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United States Navy VA-23 operating from USS Coral Sea

A-4E Skyhawk

Bu No 151158

13 January 1967

Lt. Michael P. Cronin

 

 



 

 

 

 

U. S. Navy A4E Skyhawk, VA-23 operating from USS Coral Sea.
13 January 1967 Lt. Michael P. Cronin, captured and held as POW in North Vietnam until 4 March 1973.
 

Hit by anti aircraft fire about 20 miles south of Than Hoa. The mission,
my 125th over North Vietnam was a routine two plane road reconnaissance.

Not long after I was hit and burning on my way to the coast line in an
effort to get out over the water, the plane broke up. The entire tail
section separated at the keel bolts. I was momentarily trapped in the
cockpit due to the strong negative g forces generated by the tumbling
front section. This stopped after a few seconds and I ejected
immediately. Everything worked perfectly. After the chute opened, I
could see the front half of the aircraft nearby in a flat spin for a few
seconds before it disappeared into the clouds.

I was not injured except for a mild ankle sprain on landing on a hillside. Later I noticed that all the hair on the back of my hands had been burned off when the rocket exhaust had momentarily curled up around the seat as the ejection sequence began. The back of my hands, holding the ring at the end of the face curtain was the only part of my body exposed. Against all standing directives, it had been my practice not to wear gloves as my life and my effectiveness depended heavily on use of many small awkwardly placed switches that controlled weapon arming and firing.

This was my fifth time to be hit. Only a few days before, I had had a direct hit from an SA-2 and landed safely at Danang.

                                                                                                  Mike Cronin

 


                                                        

 

      Some extracts used in this Biography  were  provided thanks to the generosity of Charles and Mary Schantag  who also gave permission to include the  following POWNET biography  link               (please use your browser Back Arrow to return to this page)

Lt. Michael P. Cronin