William R. Peers

Ranked #59 on the list Best Military Person of All Time

Based on 4 votes

About William R. Peers

  • Participated in conflicts: Vietnam War

William R. Peers (June 14, 1914 – April 6, 1984) was a United States Army General, who is most notable for presiding over the Peers Commission investigation into the My Lai massacre and other similar war crimes during the Vietnam War. Peers, often referred to by his middle name "Ray" by close associates, was born in Stuart, Iowa in 1914. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles where he was a member of the Sigma Pi Fraternity. He graduated with a degree from the College of Education in 1937, and received a regular Army commission in 1938. When the United States entered World War II, Peers was recruited into the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He joined Detachment 101, which carried out guerrilla operations against the Japanese in the China India Burma Theater. At first the unit's operations and training officer, he eventually became the unit's commander. He held that position until 1945, when he became commander of all OSS operations in China south of the Yangtze River. In this capacity he led a Nationalist Chinese parachute-commando unit into Nanking, securing the former Chinese capital from the Japanese and Communist Chinese before the armistice. After WWII,

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