NEWS | April 14, 2021

Oklahoma World War II and Korean War Veteran receives Thunderbird Medal

By Leanna Maschino

Family, friends and fellow Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen gathered for an awards ceremony celebrating a World War II Veteran with a distinguished military service history in the 45th Infantry Division.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Oren L. Peters received the Oklahoma Thunderbird Medal, the Oklahoma National Guard’s highest award presented to a civilian, on Saturday, April 10, in Edmond, Oklahoma, days ahead of his 100th birthday on April 16. The Medal was presented to Peters by Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, the adjutant general for Oklahoma

“For a hundred years, Lt. Col. Peters has served his community, state and nation and I am humbled to have the opportunity to present him with the Thunderbird Medal on behalf of the Soldiers and Airmen of the Oklahoma National Guard," said Thompson.

Peters enlisted into the 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, Oklahoma Army National Guard in January 1939. In September 1940, Peters was activated to prepare for service in World War II, where he served 511 days in combat in the European Theater of Operations. His service overseas earned him the Silver Star for gallantry in action, the Bronze Star for heroism, and the Purple Heart for being wounded in action.

After being discharged in June 1945, Peters re-enlisted into the 45th Infantry Division and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in June 1948. More than three years later in December 1951, he deployed to Korea where he earned additional awards, including his second Combat Infantry Badge.

Peters worked as a full-time federal technician for the Oklahoma Army National Guard from 1954-1978, where he held numerous positions both as a commissioned officer and a chief warrant officer. He retired from the Oklahoma National Guard in 1981 as a lieutenant colonel.

Peters also served the Boy Scouts of America for more than 80 years, Kiwanis International, the Masonic Lodge and his church. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in 2011 for his outstanding accomplishments and distinguished military service.