Vietnam War Commemoration


Former Secretary of the U.S. Army and USMC Colonel William “Bill” E. Peacock

Years of Service during the Vietnam War:


Position and Branch of Service during the Vietnam War:

Captain, United States Marine Corps, Company Commander and Chief Trial Counsel, First Marine Air Wing, and 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade.

Where were you deployed:

I Corps and III Corps – RVN and on board several aircraft carriers.

What caused you to join the military:

With four (4) uncles who served in the US Army in WWII (one, a Major General, two Colonels and one Captain,) I was “branded early on” and never thought about not serving.  Joined the US Marine Platoon Leaders Class program as a Junior at Princeton in 1962 and went onto Harvard Law School, then attended Basic School at Quantico in 1967.

What was the transition like when you returned home?

Went to work as an associate in the oldest law firm in California, Chickering & Gregory in San Francisco, stayed in the Marine Reserve, and tried, mostly but not totally successfully, to ignore all the trouble in the surroundings.

Most significant memory:

Experiencing the feelings of terrible loss at reports of so many friends being KIA or badly wounded.  Our 5-67 Basic School Class had one of the highest percentage of lieutenants killed in action.

What do you wish that civilians would understand about military service?

I think a great many Veterans are proud of their service regardless of their personal views of what they did in uniform.  Many from Vietnam were treated terribly poorly by some when they returned for which there is no excuse – I do not remember too many tomatoes or rocks being thrown at Members of Congress.  From the evidence, I guess it must be pretty damned easy to vote for sending somebody else’s son or daughter into combat.