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Monday, January 09, 2012
TFH 1/9: SP4 Danny J. Petersen, USA
A disabled APC. Wounded crewmen who had to be rescued and evacuated. All in the face of a numerically superior hostile force. This was what faced 20-year old Danny Petersen of Kansas this day in 1970.
*PETERSEN, DANNY J.
Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 4th Battalion, 23d Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 9 January 1970. Entered service at: Kansas City, Mo. Born: 11 March 1949, Horton, Kans. Citation: Sp4c. Petersen distinguished himself while serving as an armored personnel carrier commander with Company B during a combat operation against a North Vietnamese Army Force estimated to be of battalion size. During the initial contact with the enemy, an armored personnel carrier was disabled and the crewmen were pinned down by the heavy onslaught of enemy small arms, automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Sp4c. Petersen immediately maneuvered his armored personnel carrier to a position between the disabled vehicle and the enemy. He placed suppressive fire on the enemy's well-fortified position, thereby enabling the crewmembers of the disabled personnel carrier to repair their vehicle. He then maneuvered his vehicle, while still under heavy hostile fire to within 10 feet of the enemy's defensive emplacement. After a period of intense fighting, his vehicle received a direct hit and the driver was wounded. With extraordinary courage and selfless disregard for his own safety, Sp4c. Petersen carried his wounded comrade 45 meters across the bullet-swept field to a secure area. He then voluntarily returned to his disabled armored personnel carrier to provide covering fire for both the other vehicles and the dismounted personnel of his platoon as they withdrew. Despite heavy fire from 3 sides, he remained with his disabled vehicle, alone and completely exposed. Sp4c. Petersen was standing on top of his vehicle, firing his weapon, when he was mortally wounded. His heroic and selfless actions prevented further loss of life in his platoon. Sp4c. Petersen's conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism are in the highest traditions of the service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Danny Petersen rests today in Netawaka, Kansas. The 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry currently serves with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, WA.