Monday, April 25, 2011

Son Tay Raider MAJ George Petrie, R.I.P. 15 April 2011

Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment Inducted 13 January 2010 Major George Petrie entered the U.S. Army as a Private on June 22, 1958. After attending Basic and Advanced Infantry Combat Training, he was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for Basic Airborne Training, becoming a proud member of the 3 19th Airborne Field Artillery, 82nd Airborne Division.

In 1962, Major Petrie graduated from the Special Forces Communications Course as Honor Graduate and was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as an A-Team Senior Radio Supervisor. When 8th Special Group (Airborne) was stood up at Fort Gulick , Panama Canal Zone , Major Petrie transferred to the new unit. While there, over the next three years, he attended Scuba and Underwater Demolitions School and Spanish Language School.

In 1967 Major Petrie returned to 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), in the Republic of Vietnam as a Team Sergeant and Company Commander of a mobile guerrilla force. The next year, Major Petrie returned to Fort Bragg , assigned first to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), and later 6th Special Forces Group (Airborne). During this time, he graduated the Special Forces Operations and Intelligence Course as Distinguished Honor Graduate and also completed the Special Forces Intelligence Analyst Course.

In 1970, Major Petrie received a Direct Commission to First Lieutenant. After completing the Infantry Officers Basic Course at Fort Benning , Georgia , he was chosen as part of Operation Ivory Coast, the mission to rescue Americans held prisoners in the Son Tay prison camp. Major Petrie, part of the Assault Team "Blue Boy," was the first raider to hit the ground during the assault on the camp.

Major Petrie returned to the Republic of Vietnam in 1971, ultimately becoming Company Commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) known as the "George Dickel Gang." He returned stateside for the Infantry Officers Advanced Course where he was the Honor Graduate. His next assignment was with the Joint Casualty Resolution Center in Thailand . He then served in Saigon, first as an Operations Officer, Field Investigator, Corps Desk Officer; and finally as an Action Officer in the U.S. Embassy Defense Attaché Office, serving as a member of the Special Planning Group for the Evacuation of Saigon.

Between 1975 and 1976, Major Petrie was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii . Between 1976 and 1980, remaining in Hawaii , he was again assigned to the Joint Casualty Resolution Center with additional duty as the Special Operations Division Escape and Evasion Officer, U.S. Pacific Command, a post he would also hold in Korea before retiring from Active Duty on May 31, 1980.

Among his numerous decorations he was awarded the Silver Star w/olc, bronze star w/'V' device, ARCOM w/'V' Device, Purple Heart w/olc, Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal.

He had the Master Parachutist wings w/Bronze Combat Star, CIB, Scuba, Pathfinder, Jungle Warfighter badges and Special Forces tab.

George was also awarded the Gold Order of Saint Philip Neri.

George served as President of the Special Forces Association Chapter XXXI for 19+ years.

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