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.


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

From - Fri Aug 07 20:07:27 1998
Cc: "Tom Cleary" <>
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

If anyone would like to contact me about Pete or the "MIA  experience",
feel free.

POW-MIA You are not forgotten.


To: <>
Cc: "Tom Cleary" <>
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.

Never Forgotten.

Tom Cleary



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

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,

Tom Cleary


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

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

George Sabrowski

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)

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)

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)

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)

Flag Raising

National Anthem (St. Andrew Choir)

A-10 Fly-Over by Connecticut Air National Guard 103rd Fighter Wing (weather

Taps -  (Trumpeter - Paul Shamasian)