CLEARY, PETER McARTHUR Remains Identified 02/11/02
Name: Peter McArthur Cleary Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 523rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn AF TH Date of Birth: 27 August 1944 Home City of Record: Colchester CT Date of Loss: 10 October 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 174800N 1064000E (XE541685) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E Refno: 1936 Other Personnel in Incident: Leonardo C. Leonor (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 April 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2002.
SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.
Capt. Peter A. Cleary and Capt. Leonardo C. Leonor were pilots attached to the 523rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn Airfield, Thailand. The aircraft they flew on the combat missions they were assigned was the F4E, an electronic version of the Phantom.
On October 10, 1972, Cleary was the pilot and Leonor the navigator onboard their F4E when it was assigned a mission over North Vietnam. The aircraft did not return to friendly control, and the crew was declared missing at the time of estimated fuel exhaustion. Their last known location was on the coastline of North Vietnam at Quang Binh Province, about 5 miles south of the city of Ron.
Cleary and Leonor were maintained missing in action for the next seven years. At that time, their status was administratively changed by the Department of the Air Force to killed in action, based on no specific evidence that they were alive.
When the last American troops left Southeast Asia in 1975, some 2500 Americans were unaccounted for. Reports received by the U.S. Government since that time build a strong case for belief that hundreds of these "unaccounted for" Americans are still alive and in captivity.
"Unaccounted for" is a term that should apply to numbers, not men. Nearly 600 men were left behind in Laos, and our government did not negotiate their release. We, as a nation, owe these men our best effort to find them and bring them home. Until the fates of men like Cleary and Leonor are known, their families will wonder if they are dead or alive - and why they were deserted.
------------------------------- From - Fri Aug 07 20:07:27 1998 Cc: "Tom Cleary" <email@example.com> Subject: MIA Family - Love Letters
I am the brother of Peter Cleary - MIA 10/10/72. I will be speaking at the Traveling Wall in Bristol, Ct. on Friday August 14, 1998. In preparing myself for this talk, I found this page. I find the Love Letter Page intriguing.
If anyone would like to contact me about Pete or the "MIA experience", feel free.
POW-MIA You are not forgotten.
To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: "Tom Cleary" <email@example.com> Subject: My brother, Peter Cleary, is coming home
My brother, Peter Cleary, has been missing in action in North Vietnam since Oct. 10, 1972. This week, we received a report from the Air Force which confirms that Pete's crash site has been located and his remains positively identified. We have accepted that report and are making arrangements for his burial in Arlington National Cemetery.
We now know that Pete died instantly, but Pete was MIA for almost 29 years. In that time his father, mother and mother-in-law died withour ever knowing his fate and the family suffered with uncertainty.
Please remember all POW-MIAs and their families. We now can have closure, but never let the search diminish.
If anyone knew Pete or wore his bracelet, they may contact me.
A LONG-LOST BROTHER HEADS HOME ; OFFICIAL IDENTIFICATION OF VIETNAM WAR PILOT'S REMAINS ENDS NEARLY 30 YEARS OF UNCERTAINTY FOR COLCHESTER FAMILY TRACY GORDON FOX;
Courant Staff Writer
In the 29 years since Maj. Peter Cleary's F-4 Phantom disappeared over North Vietnam, his family has lived with grief punctuated by occasional flickers of hope -- but never closure.....
White Plains man to receive remains of father downed in Vietnam
By RICHARD LIEBSON THE JOURNAL NEWS March 18, 2002
Capt. Peter Cleary's F-4E Phantom jet fighter streaked over North Vietnam on what was supposed to be his last combat mission. His job - one assigned only to the Air Force's elite pilots - was to fly alone over enemy territory, identify targets and direct squadrons of fighters against them....
======================================= May 21, 2002
Dear "Extended Family",
The town of Colchester, CT., the church and veterans are conducting a memorial service for Pete Cleary on May 27. For those of you who care about Pete, but live great distances, I've attached a copy of the program.
Thank you for your support,
Major Peter McArthur Cleary, United States Air Force Reserves, was missing in action in North Vietnam since October 10, 1972.
In February, 2002 his family was provided a report from the United States Army, Central Identification Laboratory, which concluded that the crash site and remains of Major Cleary had been positively identified. The family of Major Cleary accepted that report and he was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on April 12, 2002. The crash site is located in the vicinity of Dan Hoa Hamlet, Y Leng Village, Minh Hoa District, Quang Binh Province, Republic of Vietnam. The grid coordinates are 48Q WE 83141/60666.
