PETER R CRESSMAN
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HONORED ON PANEL 1W, LINE 114 OF THE WALL

PETER RICHARD CRESSMAN

WALL NAME

PETER R CRESSMAN

PANEL / LINE

1W/114

DATE OF BIRTH

05/23/1951

CASUALTY PROVINCE

LZ

DATE OF CASUALTY

02/05/1973

HOME OF RECORD

WAYNE

COUNTY OF RECORD

Passaic County

STATE

NJ

BRANCH OF SERVICE

AIR FORCE

RANK

SGT

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR PETER RICHARD CRESSMAN
POSTED ON 5.3.2000
POSTED BY: CLAY MARSTON

NO CLOSURE FOR KIN OF MISSING AIRMEN

VIETNAM : THEN AND NOW

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NO CLOSURE FOR KIN OF MISSING AIRMEN


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At the height of the Vietnam War, Peter Cressman and Joseph Matejov
looked past the anti-war protests racking the nation and enlisted in the
United States Air Force.

Like their fathers before them, Cressman, of Bergen County, New Jersey,
and Matejov, of East Meadow, Long Island, felt the pull of patriotism
and the tradition of military service.

Both men rose to the rank of sergeant and served together in a highly
secretive electronics surveillance unit, assigned to track the movement
of communist troops along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Flying among a crew of seven aboard an EC-47, Cressman and Matejov
survived flight after harrowing flight until the war was declared over
on January 27, 1973.

Back home, their families celebrated the war's end. But their worst
nightmare was still to come.

Eight days after the peace accord went into effectt, Cressman, Matejov
and their crew were shot down over southern Laos on February 5, 1973.

For a few short days, their names were added to the list of missing
Americans expected to be returned by Vietnam as part of Operation
Homecoming, slated to begin in March.

But within a week of their disappearance, Cressman, Matejov and two of
their crewmates were removed from the list - declared dead even though
their bodies were not found at the crash site.

" They wiped my brother's name off the face of the earth with a stroke of
a pen," said Matejov's brother, John, himself a 20-year veteran of the
United States Marine Corps.

" War is hell, but in my brother's case, the war was already over,"
Matejov said.

Taking a break from watching TV coverage yesterday of the 25th anniversary
of the communist victory in Vietnam, Matejov said he and his family
have had little to celebrate.

For more than two decades, the families of Joe Matejov and Peter Cressman
have waged a bitter fight with the Defense Department to find out exactly
what happened to the airmen.

Matejov, like Cressman's family, believes that the four possible survivors
of the plane crash were abandoned to their communist captors rather than
reopening negotiations with Hanoi.

Cressman and Matejov were among more than 2200 U.S. servicemen
who were unaccounted for at the end of the war.

But their case has been among the war's most vexing.


From the start, the families of the two airmen had good reason to be suspicious.

Buried in Cressman's personal effects were drafts of a letter he was
writing to a congressman, explaining that he was being ordered to fly
illegal missions over Laos.

Members of the crew's Thailand-based unit reported picking up Vietnamese
ground comunications about the capture of four U.S. airmen in the vicinity
of their plane crash on that same day.

In fact, a retired National Security Agency analyst testified before a
Senate panel in 1992 about intercepting radio reports detailing the
movement of four members of the crew to Vietnam.

The Senate panel on POWs and MIAs spent two days reviewing the case.
Enormous resources were poured into excavating the jungle crash site.

On February 10, 1994, two Air Force officials visited with the
Cressman and Matejov families to present evidence that their sons
had died at the crash site : 23 tiny, unidentifiable bone fragments, a piece of tooth, said to be Cressman's, and Matejov's dog tag.

While five of the seven families have accepted the findings, the
Cressman's and Matejov's refuse, insisting that their sons likely died
elsewhere and that the military did nothing to get them back.

Cressman's younger brother, Patrick, once confided that he didn't believe
Peter was still alive. It was the truth about where and how he died that
the family was fighting for.

John Matejov even prays that his brother died long ago.

" I hope for his sake that he's no longer alive," said Matejov.

" The pain and suffering he would have endured is unimaginable."


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NO CLOSURE FOR KIN OF MISSING AIRMEN

written by

TOM TOPOUSIS


THE NEW YORK POST

April 25, 2000




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POSTED ON 2.5.2000
POSTED BY: Walt Connelly

Remembering Sgt Cressman 27 years later.

Well Peter, It's kind of funny that just last week the traveling wall came to town, and I found this Virtual Wall on the Internet. Today is the 27th anniversary of your shoot down. I just wanted to return to the web site and say that you are still remembered. Things have changed greatly in the last 27 years. The Soviet Union collapsed taking much of communism, although not all, with it. We have a draft dodger in the White House, a guy incapable of understanding the meaning of the word "is." This internet thing didn't exist when we were young men, and today it seems almost everyone is "on line." We still seem to have a need for brave young men to put themselves in harms way, that others may live free. Maybe things havn't changed that much after all.
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POSTED ON 2.3.2000
POSTED BY: Walt Connelly

Remembered by a Fellow Airman

Sgt Peter R. Cressman's name appears three names below mine on the class roster for Class 72-45 of the 3612 Combat Crew Training Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. We graduated on 29 May 1972 and shipped out shortly thereafter. According to Task Force Omega, Peter's remains were returned in 1993, and identified in 1995. Additionally it appears that his family did not take possession of his remains. I would like to learn the whereabouts of Peter's grave and hopefully pay it a visit. I did visit the traveling wall today Peter, Your name was right there along with the other guys who flew that same fateful mission. Rest In Peace where ever you might be.
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POSTED ON 9.23.1999
POSTED BY: D.D.R.

Never Forgotten

I married an Air Force member in June of 1988. Our first duty station was at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama. This is where I was first introduced to the MIA/POW bracelets. The first bracelet I ever got was of Sgt. Peter Cressman and I wore it constantly for about 9 years until finally the metal wore thin and I put it away into my jewelry box. I never forgot his name and I always wondered what happened to him. Now I know. I want his family to know that people out there still care and he will never be forgotten for making the ultimate sacrafice for his country. His name will stay in my heart and memory forever.

D.D.R.
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