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William "Bill" Peterson

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William “Bill” Peterson was raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where he learned how to hunt, and was taught by his father to make every shot count. Little did he know at the time, that this training would be extremely useful within just a few short years..

His father, Gene, was a B-17 pilot and spoke often of his hitch in the US Air Corp during WWII. He instilled on his family a great sense of patriotism. At the age of 18, Bill not only enlisted and signed up to be a Huey helicopter crew chief, but when asked in Basic Training for his first and second choice of assignment, he said “Vietnam”. The sergeant asking the question was very surprised, but said that would be guaranteed. After watching helicopters in action on the nightly news, he wanted a part of it.

After 36 Air medals, (2 with Valor), 3 Purple Hearts, and numerous other awards, he got more than he had hoped for.  Bill is a member of The National Purple Heart Hall of Fame.  William Peterson is also the author of Missions of Fire and Mercy: Until Death Do Us Part.

According to the book description of Missions of Fire and Mercy: Until Death Do Us Part, it “is the story of his unit in Vietnam; C/227th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry. His unit was responsible for supporting our U.S. Army, Special Forces, ARVN, Korean ROK troops, Australian and other Allied troops. Charlie company flew a potpourri of missions including, but not limited to: Combat assault and recovery, support for troops in every way including ammo, food, water convoy protection , medevac missions, and aerial surveillance of battlegrounds, before, during and after the fight. BDA (Bomb damage assessment) consisting of surveying what was left after B52 strikes, and counting enemy bodies. The majority of these true, and all too often horrific incidents took place between An Khe, the Central Highlands, Camp Evans in I Corp, the Ashau Valley and Laos.

The goal of this story is to reach out to families and loved ones who never understood why their “warrior” has been so quiet about Vietnam. Hopefully, this will help you to have a better firsthand view of those men and women, and what they went through. The author also hopes this will bring healing to those who served in combat, and help them realize that their memories are not faulty. These things did happen, and they can and should be proud to have served so honorably and bravely.”

Missions of Fire and Mercy: Until Death Do Us Part
William E. Peterson  More Info

One reader of Missions of Fire and Mercy: Until Death Do Us Part said, “I finished your book last night. It was a wonderful story and I learned a few things by reading it...did not know the gooks had helicopters that they ferried soldiers around. I can relate also to your story about meeting the Vietnamese waitress in DC and what the results were. I used to work for Roush Racing, which is very much into NASCAR, and was introduced to the female, Vietnamese Quality Manager. We hit it off and she took me to Vietnamese restaurants during lunch and introduced me to the various dishes. She, too, was born in Saigon and had no recollection of the war...she was only 34. She recognized some of the places I'd been to and also informed me that there is no such word as "Dinky Dau" in the Vietnamese language. I spent the next six months with this woman - she had a fiery personality and employees often referred to her as the Dragon Lady.

Your job there was pure hell compared to what us infantry type had to do. I was overwhelmed when reading about what you had to accomplish on a daily basis. Of course in my case when in firefight, I could hide behind a tree or large rock - you guys just flew right into the hornets’ nest with very little protection (chicken plate only) - that took nerves of steel!!! As I told you when we first emailed each other that us grunts always held the chopper crews in the highest regard and with the utmost respect. Now after reading your book and visualizing what you did first hand, I think if we were ever privy to some of those things you shared in the book, then the grunts would surely have referred to all of you as "White Robe Six". I was also amazed by how much we had in common - when you read my novel you'll be able to say the same.

Thank you again for being there for us and for taking those unnecessary risks to save our asses on the ground. I am certain that if not for you guys, the names on the black granite wall in DC would have twice as many names. I am very proud to have met you Bill and wish you well. Welcome home brother!”

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