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
Missions: 175 (125 over North Vietnam)
Other Personnel in Incident:
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. 2018
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
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.......