Kevin Gerard Peterson
October 30, 1954 – September 29, 2019
CWO4 Kevin Gerard Peterson, Retired, USAR
Kevin Gerard Peterson was born in Anchorage, Alaska, on October 30, 1954. His dad, Howard, was in the Air Force, which would set the wheels in motion for Kevin's military career long before he was even conscious of it. The oldest of four, Kevin had one sister, Karen, and two brothers, Steven and David—all of whom moved around the world, as Air Force kids do. Alaska, Ohio, Hawaii, Spain, and Texas were all places that played very formative parts in Kevin's upbringing.
Kevin enlisted in the Navy in 1972, just at the tail end of the Vietnam War. He seemed destined to a life as "an enlisted guy," until he met Sheryl Fitzgerald, who would change the course of his life for the better. Sheryl's father, an army colonel, liked him immediately and saw officer potential. And before anyone knew it, Sheryl and Kevin were married on July 4, 1975, and Kevin became a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Army. The bond formed between father-in-law and son-in-law was unbreakable and would help direct Kevin's career both in and out of the military.
During his active duty tenure, Kevin received numerous commendations and awards, and even when he retired from active duty in 1983, the military was not far from his heart. He was active in the U.S. Army Reserves and served multiple tours during Desert Storm and Desert Shield—again receiving recognition for his exemplary service. In addition to his military career—at which he excelled—he also was an outstanding engineer in the civilian world. His expertise crossed multiple specialties, including electrical, mechanical, nuclear, hydroelectric, gas and steam turbine, and more. Kevin, Sheryl and their daughter, Mychelle, moved around the country for various jobs, adding new pins on the map in Florida, Virginia, New York, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Georgia.
In 2002, as the family moved to Miami, Kevin was diagnosed with liver disease that included many complex twists and turns over the next 17 years. Throughout this time, Kevin's courageous mindset persisted, and even in his final days, he never gave up hope. He was the one who uplifted Sheryl and Mychelle when things seemed hopeless. He would not let people feel sorry for him, for he had lived an extraordinary life. Not a life without struggles or challenges, but a life full of adventure, meaning, and love.
Because Kevin didn't talk a lot about his military experiences, his family will never have a complete picture of everything he did, but thanks to some of his friends, they have a good idea of his commendations and designations. Looking at the photo above, anyone can see how decorated Kevin was. For a breakdown of exactly how decorated:
Left Side: British Jump Wings Navy Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) Coast Guard PUC w/hurricane device Army Meritorious Unit Commendation Navy Unit Commendation Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation w/star Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Navy “E” ribbon x2 Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Gallantry Cross Unit Citation RCN Civil Action Unit Citation
Right Side: Navy/Marine Corps Jump Wings Bronze Star Medal Meritorious Service Medal Army Commendation Medal x2 Navy Achievement Medal Combat Action Ribbon National Defense Service Medal x3 Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal x2 Vietnam Service Medal w/2 stars Southwest Asia Service Medal w/2 stars Humanitarian Service Medal Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/M device Army Service Ribbon Army Reserve Components Overseas Service Ribbon Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/star Army Sea Service Deployment Ribbon Army Overseas Service Ribbon RVN Cross of Gallantry w/palm RVN Service Medal Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) Navy enlisted surface warfare qualification badge
Kevin's family is proud of him for all of these accomplishments, but his biggest achievement was being a husband and a dad. He didn't take those commitments lightly, and, just as he did during his military service for his country, he made many sacrifices for his family. Ultimately, the things Kevin did were always to support his family, honoring the vows he took 44 years earlier.
Kevin is survived by his bride and his daughter, both of whom are heartbroken. They take comfort in knowing his pain and suffering are finally over and hope their sweet family pups—Daisy, Candy, and Toffee—greeted him with wagging tails as he approached the Rainbow Bridge.
Mychelle takes special comfort in knowing that they fulfilled one of her daddy’s biggest wishes: a dream trip to return to his childhood home of Sevilla, Spain. Their trip began on September 29, 2018, one year to the day of Kevin’s passing.
Kevin's wishes were for a full military honors funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. However, the scheduling process is lengthy, and the service will likely be held in the spring of 2020. Updates will be posted, as many of Kevin's friends and colleagues have expressed interest in attending.
Sheryl and Mychelle have selected a few charitable organizations that were important to Kevin. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in his memory to any of the following:
Pilots N Paws: https://www.pilotsnpaws.org/
Gary Sinise Foundation: https://www.garysinisefoundation.org/
Team Rubicon: https://teamrubiconusa.org/
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Kevin Gerard Peterson
October 8, 2019
Kevin was a great guy. As my older brother, he was our protector, teacher, mentor and friend. We shared so many adventures together as kids. Kevin was highly intelligent even as young child. At around age 9, he was already a NASA flight instructor, qualifying me for service in our electric clothes dryer in the garage. I believe this was one of his most favorite memories of him and I together as he always asked if I needed to "requal". Of course he was a huge Beatle fan and I wanted nothing more than to be like him, so when he was not home, I sometimes would go in his room and listen to his albums. Of course he didn't want anyone touching his stuff so at about age 14, to keep me out of his room, he electrified his window screen so I could not sneak in through the window and mess with his stuff. Kevin selflessly sacrificed a lot growing up to make sure his brothers and sisters had what they needed when times were tight which often they were. I will be forever grateful that during the last couple months of his life we spent many hours on facetime and I was able to be there for him for a change. There was nothing more important to him and brought him more pride and joy than his wife Sheryl and daughter Mychelle. I will miss him more than I even knew and look forward to seeing him again when we are reunited in Heaven.
October 7, 2019
I went to High School and was acquainted with him through out the hall ways. He was always so nice.... became friends with him years later thru FB and became closer through our post. What an awesome man your Dad was! He touched many hearts with his❤️
My love and prayers are with your family🙏
Leda Perkins Coble
October 7, 2019
I can hardly remember when I didn’t know Kevin (although we only met in high school) . We lost touch and then reconnected on the John Jay FB page. It didn’t feel like any time had passed. He was a true friend, always encouraging and positive (no matter what he was going thru.) I loved the way he spoke of his love for his family and his friends. He brought such joy to the world and he could be quite funny himself. He is missed. My heart goes out to his family. My thoughts and prayers are with each of you.
October 2, 2019
I am sure that many of you shared a "learning" experience with my big brother. It was always that way.
When we lived at Wright Patterson, I, in 3rd grade, was expected to name approximately 20 plane models displayed on the base. Punishment was severe- he'd tell me 2nd graders knew them.
We also used to take hikes....A LOT! Often he would bring a paperback, usually ghost stories, to keep us entertained. We truly were/are an adventure loving crew.
Kevin saved both myself and our brother David from drowning- me in the ocean at Rota, Spain and David at a building site pond in Texas. I dare say, some of you may also still be around because of him.
I hope that your memories will stay with you, long into the future. Keep him in mind. Help someone if you can, be kind even if someone isn't and give those swift kicks in the butt when warranted. But never be a doormat.
Treasure family and friends. Love God and country.
We will meet again.
October 1, 2019
Sorry to hear about Kevin. He was one of the good guys. Knowing him as well as I did, I think he would want his friends and family to celebrate his life (which he lived to the fullest) and not spend too much time mourning his departure. Please accept the Eischens Clan deepest condolences and know that his family will be in our prayers as they walk down this yet-to-be-traveled road.