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Army SFC James Edward Creamer Jr. was a 20 year-old North Branford native whose remains were not located at the site of a downed helicopter in South Vietnam in 1968. Creamer's service and sacrifice will be honored as part of this year's North Branford Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies. (Photo courtesy VFW Post 8294 )
SFC James Creamer Jr.'s Buddies, Families Join March to Ceremonies at Town Monuments
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On May 29, North Branford's Memorial Day Parade will help honor a native son who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country nearly 50 years ago. As part of the tribute, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8294 will march with relatives and friends of Army veteran James E. Creamer Jr., who went missing in action (MIA) on April 21, 1968 in Thua Thien Vietnam.
Listed as Sgt. First Class on Panel 51E, Row 18 of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington, D.C., Creamer was a 20 year-old SP4 (Specialist, Fourth Rank) among a crew of six aboard a UH1H "Huey" helicopter shot down in South Vietnam. After an extensive search, the tail section of the helicopter was located on May 25, 1968. However, the helicopter cabin was not located and remains of the crew were not found. On or about May 27, 1968, Creamer's family was notified he had been killed in action. Creamer would have been 21 years old on May 9, 1968.
"He's a Vietnam Veteran who is one of twenty-five brave soldiers from Connecticut that are MIA and, in this case, never came home,'" said VFW Post 8294 member Bill Savastano.
The VFW worked for many months to ensure the town would pay tribute to Creamer as part of this year's Memorial Day Parade and Activities. Earlier this year, Savastano followed up on a September, 2016 request of the Town Council made by fellow VFW veteran Paul White, who initially went before the council asking for support in recognizing Creamer.
The council got behind the request and, with the gift a $1,000 contribution from members of North Branford Police, approved a town plaque honoring Creamer. The plaque is now set to be installed with two insignias on one of the stones among the town memorial monuments. The four monuments are located on the green adjacent to North Branford First Congregational Church on Foxon Road.
On May 29, North Branford's Memorial Day Parade will step off from Commerce Drive at 10 a.m. and end at the monument area (see North Branford Memorial Day Parade details here). Savastano hopes that a small ceremony recognizing Creamer, with perhaps some words shared by family and friends, will conclude the day's fitting tribute to Creamer and his family. Savastano said a large portrait of Creamer will be carried in the parade by VFW Veterans.
"A lot of times the people along the parade route never go to the ceremony," said Savastano, adding veterans will be passing out flyers inviting the public to gather at the monuments at the parade's conclusion.
"I want them to give his buddies and his family a warm welcome," said Savastano.
Savastano is also encouraging members of the "Greatest Generation" to join in this year's parade. Thanks to a loan of several golf carts, the VFW can accomodate up to 16 World War II and Korean War veterans to ride on the parade route this year. Interested veterans or family members calling on their behalf are asked to contact Savastano in advance at (203) 484-2784.
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