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First Name: Danny

Last Name: Petersen

Birthplace: Horton, KS, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Oskaloosa, KS
Middle Name: John

Date of Birth: 11 March 1949

Date of Death: 09 January 1970

Rank: Specialist 4

Years Served: 1968 - 1970
Danny John Petersen

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Danny John Petersen
Specialist Four, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Specialist Four Danny John Petersen (11 March 1949 - 9 January 1970) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Danny John Petersen was born on 11 March 1949 in Horton, KS. He joined the Army from Oskaloosa, KS. On 9 January 1970, Petersen was serving as a Specialist Four in Company B, 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. On that day in Tay Ninh Province of the Republic of Vietnam, Petersen repeatedly exposed himself and his armored personnel carrier to enemy fire in order to protect the other soldiers of his unit. After his vehicle was disabled, he stayed behind and was mortally wounded while providing covering fire so others could withdraw. For his heroic actions he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Citation: Sp4 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. Sp4 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, Sp4 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. Sp4 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. Sp4 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.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Danny John Petersen's name is inscribed on Panel 14W - Line 20.


A portion of US-75 near Netawaka is named the "Danny J. Petersen Memorial Highway" in his honor.

Death and Burial

Specialist Four Danny John Petersen was killed in action on 9 January 1970. He is buried at Netawaka Cemetery, Netawaka, KS.

Honoree ID: 1052   Created by: MHOH




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