1/LT William Lee Peters, Jr. USMCR

navy cross

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
First Lieutenant William Lee Peters, Jr., United States Marine Corps Reserve
For service as set forth in the following


The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to William Lee Peters, Jr. (0-102208), First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE (HMM-165), Marine Aircraft Group SIXTEEN, First Marine Aircraft Wing, in the Republic of Vietnam on 12 April 1969. First Lieutenant Peters launched as Wingman in a section of two Ch-46 transport helicopters assigned to heli-lift a reconnaissance team into hostile territory. After arriving over the designated location, the lead aircraft inserted the Marines without incident but, while lifting off, the aircraft came under a heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire and sustained extensive damage. Observing that the reconnaissance team was pinned down where it had disembarked and that the Marines were surrounded by a numerically superior hostile force, First Lieutenant Peters circled the area while helicopter gunships and fixed wing aircraft bombed and strafed the enemy soldiers who clung tenaciously to their positions only 20 feet from the beleaguered unit. When the supporting aircraft had expended its ordnance, First Lieutenant Peters, fully aware of the possible consequences of his actions but concerned only with the welfare of the men on the ground, fearlessly elected to attempt the extraction and, as he approached the landing zone, became the target for intense automatic weapons fire. Although numerous rounds penetrated his helicopter, he landed in the fire-swept area and, with calm presence of mind, resolutely maintained his dangerously exposed position, despite a fanatical assault by two North Vietnamese Army soldiers who were killed by the reconnaissance team. Assuring that the ground unit was safely aboard, he then quickly lifted from the zone under an increasingly intense volume of fire from the frustrated enemy which damaged a vital control section of his helicopter. In a brilliant display of superb airmanship and unwavering devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Peters saved his fellow Marines from serious injury or possible death and thereby upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


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