Delbert Ray Peterson

Delbert Ray Peterson
U.S. Air Force
Major [O-4]
Delbert Ray Peterson was the oldest of seven children and was raised in Manson, Iowa. During his childhood Peterson’s father served during WWII. He was educated in the Mason school district. In high school, he participated in football, basketball, band, chorus, debate, and drama. He was class president two years and graduated from high school in the class of 1957. He attended Iowa State University where he continued to participate in drama and chorus. While in college he worked in the dorm cafeteria, taught ballroom dancing, and worked construction during the summers. In his final year at ISU he joined the Air Force ROTC program and he graduated in 1962 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Peterson trained to be a pilot and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. In November 1965 he was assigned to a squadron based out of Tan Son Nhut Air Base in South Vietnam. 2LT Peterson was a co-pilot aboard an AC-47, nicknamed “Puff the Magic Dragon.” On March 9, 1966 his AC-47 aircraft was on a close air support mission in the A Shau Valley. The plane was hit by enemy fire and went down. Enemy forces surrounded the downed plane and according to survivors Peterson was still alive when the plane crashed. Cover fire was provided by overhead aircraft and three crewmen were rescued from the crash site. Searchers later found the remains of two additional crewmen, yet there was no trace of Delbert Peterson. He has been listed as missing in action (presumed killed) as his remains were never recovered. Peterson was posthumously promoted to Major.
City of EntryManson
Conflict/Time PeriodVietnam War
Service Location
Separation StatusKilled In Action (KIA)
Specific Jobs