Donald Martin Peterson

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
26 November 1946 - 15 May 1967
Santa Maria, CA
Panel 20E Line 003


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Donald Martin Peterson

20 Jun 2000

Don Peterson was among all of us in Charlie Company who came together at Fort Riley, Kansas in May - June, 1966 when the 9th Infantry Division was reactivated for duty in Viet Nam.

I will always remember Don as one of the toughest troopers in our entire unit - that includes during Basic Training, Advanced Infantry Training and in the rice paddies and jungles of the Mekong Delta.

All of the original Charlie Company soldiers who trained together and experienced combat, it seems, are forever linked in a special and unexplainable way. I suppose it's due to the uniqueness of our unit as many of us were Southern California draftees and some were even pre Service acquaintances. I think the added ingredient of being together for so long plus serving in unique unit, The Mobile Riverine Force, enhanced a certain unspoken bond.

As Don gave the ultimate sacrifice, he clearly strengthened that invisible link among us and even in death, our link to him and the others will always be there - Don will never be forgotten.

Just recently, memories of Don came up in conversations with John Bauler, Jim Dennison and Bill Reed. Jim remembered Don has a close friend and he cannot forget the circumstances of the skirmish that day in May. John's special link to Don cannot be adequately stated in this memorial by me - I'll have to leave that to John. Bill Reed fondly remembers Don and the nickname pegged on him at Fort Riley. Everyone referred to him as "Bug", due to his poor marching abilities. Don was forever receiving the "I'm a dyin' cockroach, Sergeant" discipline.

Everyone respected Don as a person and as a solid soldier. He could easily take the discipline and training, and he excelled in the training that really counted. I will forever remember Don as a tough grunt in the field and the day that he died sticks in my brain. I was lifted out by a chopper that day due to a cyst that rendered me unable to walk. The chopper also carried Don back to the base camp - while flying back on that chopper I clearly remember looking at him with tears streaming down my face and thinking, what a huge loss to us and his family. I thought, oh my God, if they can get Peterson, then the rest of us are even more vulnerable.

Bill Reynolds

If other Charlie Company soldiers can add to this memorial, it would be very much appreciated.

Soldiers of Charlie Company
4th Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
memorialized on The Virtual Wall include
1LT Charles D Black
13 April 1967
SP4 Marion T Eakins
11 July 1967
SP4 Philip A Ferro
11 July 1967
SP4 William M Geier
19 June 1967
SGT Elmer F Kenney
11 July 1967
SP4 Donald M Peterson
15 May 1967
SP4 Ronald P Schworer
09 Apr 1967
SSGT George E Smith
11 July 1967
CPL Harold W King
11 July 1967
SP5 James M Sunday
25 Sep 1967
  CPL Cecil Benny Bridges
29 Jul 1967

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009