Peter Cleary was a captain at the time of his loss but was promoted to major in 1979.
Major Cleary was a pilot attached to the 523rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn Airfield, Thailand. Major Cleary flew Fast Forward Air Control (Fast FAC) missions in F4 Phantoms over North Vietnam. His tour was from March 1972 to October 10, 1972. He is credited with 130 combat flying missions.
The mission of the Laredo Fast FACs was to fly alone over North Vietnam and identify and direct air strikes on enemy targets. According to Peter's commander, Richard B. Corbin, the Fast FAC was one of the most demanding and productive missions in Southeast Asia. "The hand-picked aircrews that fly them are the most respected and highest qualified personnel from each unit".
The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.
On October 10, 1972, Major Cleary was assigned as a Laredo Fast FAC over Quang Binh Province on the coast of North Vietnam. He had directed an airstrike consisting of two F4 Phantoms on a coastal 130mm antiaircraft site. He had completed an air-to-air refueling and was flying on station awaiting a second airstrike when he was cleared to return to base. He was tracked on radar going inland in the vicinity of the city of Ron. He did not return and was declared missing in action (MIA).
Peter Cleary was an Air Force Reserve officer. He attended St. Michael's College in Winooski. Vermont. He was a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) for fours years. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force Reserves. He completed his pilot training at Laredo Air Force Base (AFB) in Laredo, Texas and Seymour/Johnson AFB - Goldsboro, North Carolina. He also served in Korea before his tour in Vietnam. He was promoted to first lieutenant and captain during those years.
Peter McArthur Cleary was born June 27, 1944 at Hartford Hospital. His parents, John McArthur Cleary and Helen Fifield Cleary lived in East Hartford, Connecticut. Sometime in the late 1940s, they moved to Higbie Drive in Mayberry Village in East Hartford. In 1956, the family moved to Colchester, Connecticut. His parents lived in Colchester until their deaths in 1984 and 2001, respectfully.
Peter attended grade school in East Hartford and Colchester. He spent his high school freshman and sophomore years at St. Bernard High School in New London, Connecticut. Peter then attended Mother of the Savior Seminary in Blackwood, New Jersey. Upon graduation, in 1962, he became a seminarian (studying to be an Edmundite priest) at St. Edmund's in Mystic, Connecticut. He left after one year and transferred to St. Michael's College in Winooski, Vermont. He graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English. He considered Colchester, Connecticut his hometown.
Pete married Barbara Kingsley of Yantic, Connecticut in 1967. They had two children, a son Sean and daughter Paige.
Major Cleary is a highly decorated flyer. He earned (3) Distinguished Flying Crosses, (10) Air Medals and the Purple Heart. The citations are hereby provided:
Major Peter M. Cleary United States Air Force
Citations to accompany the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (Basic through 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), the Air Medal (First through Ninth Oak Leaf Cluster), & the Purple Heart to Peter M. Cleary.
The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an F-4D Aircraft Commander over hostile territory on 26 July 1972. On that date, Major Cleary controlled six flights of strike aircraft in the heavily defended Quang Khe area of North Vietnam. In spite of nearly unworkable weather conditions and heavy antiaircraft fire from the region, he directed the destruction of one petroleum pumping station, two ferry landings, one river craft storage area, and one large river craft.
The Distinguished Flying Cross (First Oak Leaf Cluster) is awarded for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an F-4D Aircraft Commander deep within hostile territory on 7 October 1972. On that date, Major Cleary was assigned to an extremely hazardous and important forward air controller mission in an F-4 Phantom aircraft over Quang Khe, North Vietnam. He successfully located and directed the destruction of a hostile surface-to-air missile site. With complete disregard for personal safety, in the face of numerous rounds of antiaircraft fire, Major Cleary intentionally exposed himself in order to offer more protection to other flyers as they expended their ordnance.
The Distinguished Flying Cross (Second Oak Leaf Cluster) is awarded for extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight as an F-4D Aircraft Commander over hostile territory on 18 June 1972. On that date, Major Cleary flew an important and extremely hazardous strike mission directed against a heavily defended hostile military supply depot deep within hostile territory. Despite intense antiaircraft artillery fire and the constant threat of lethal surface-to-air missiles, Major Cleary delivered all ordnance precisely on target, resulting in the destruction of vast quantities of military supplies and equipment of critical value to the opposing armed force.
