Peter Francis Mead
Petty Officer Third Class
United States Navy
Paterson, New Jersey
January 13, 1947 to May 21, 1966
PETER F MEAD is on the Wall at Panel 7E, Line 97

Combat Action Ribbon
Peter F Mead
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18 Nov 2007

"Doc" Peter Francis Mead and I were stationed at NNMC Bethesda, MD in early 1966. Pete and I did not serve on the same ward. We were not in the same barracks unit. But somehow we gravitated to one another. I remember well one of my first liberties in Washington, DC when Pete and I had Italian dinner and then took in "Dr. Zhivago" at the Warner Theater. I left the movie quite emotionally overcome and had to stop in an alleyway to have a good cry. I never knew my father, so I related to the storyline. Most guys would have made light of that show of unmanly weakness. Not Pete Mead. He was too decent a guy. I never heard a word about it from him nor anyone else for that matter.

It was a short time after that Pete got orders for FMF and left for Camp Lejeune and subsequently a Combat Marine Corps infantry battalion in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. I remember vividly the day that my supervising nurse, Commander Claire V. Swanson, gave me the sad news that Pete Mead had been killed in combat. It could not have been very long after he got in-country. The word had gone through the staff members of the hospital like wildfire. It was almost impossible to believe. HM3 Pete Mead may well have been one of the first combat casualties most of us had known personally. We were all devastated. The profound effect it had on me was so overwhelming that I immediately went to the personnel office and volunteered for Vietnam service that same day. I had survivor's guilt before I even got to the combat zone. When Cdr Swanson learned of my orders for FMF, she offered to get them rescinded. I never told her that I had put in for Vietnam duty.

I think about Doc Pete Mead often. What a tragic loss. He is well remembered by many. For the short time I knew him, he was a treasured friend.

From a fellow Hospital Corpsman,
"Doc" Rod Hardin


A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 21 May 1966 units of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, were operating near An Trach, southwest of Danang, when they came under fire from a hamlet. Thirteen Marines and one Navy Corpsman were killed during the ensuing engagement:
  • A Company:
    • Cpl Marshal J. O'Neal, Essex, MO
    • Cpl Cleveland Vines, Newport News, VA
    • LCpl Antonio P. Maciminio, Pawtucket, RI
    • LCpl John D. Smith, Hundred, WV
    • Pfc Bruce F. Griffin, Goshen, OH
    • Pfc David P. Manners, Durant, OK
    • Pfc Peter R. Niemczuk, Chicago, IL

  • C Company:
    • Cpl James J. Brophy, Jackson Heights, NY
    • Cpl Barry W. Duff, Baltimore, MD (Navy Cross)
    • Pfc Robert L. Cloutier, Somerset, WI
    • Pfc John R. Goderre, Union, ME
    • Pfc Chester Schapanick, New York, NY (Bronze Star "V")

  • D Company:
    • Pvt Lawrence E. Foster, Pacifica, CA

  • H&S Company:
    • HM3 Peter F. Mead, Paterson, NJ
Corporal Duff's Navy Cross Citation gives an outline of the engagement:
"... Corporal Duff's squad came under intense rifle, machine-gun, mortar, and recoilless rifle fire from a reinforced Viet Cong company. The initial burst of enemy fire caused several casualties. Realizing that the casualties were lying fully exposed to the enemy fire, Corporal Duff immediately moved to a small knoll overlooking the enemy and his wounded comrades. During the next half hour the enemy launched three assaults in an effort to annihilate the wounded Marines and capture their weapons. With complete disregard for his own safety, he repeatedly exposed himself to turn back the enemy's attacks with accurate rifle fire. Although wounded during the second attack when he was shot in the leg and knocked from the knoll, he gathered more ammunition and hand grenades and gallantly regained his position to protect his wounded comrades. He courageously held his position until mortally wounded while exposing himself to throw a hand grenade."

"You guys are the Marine's doctors -
There's none better in the business
than a Navy Corpsman ..."
-- Lieutenant General "Chesty" Puller --

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

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