CRESSMAN, PETER RICHARD
GROUP BURIAL 12/95
Name: Peter Richard Cressman
Rank/Branch: E4/US Air Force
Unit: Detachment 3, 6994th Security Squadron, Ubon, Thailand
Date of Birth: 23 April 1951
Home City of Record: Wayne NJ (Family in FL)
Date of Loss: 05 February 1973
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 153755N 1065957E (YC143291)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action/Killed In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Dale Brandenburg; Todd M. Melton; George R.
Spitz; Severo J. Primm III; Arthur R. Bollinger; Joseph Matejov (all
missing); Robert E. Bernhardt (remains recovered)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 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.
REMARKS: KIA 3 - POSS CAPT 4
SYNOPSIS: On February 5, 1973, about a week after the signing of the Paris
Peace Agreement, an EC47Q aircraft was shot down over Saravane Province,
Laos, about 50 miles east of the city of Saravane. The crew of the aircraft
consisted of the pilot, Capt. George R. Spitz; co-pilot, 2Lt. Severo J.
Primm III, Capt. Arthur R. Bollinger, 1Lt. Robert E. Bernhardt, Sgt. Dale
Brandenburg, Sgt. Joseph A. Matejov, all listed as crew members, and Sgt.
Peter R. Cressman and SSgt. Todd M. Melton, both systems operators. The
families of all aboard the aircraft were told the men were dead, and advised
to conduct memorial services.
It is known that Cressman and Matejov were members of Detachment 3, 6994th
Security Squadron from Ubon, Thailand. The aircraft, however, was flying out
of the 361st TEW Squadron (Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron) at Nakhon
Phanom Airbase, Thailand. Primm, Melton, Spitz, Brandenburg and Bernhardt
were assigned to the 361st TEW Squadron. Bollinger's unit is unknown.
The men in the 6994th were highly trained and operated in the greatest of
secrecy. They were not allowed to mingle with others from their respective
bases, nor were the pilots of the aircraft carrying them on their missions
always told what their objective was. They were cryptology experts, language
experts, and knew well how to operate some of the Air Force's most
sophisticated equipment. They were the first to hear the enemy's battle
Over five years later, Joe Matejov's mother, Mary Matejov, heard columnist
Jack Anderson, on "Good Morning America", describe a Pathet Lao radio
communique which described the capture of four "air pirates" on the same day
as the EC47Q carrying her son was shot down. NO OTHER PLANE WAS MISSING
THAT DAY. Anderson's information indicated that reconnaissance personnel had 40
uninterrupted minutes in which to survey the crash site.
The report of the reconnaissance team, which was not provided to the
families for over five years, showed that three bodies, which were thought
to have been higher ranking officers because of the seating arrangement,
were found strapped in seats. Four of the men aboard the aircraft were not
in or around the aircraft, and the partial remains of the eighth man
(Bernhardt) was recovered. No identification was brought out from the crash
site, and no attempt was made to recover the three bodies from the downed
aircraft. It is assumed that the reconnaissance team was most interested in
recovering the sensitive equipment aboard the EC47Q. The EC47Q became known
as the "Flying Pueblo". Most of the "kids" in back, as some pilots called
them, were young, in good health, and stood every chance of surviving
There were specific reports intercepted regarding the four missing men from
the aircraft missing on February 5, 1973. Radio reports indicated that the
four were transported to the North Vietnam border. None were released in the
general POW release beginning the next month.
Peter Cressman enlisted in the United States Air Force in August, 1969 and
after two years at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska he volunteered for
service in Vietnam and left for Da Nang in June 1972.
In Da Nang, Peter spent his free hours at Sacred Heart Orphanage. His
letters to his hometown priest in Oakland, New Jersey, resulted in the
forming of "Operation Forget-Me-Not". Community schools, churches, merchants
and citizens joined the effort to help the innocent victims of war. The
group eventually provided a boxcar of supplies to the orphans.
Peter was transferred to the airbase at Ubon, Thailand. He believed the
secret missions being flown into Laos were illegal, and had written letters
to his congressman in that regard. His family has been active in efforts to
locate information on Peter and the nearly 2500 others who remain
unaccounted for. They founded the National Forget-Me-Not Association for
POW/MIAs in St.Petersburg, Florida, the largest POW advocacy group in the
Joseph Matejov enlisted in the Air Force in 1970 from his home state of New
York and went to Southeast Asia in April, 1972. Joe's father and two
brothers were career military. His sister graduated from West Point in 1981.
Steven Matejov died in 1984 not knowing what happened to his son. Joe's
mother, Mary says, "Joe may be alive. If so, this government has a legal and
moral responsibility to get him home. The next generation of servicemen
should not have to wonder if they will answer the call to defend their
country only to be abandoned. We must stop this tragedy now, and never allow
it to happen again."
Thousands of reports received by the U.S. Government have convinced many
experts that hundreds of Americans remain captive in Southeast Asia. Members
of a crew flying a secret mission after a peace agreement had been signed
would likely be considered war criminals. If they are among those thought to
be alive, the survivors of the EC47Q have been held captive over 15 years.
It's time we brought our men home.
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2003 15:47:59 -0400
From: "Lynn O'Shea" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Partick Cressman
A memorial Mass will be held, at St. Jerome R.C. Church, for Patrick
Cressman, on Thursday October 16, 2002 at 11:00 AM. The church is located
at 10895 Hamlin Blvd, in Largo Florida 33775. The family welcomes flowers
at the church. (We suggest you contact the funeral director Abby Funeral
Home at 727-517-2340 for details and church rules.)
Cards and messages of condolences may be sent to Pat's wife:
Mrs. Robin Cressman
13300 Walsingham Road #49
Largo, Fl 33773
The Cressman family has designated the National Alliance of Families as
recipient for those wishing to make a memorial donations.
Memorial donations, in memory of Patrick Cressman, may be sent to
National Alliance of Families
PO Box 40327
Bellvue, WA 98015-0327
Director of Research
National Alliance of Families
for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf War