Saturday, July 02, 2011


While at Arlington cemetery we stumbled upon the site of the former grave of Paderewski.  Paderewski was buried here temporarily but after the wall came down and Poland was free again, his body was returned to his country (his heart stayed here, but that's another story).  A couple of years ago my brother-in-law was doing genealogical research on his family and found a relative, Pat Paderewski an architect in San Diego who turned out to be a relative of Ignace Paderewski and was part of the party that transported Paderewski's remains back to Poland. Richard as it happens, was among those who attended  commemoration of Paderewski at Ft. Myer, VA, while his remains lay in state.  Two days later he attended a reception at the Polish Embassy in Washington IHO the return of Paderewski's body to Poland.
Col. Robert Craner
We were actually at Arlington looking for the grave of Bob Craner (pictured above), who worked for Richard at the AMEMB Budapest, Hungary. He was a hero and among many other accomplishments, he endured 5 years in the Hanoi Hilton in the cell next to John McCain. 

Robert C. Craner
Rank: Colonel 0-6, US Air Force
Veteran of: U. S.  Air Force 1953 - 1980
Cold War 1953-1980
Vietnam War 1967-1973 (POW)

Bob Craner was born on June 10, 1933, in Cohoes, New York. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program
 of the U.S. Air Force on February 2, 1953, and was commissioned a 2d Lt on May 19, 1954. After completing
 All Weather Interceptor training in the F-94C Starfire, he served at Goose AB, Labrador, Canada, until May 1956,
 when he began Undergraduate Pilot Training at Greenville AFB, Mississippi. Craner was awarded his pilot wings
 in May 1957, and then completed F-84F Thunderstreak and F-100 Super Sabre upgrade training. Lt Craner served
 with the 8th Fighter Bomber Squadron at Etain AB, France, from February 1958 to August 1959, and then at 
Spangdahlem AB, West Germany, until August 1961. Capt Craner next served as an instructor pilot in the F-100 
Super Sabre combat crew training program with the 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing at Nellis AFB, Nevada, 
from August 1961 to August 1967, when he was sent to Southeast Asia. Craner served as a Misty Fast FAC 
at Phu Cat AB in the Republic of Vietnam from August 1967 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam 
and was taken as a Prisoner of War on December 12, 1967. After spending 1,920 days in captivity, he was 
released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized at Andrews AFB, Maryland,
 to recover from his injuries and then attended Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, through an Air Force
 Institute of Technology assignment. After graduating in June 1976 and attending further training in Washington, D.C., 
Col Craner served as Air Attache with the American Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, followed by duty as Air Attache 
to Budapest, Hungary. He returned to the United States in September 1980 and began training for his next 
assignment as Air Attache to Honduras, but he died of a heart attack on October 3, 1980, while on active duty. 
Col Craner was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on October 8, 1980. Bob Craner was Misty 17.

While reading about Craner, we discovered that Lance Sijan, another hero, died in Craner's
arms while in Hoa Lo prison. Through Craner and another POW, Guy Gruters, Sijan's story was
told in the book, "Into the Mouth of the Cat" an account of his incredible endurance and
will to live. I couldn't put this down once I started it. 

1 comment:

  1. I read this Sunday but forgot to leave a comment. This was so interesting. It was so nice to see a picture of the guy you told us about and to read more about him.