Missions of Fire and Mercy
Until Death Do Us Part
Author: William E. Peterson
ISBN: 978-1-4392-5837-8, Pages: 285, $28.00, Publication Date: November, 2009, Softcover, Autobiography-War Story, Published by: BookSurge
At the age of 19, William E. Peterson embarked upon a life mission which many of us would gladly have missed. He went to war in Vietnam! That war is long over and our troops are now engaged in other battles on foreign soils and their stories are yet to be told. Peterson was excited to engage in battle as a gunner and crew chief on a helicopter and has brought his experiences to life.
Vietnam turned out to be an unpopular war causing heartache for many families who lost their kin and also for those brave men and women who returned leaving their comrades slain on the fields of Vietnam or on choppers bringing back their remains. Peterson says, “The goal of this story is to reach out to families and loved ones who never understood why their “warrior” has been so quiet about Vietnam.”
One of the most outstanding characteristics of this saga is the manner in which Peterson presents his story and that of his comrades. Letters to home usually are buried away in shoeboxes to be unearthed later in life as remembrances of days gone by. Uniquely, he republishes the original letters and then adds anecdotal recollections of what he left out. Reading both views of this material makes it poignant to the reader. Your senses are heightened as you literally smell burnt gun smoke, feel the vibrations of the helicopter, and dodge bullets as they cascade around you. All the while, you realize Peterson’s missions were always to protect his comrades on the ground.
Receiving a commendation is never the goal of a soldier, it is only an afterthought. What is most important is the mission itself. However, Peterson did receive 3 Purple Hearts for being injured during his stint in Vietnam. What was most notable was that he received 36 air medals (2 with Valor) and numerous other medals for his service to his country.
His time in Vietnam was one year and what he accomplished during that time was astonishing.
“White Robe 6” is a reverent call sign that flight crews have created for God. “Yellow One” is the lead ship in an aerial assault flown by the flight leader. A pamphlet for the troops was created and printed by William Peterson’s father. 20,000 pamphlets were sent to the troops giving inspiration that God was with them. This gesture was so outstanding that a letter of commendation was placed in Peterson’s permanent service record. There are many references to prayer and belief in God and service to country.
This book is one of those epilogues in life which not only tells the story of what it was like to be defending and fighting for freedom, but how well we have raised our children to believe in the American Way. “Missions of Fire and Mercy Until Death Do Us Part” is highly recommended, being based on facts, and documented by letters contemporaneously written showing the true life experiences of a Vietnam War hero.