 1965. Alice and I were married on December 4, 1965. In August 1966 I returned to Vietnam on USS Coral Sea.
I was shot down on Friday, 13 January 1967 by anti-aircraft fire about twenty miles south of Than Hoa. The aircraft broke up and for a while I was pinned in the cockpit and was quite lucky to escape. When my parachute opened I was over the sea, but a strong east wind blew me inland as I descended and I landed one half mile from the water. I was quickly captured by an Army unit which had seen me land. I was released on 4 March 1973.
In prison I was sustained by the belief that I would eventually return home and although the war might last a very long time, the United States would never cease efforts on our behalf, and also, by a simple desire to live to enjoy freedom again. Our experience is an eloquent testimony to the fact that Americans do not forget those who serve their country. l think it is impossible to appreciate the United States until you have lived where freedom is only a theory.
I think that there are few, if any, countries in the world in which so much concern would be shown for such a small number of men. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Michael Cronin left the Navy in 1976. He remained active with the Naval Reserve and retired as a Captain in 1996. He and his wife Jackie reside in Maryland. He has been a pilot with American Airlines since 1976.
Capt. Cronin remains actively involved with historical work on the Geneva Conventions. He states that the way Vietnam handled prisoners was a gross criminal violation of the Geneva Conventions which they had signed. Until 1996, the U.S. had no war crimes law, he says. "The War Crimes Act of 1996" was passed with little notice in the press. Capt. Cronin was very much involved in the effort to get the legislation passed.
Although he spent six years in the "Hanoi Hilton,"ť an infamous North Vietnam prison after his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Michael Paul Cronin of Darnestown does not consider himself a hero.......