Peterson, Oscar Vernon, CWT

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Last Rank
Chief Petty Officer
Last Primary NEC
WT-0000-Water Tender
Last Rating/NEC Group
Water Tender
Primary Unit
1941-1942, WT-0000, USS Neosho (AO-23)
Service Years
1920 - 1942
WT-Water Tender
Five Hash Marks

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Andy Hill, LCDR to remember Peterson, Oscar Vernon, CWT.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Prentice, WI
Last Address
3743 Highland Ave
San Diego, CA

Casualty Date
May 13, 1942
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Pacific Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Richfield Cemetery - Richfield, Idaho
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Block 9w Lot 3 (memorial marker)

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Tributes from Members  
Hero is remembered 68 Years later1 posted by Hill, Andy, LCDR 416 
 Photo Album   (More...

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 Duty Stations
US Navy
  1934-1937, WT-0000, USS Pruitt (DD-347)
  1939-1941, WT-0000, USS Neches (AO-5)
  1941-1942, WT-0000, USS Neosho (AO-23)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Attack on Pearl Harbor
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of the Coral Sea
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  May 07, 1942, Battle of Coral Sea
  Apr 03, 2010, Peterson's Medal of Honor is presented to family 68 years later
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

On May 7, 1942, during the Battle of the Coral Sea, the USS Neosho AO-23 was heavily damaged by Japanese dive bombers. In one bombing raid, Peterson and members of the repair party he led were severely wounded. Despite his injuries, he managed to close four bulkhead steam line valves, but suffered third-degree burns to his face, shoulders, arms and hands in the process. By shutting the valves, Peterson isolated the steam to the engine room and helped keep the ship operational.

The Neosho eventually sank on May 11, and the surviving crewmen were picked up by another ship. Peterson died of his burn injuries on May 13 and was buried at sea, several hundred miles off the coast of Australia.

USS Peterson (DE152) was an Edsall class destroyer escort, the first United States Navy ship so named. This ship was named for Chief Water Tender Oscar V. Peterson (1899 to 1942), who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

Medal of Honor
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. Neosho (AO-23)
Citation: The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Chief Watertender Oscar Verner Peterson (NSN: 3411575), United States Navy, for extraordinary courage and conspicuous heroism above and beyond the call of duty while in charge of a repair party during an attack on the U.S.S. Neosho by enemy Japanese aerial forces on 7 May 1942. Lacking assistance because of injuries to the other members of his repair party and severely wounded himself, Chief Watertender Peterson, with no concern for his own life, closed the bulkhead stop valves and in so doing received additional burns which resulted in his death. His spirit of self-sacrifice and loyalty, characteristic of a fine seaman, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenMedal of HonorWW II Memorial National RegistryThe National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
United States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2018, World War II Fallen
  2018, Medal of Honor [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2019, WW II Memorial National Registry
  2019, The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
  2019, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2019, The National Gold Star Family Registry
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