Potomac: MPT Salutes Local Hero (Michael Cronin)

Retired Navy Captain Michael Cronin graduated in 1963 from the Naval Academy from pilot training in Cecil Field, Fla. in 1965. He immediately deployed for Vietnam, proud to be serving in the U.S. Navy and protecting his country. He flew the A4 Skyhawk on 175 solo combat missions in which his role was to seek out and destroy guided missile sites. Cronin was shot down on Friday, Jan. 13, 1967 by anti-aircraft fire near Than Hoa and immediately captured. He spent six years as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton and was released in March 1973.

Cronin was awarded the Silver Star and the Gold Star “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. Lieutenant Commander Cronin’s captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion, Lieutenant Commander Cronin reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.” Cronin also received the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Prisoner of War Medal for his heroism, leadership, extraordinary courage, resourcefulness, and sound judgment.

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