Art Cormier was born in 1934 in Rumford, Maine, and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and Lincoln Park, New Jersey. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on April 23, 1954, and was trained in manpower management. He served an overseas tour in West Germany from May 1955 to November 1957, then briefly went into the Air Force Reserve before going back on active duty and serving at Suffolk County AFB, New York, from February 1958 to February 1960. From February 1960 to February 1961, Sgt Cormier was stationed at Minot AFB, North Dakota, and then went to Andrews AFB, Maryland, where he served until March 1963. Sgt Cormier next trained as a Pararescueman, first serving at Eglin AFB, Florida, followed by two tours in Southeast Asia. His helicopter was brought down over North Vietnam during his second tour, on November 6, 1965, and he was taken as a Prisoner of War. After spending 2,655 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. Cormier was promoted through the ranks to Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) during the time he was a POW, and was granted a direct commission as a 1Lt by the President of the United States in May 1974. Lt Cormier completed his degree at Long Island University in June 1975 and was then assigned to Pease AFB, New Hampshire as the base fuel management officer. He served at Hahn AB, West Germany, from March 1977 to July 1980, and then at RAF Mildenhall in England until July 1983. Capt Cormier's final assignment was at Altus AFB, Oklahoma, where he served from July 1983 until his retirement from the Air Force on November 1, 1984.
His 1st (of 3) Silver Star Citation reads:
Staff Sergeant Arthur Cormier distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as Pararescue Technician aboard a rescue helicopter over North Vietnam on 6 November 1965. On that date, Sergeant Cormier voluntarily participated in a mission to recover a USAF pilot shot down over a hostile area known to contain numerous concentrations of antiaircraft batteries which would endanger any rescue efforts. As his unarmed aircraft approached the recovery area, it encountered heavy ground fire and burst into flames, forcing the crew to bail out. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Cormier has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.