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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our D-Day Fallen: Capt. Edward A. Peters


Captain Edward A. Peters
Capt. Edward A. Peters served in the HQ Company of 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of 101st Airborne Division when he was killed in action on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Like nearly every other paratrooper dropped on D-Day, Capt. Peters hit Normandy far from his intended drop zone. However, he was able to get a few of his men together and reach the regimental objective on D-Day. According to his Silver Star citation, his patrol was attacked by a large force of German troops and his leadership led the patrol out of harm's way.

Like a number of war stories, though, the tale of just how Capt. Peters perished depends on who you ask. The regiment's S-1 (personnel officer) included in his report from D-Day – the segment written around 1430 hours – that Capt. Peters led a patrol of five soldiers to take a German machine gun post. The report concluded that he, along with two of the other soldiers in his patrol, was killed by the fire of that German MG42. The regimental S-3's report confirms this story, noting that a Capt. Moon was to take Peters' place as the commanding officer of the regiment's headquarters company.

However, Capt. Peters' friend Sgt. W. R. Myers wrote to Peters' wife in a September 10, 1944 letter that he had witnessed her husband's death and that it was a German sniper rifle that killed him on D-Day.

Perhaps the confusion stemmed from the uncertainty surrounding Peters' death in the days following D-Day. The initial reports home and Capt. Peters' headstone incorrectly stated his death as June 9, 1944. The later reports corrected the date of death to June 6. His son, Edward A. Peters, III, assumed that the registrars received Peters' body on June 9 and, unsure of his actual date of death, recorded June 9.

Sgt. Myers said that Capt. Peters was “as close to his men as a brother. He always had a cheerful smile, a helping hand or helpful advice for anyone who was troubled...his engaging smile was too strong to be eliminated even by gunfire and death."

Capt. Peters was posthumously awarded the Silver Star on November 1, 1944. This citation includes the correct date for his death, June 6, 1944.

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