We Mourn the Passing of Heroic War Veteran
Lt. Col. John W. Peterkin
It is with the deepest sadness we announce Lt. Colonel John W. Peterkin passed away on Saturday morning, June 6, 2020. LTC Peterkin was our beloved friend, freedom-loving patriot and decorated heroic war veteran, long standing member of the Queens Village Republican Club, “Veteran of the Year” honoree at the 139th Anniversary Lincoln Day Dinner, U.S. Navy WWII Veteran, U.S. Army Korean War Veteran, U.S. Army Vietnam War Veteran, U.S. Army, Infantry, Retired, and New York City Police Officer, Retired.
He was one of the greatest, kindest and most beautiful souls we have ever known, always caring, always high spirited, always giving, loving his family and friends, active and involved in Veterans causes and Republican campaigns until his last moments. We love him and will miss him dearly. R.I.P. our dear friend and great American hero.
For a lifetime of service to his city, state and nation in his U.S. military and civilian careers in the City of New York, Lt. Col. John W. Peterkin is highly deserving of the “Veteran of the Year” award and the praise and gratitude of all Americans.
Lieutenant Colonel John W. Peterkin (Ret.) U.S. Army, a decorated war hero who served in WW II, the Korean War and Vietnam, leads a humble life in the charming Village of Bellerose Manor, Queens. A descendant of Jamaican, Native American and African heritage, John lives with his Vietnamese wife, Ngoc Thi, and his two sons, Captain Sylburn Van Peterkin, who serves in the U.S. Army Reserves and as a Police Officer for the City of New York, and Captain James Van Peterkin Thach (Ret.) U.S. Army, who was seriously wounded while serving in Iraq, and now supports the Wounded Veteran Initiative helping his fellow veterans.
Only the limited circle of John’s closest friends and family have known of his lifetime of service to our city, state and nation up until now. He now has the opportunity to tell his story given the occasion of being honored at the gala Lincoln Day Dinner on Feb. 9, hosted by the Queens Village Republican Club, of which he is a longtime member. With a stellar line-up of speakers in the elegant setting of the famous Antun’s of Queens Village, the Lincoln Day Dinner is a commemoration of our greatest American president and the father of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln.
A modest man, John realizes the value of passing on the baton to the next generation so they too will understand that freedom isn’t free. While many of his peers have long been deceased, he is still going strong at a ripe age of 86 and will speak out to share the heritage of our great warriors who have sacrificed life and limb so that freedom and democracy will live.
He served in WW II in June 1945 as a U.S. Navy Steward’s Mate, First Class, in the Pacific area of operations and was released from active duty in August 1946. John then served two combat tours in the Korean War from May 1950 when he was commissioned from the City College of New York ROTC program. He was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, the U.S. Army Infantry School, where he received Basic Infantry Officers Training (BIOC) and went on to serve in Korea as a First Lieutenant. He was released from active duty in 1954.
John was recalled to active duty in Vietnam where he served two combat tours between 1968 and 1973 as a U.S. Army Major. His first tour of active combat in Vietnam was from 1969 to 1970, where he was a District Senior Advisor, responsible for directing a team of 3000 field personal to provide civilian and military assistance to 80,000 Vietnamese. He was then called to Puerto Rico, to serve as an advisor to the Puerto Rican Army Reserves. His second combat tour in Vietnam was from 1972 to 1973, after which he was reassigned to Fort Dix, U.S. Army training center in N.J., with the 9th Infantry Training Division. He was released from active duty October 1973 and reassigned to Fort Meade, Maryland as an Operations and Training Officer for Reserve Affairs on the General Staff. For his service in Vietnam, John received two Bronze Stars and two Air Medal awards. He received numerous service awards for every war and every area of operation in which he served.
For the next five years after his active military service, he traded his U.S. Army fatigues for a civil service uniform in the NYPD. He served the citizens of the City of New York as a Police Officer, Teacher in the Police Academy, and Criminal Investigator. As a Police Officer, he served in various Precincts throughout the city and affected over 5000 arrests resulting in a 70% conviction rate.
Since then up until the present time, John has been active in security operations, education and training on a management and executive level as Director of Security at New York City Technical College (CUNY), Senior Operations Manager at New York University, Security Operations Supervisor at Time Warner Inc., and Chief Operations Officer at First Central Security in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
In the civil service sector John has been actively involved in public safety and security for several decades. His lifetime memberships in Veterans organizations include: the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Catholic War Veterans, Korean War Veterans, Knights of Columbus, Military Officers Association of America, National Association for Uniformed Services, 24th Infantry Division Association, Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees, and others. He sits on the boards of the 77th Reserve Officers Association at Fort Totten, the Hospice Care Network of Long Island and Queens, and the 307th Infantry Regiment Association at Fort Totten.
John’s broad educational background includes a BA from City College of New York, an MA from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is also a graduate of the US Army’s Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas and a graduate of the U.S. Dept. of State Senior Advisor Course.
For a lifetime of service to his city, state and nation in his U.S. military and civilian careers in the City of New York, Lt. Col. John W. Peterkin is highly deserving of the “Veteran of the Year” award and the praise and gratitude of all Americans. All local Veterans organizations and their membership are invited to participate in the honoring ceremony of Lt. Col. Peterkin at the commemorative Lincoln Day Dinner on Feb 9th.