Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Marine Class President: From the Battles of the First World War

One hundred years ago the War in Europe was intensifying and in less than a year the United States would be sending troops to the battlelines.  One such man was Dutton Stiles Peterson.

Dutton was born in Costello, PA on December 10, 1894 and was dedicated by his mother to the ministry of God soon after birth, yet his path to getting there would take several detours.  He graduated from High School in 1910 and attended Valparaiso University in Indiana from 1910-1912.  He would go on to teach and work at Highland Condensing Company from 1913-1916 where he tested milk.  He would also work as a machinist at Morrow Manufacturing in Elmira, NY from 1916-1917.

Then on April 6, 1917 the United States entered the World War.  Dutton enlisted in the 5th Marine Regiment and was sent to France on June 8, 1917.  The 5th Marine Regiment was also called the "Fighting Fifth" this group fought in some intense battles.  He was commissioned for distinguished service on the field at Belleau Woods, a fierce battle that cost nearly 2,000 lives and injured nearly 8,000. 

In September 1918 he was promoted from Corporal to Lieutenant.  He was captain while fighting in Germany of the Automatic Rifle Team.  This team set a world record at the time.  He also served in the Verdun and Marache Sectors and fought at the Chateau Thierry, Soissons, St. Mihiel Argonne Forest, and the march to the Rhine.

He would return home with over forty physical wounds from his time in Europe and returned to the machine shop he had left in Elmira.  While in Elmira the prayer of dedication his mother had made a quarter of a century earlier would be answered.

In January of 1920 Dutton entered Practical Bible Training School as a student.  He was chosen as the Class President for the class of 1922, the first class to have a yearbook where his information is recorded.

The prayers of a mother and the protection of God in the battlefields of Europe lead this young man to the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lieutenant Dutton Stiles Peterson went home to glory on October 20, 1964 at the age of 69.  

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At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for this post - Dutton Stiles Peterson was my Great Grandfather. Information that has always been interesting to me: He was very good friends in the Marines with a man named Osco Watson Robinson. Osco made Dutton promise that if anything ever happened to him, he ( Dutton ) would look after his ( Osco's ) sister Martha. Osco was killed in Action and Dutton was wounded - throughout the rest of his life he carried shrapnel in his body from the battle that killed Osco. Dutton married Osco's sister Martha and they named their first born son Osco.


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