At today's Veteran's Day assembly, Payson High School inducted Major General Chesley Peterson into the PHS Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.
He graduated from PHS in 1938 and almost immediately went to war. Before the U.S. entered World War 2, he traveled to England and joined the Eagle Squadron as a fighter pilot. When the U.S. entered the war, he switched to the U.S. Army Air Forces and continued to fight. He lived an incredible life of service and heroism, flying over 170 missions, and shooting down many enemies. He once survived a 500 foot fall into the English Channel when he had to bail out of a crippled P-47 Thunderbolt and his parachute failed to open! At the age of 23, he became the youngest full colonel in Air Force history. After the war, Peterson rose to the rank of Major General and served in many capacities and in many places. He was the first person in history to be awarded both the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross and Britain's Distinguished Service Order, each country's second highest military decoration. In addition to many other decorations, he was also awarded the French Legion of Honor.
You can read more about Maj. Gen. Chesley Peterson's incredible life of service from his plaque on the school wall near the main office, on the PHS Hall of Fame website, and in the Utah Aviation hall of Fame.