Peter S Connor
Peter was born on the 4th of September, 1932 in Orange, New Jersey. He went to, and graduated from, high school in South Orange in 1950 before enlisting in the US Marine Corps on the 5th of February, 1952. Peter completed his recruit training with the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion in Parris Island in April as a Private First Class. He then transferred to the West Coast in order to complete his advanced infantry training. Soon after, Peter was deployed to Korea where he was a fire team leader and radioman with 3rd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He returned to the States as a Corporal in October of 1953 and finished up his enlistment at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina as a squad leader and platoon guide.
Once on inactive ready reserve with the 4th and 1st Marine Corps Reserve and Recruitment Districts, Peter was discharged in May of 1961 so that he could reenlist with the active Marine Corps. Within a month, he was promoted to sergeant and was then transferred again to the West Coast in July of 1962. After several transfers and smaller deployments, Peter was a staff sergeant with 1st Marine Division when he was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. It was his actions here that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against enemy Viet Cong forces at the risk of his life above and beyond the call duty while serving as Platoon Sergeant of the Third Platoon, Company F, Second Battalion, Third Marines, Third Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in Quang Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam on 25 February 1966. Leading his platoon on a search and destroy operation in an area made particularly hazardous by extensive cave and tunnel complexes, Sergeant Connor maneuvered his unit aggressively forward under intermittent enemy small-arms fire. Exhibiting particular alertness and keen observation, he spotted an enemy spider hole emplacement approximately fifteen meters to his front. He pulled the pin from a fragmentation grenade intending to charge the hole boldly and drop the missile into its depths. Upon pulling the pin he realized that the firing mechanism was faulty, and that even as he held the safety device firmly in place, the fuze charge was already activated. With only precious seconds to decide, he further realized that he could not cover the distance to the small opening of the spider hole in sufficient time, and that to hurl the deadly bomb in any direction would result in death or injury to some of his comrades tactically deployed near him. Manifesting extraordinary gallantry and with utter disregard for his personal safety, he chose to hold the grenade against his own body in order to absorb the terrific explosion and spare his comrades. His act of extreme valor and selflessness in the face of virtually certain death, although leaving him mortally wounded, spared many of his fellow Marines from death or injury. His gallant action in giving his life in the cause of freedom reflects the highest credit upon the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Peter was wounded on the 25th of February, 1966 and was transported to the USS Repose for medical care. However he died eleven days later at the age of 33 years old. Peter Spencer Connors is buried in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California; section A-e, grave 1005.