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George J. Peters (died March 24, 1945) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration‚??the Medal of Honor‚??for his actions in World War II during Operation Varsity.
Biography:¬† Peters joined the Army from his birth city of Cranston, Rhode Island, and by March 24, 1945 was serving as a private in Company G, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division. On that day, his unit was dropped by parachute across the Rhine river near Fluren, Germany. Immediately upon landing, Peters single-handedly attacked a German machine gun emplacement which was firing on his group. He succeeded in destroying the position despite being mortally wounded during his advance. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor eleven months later, on February 8, 1946.
Peters was buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery, in Margraten, the Netherlands.¬† His Medal of Honor was presented to his father Joseph Peters of Cranston, Rhode Island.
Medal of Honor citation: Private Peters' official Medal of Honor citation reads:
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 1-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.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 16 (February 8, 1946)