The Air Medal (First through Ninth Oak Leaf Cluster) is awarded for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight from 19 March 1972 to October 1972. During this period, the airmanship and courage exhibited by Major Cleary in the successful accomplishment of these important missions, under extremely hazardous conditions, demonstrated his outstanding proficiency and steadfast devotion to duty.
The Purple Heart is awarded for wounds received in action on 10 October 1972.
The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major Cleary reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Address delivered by Major General Robert Marsh, USAF at awards ceremony Hanscom Air Force Base Bedford, Massachusetts 2 November 1979
The Cleary family wishes to thank all those who have given us support over the years. Your thoughts, words, prayers and actions have given us comfort in countless ways. We are truly appreciative. We know that many people have contributed to make this special day of remembrance possible. Like any major endeavor, it would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of a few. Very special thanks to:
The Major Peter Cleary Memorial Planning Committee Nan Wasniewski - Chairman David Gregoire, Gary Harris, Janet Koziol, John Malsbenden, Chuck Savitski, Tony Skorek, Don Spafford
Most Reverend Daniel Hart
St. Andrew Parish Father Michael Giannitelli, Deacon Buzz Barlow
St. Andrew Choir Colleen Puscas
Hosts of the Reception St. Andrew Ladies Guild Janet Koziol
The Town of Colchester Jenny Contois
Ct. Forget-Me-Nots Kathy Shemeley
Ct. Rolling Flags, Inc. Lori Grenfell, Bobby Easton
Governor Rowland and the Ct. Air National Guard 103rd Fighter Wing
And to all the participating organizations with special recognition to American Legion Post 54 Veterans of Foreign Wars Adler-Boluck Post 6990 Vietnam Veterans of America Chapters 120, 251, 270, 484, 647 Disabled American Veterans
POW-MIA You Were Never Forgotten
A Memorial Service Honoring the Memory of
Major Peter McArthur Cleary
Born June 27, 1944 Missing in Action October 10, 1972 Burial April 12, 2002 Arlington National Cemetery
Monday, May 27, 2002 11:00 AM
St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church & Veterans' Memorial Green Colchester, Connecticut
Mass for Major Peter Cleary
Presentation of Colors (Vietnam Veterans of America)
Prelude In The Garden (Teri Phillips) I Hope You Dance (Sarah Feldman)
Procession of Bishop and Celebrants 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Color Guard Processional Song - On Eagle's Wings (pg. 178) (St. Andrew Choir)
Greeting and Opening Prayer (Most Reverend Daniel Hart)
Liturgy of the Word First Reading 789-4 Isaiah 25:6, 7-9 (Paige Cleary Somol) Response: Thanks be to God. Responsorial Psalm - Shepherd Me O God (pg. 562) Second Reading 790-18 Revelation 21:1-5, 6-7 (Sean Cleary) Response: Thanks be to God Gospel Acclamation 793-1 Matthew 5:1-12 (Deacon Buzz) Response: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ Homily (Father Michael Giannitelli)
Prayer of the Faithful
Liturgy of the Eucharist Presentation of the Gifts (Barbara O'Connor, Patricia Caulfield, Carol Mae Kingsley) Offertory Hymn - Amazing Grace (pg. 14) (St. Andrew Choir)
Communion Rite Communion Hymn - How Great Thou Art (St. Andrew Choir)
Eulogy (Tom Cleary)
Closing Battle Hymn of the Republic (St. Andrew Choir) Service at the Veterans' Memorial Green Procession - (Drummer - Jesse Brayman)
Welcome - Master of Ceremonies (Chuck Savitski - Vietnam Veteran)
Call to Order - Commander American Legion Post 54 (David Gregoire)
Invocation - (Chaplain Roger Bergeron)
God Bless the USA - (Bill Watson)
Speakers First Selectman Jenny Contois
Letter from Governor Rowland
K. Robert Lewis (Staff of Congressman Simmons)
Mike Weinstein (Staff of Congressman Larson)
USAF Major Linda Schwartz
Placement of Wreaths and Flowers
"Cross to a Star" Ceremony - (Bobby Easton, Connecticut Rolling Flags, Inc.)
Commander's Honor Ceremony - (David Gregoire)
Benediction - (Bishop Daniel Hart)
National Anthem (St. Andrew Choir)
A-10 Fly-Over by Connecticut Air National Guard 103rd Fighter Wing (weather permitting)
Taps - (Trumpeter - Paul Shamasian)