EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – A local World War II and Korean War Veteran has passed away at the age of 102. Those who met him said they will always remember his captivating stories.
“And you’ve heard of Monte Cassino, haven’t you? You can look 260 degrees downhill. You couldn’t get around them,” said Lt. Col. Oren Lee Peters during a 2018 interview.
Peters, a WWII and Korean War Veteran from Edmond, was doing what he did best, storytelling.
“I’m Sir Knight Lt. Colonel Oren Lee Peters, retired,” said Peters. “The French made me a knight.”
After he joined the Oklahoma National Guard when he was still in high school, Peters served in the 45th infantry under General George S. Patton.
“Specifically, he was in the 179th infantry regiment, which was based out of Edmond,” said Denise Neil, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma National Guard Museum, formerly the 45th Infantry Museum.
Peters participated in eight major campaigns and four amphibious operations in Italy, France, and Germany.
His brother, Art Peters, was also a soldier and the man in the iconic picture of the U.S. soldier laying on Adolf Hitler’s bed reading “Mein Kampf.”
“[Oren Peters] was heavily involved in the early days of the formation of the museum and helping set up exhibitions,” said Neil. “His loss is really significant.”
All of his medals, including two purple hearts, weighed down his uniform.
“What medals? Silver star, bronze star, commendation,” said Peters.
However, his most precious trophies are his four children.
“He was an awesome dad,” said his son, Mike Peters. “Perfect example for us.”
His sons said they didn’t hear about their father’s war stories until they became adults.
“I think it wasn’t important for us to know the details, just the results,” said Shan Peters, another one of Peter’s sons.
The two men said Peters practiced what he preached.
“He always said, ‘volunteer,'” said Mike Peters. “He was a boy scout leader, he was in the rotary club, he was in Kiwanis, he’s a mason.”
Peters died on Saturday from pneumonia and heart failure. He was surrounded by family.
“Absolutely a full life, at 102, how could you not live a full life?” asked Mike Peters.