This week’s Medal of Honor recipient, the Ocean State’s Pvt. George J. Peters, landed March 24, 1945 in a open field in Germany as part of Operation Varsity with other “Thunder from Heaven” troopers of the 17th Airborne Division and was soon pinned down by an enemy machinegun crew.
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George J. Peters
Rank and Organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company G, 507th Parachute Infantry, 17th Airborne Division. Place and Date Near Fluren, Germany, 24 March 1945. Entered Service at: Cranston, R.I. Birth: Cranston, R.I. G.O. No.: 16, 8 February 1946.
Citation: Pvt. Peters, a platoon radio operator with Company G, made a descent into Germany near Fluren, east of the Rhine. With 10 others, he landed in a field about 75 yards from a German machinegun supported by riflemen, and was immediately pinned down by heavy, direct fire. The position of the small unit seemed hopeless with men struggling to free themselves of their parachutes in a hail of bullets that cut them off from their nearby equipment bundles, when Pvt. Peters stood up without orders and began a l-man charge against the hostile emplacement armed only with a rifle and grenades. His single-handed assault immediately drew the enemy fire away from his comrades. He had run halfway to his objective, pitting rifle fire against that of the machinegun, when he was struck and knocked to the ground by a burst. Heroically, he regained his feet and struggled onward. Once more he was torn by bullets, and this time he was unable to rise. With gallant devotion to his self-imposed mission, he crawled directly into the fire that had mortally wounded him until close enough to hurl grenades which knocked out the machinegun, killed 2 of its operators, and drove protecting riflemen from their positions into the safety of a woods. By his intrepidity and supreme sacrifice, Pvt. Peters saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers and made it possible for them to reach their equipment, organize, and seize their first objective.