SD Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Please Support the Memorial Soldiers, Heroes, and teachers information



In Memory of U.S. Marines Private First Class

Peter Richard Ommen

Central City, South Dakota, Lawrence County

September 7, 1947 – April 30, 1967

Killed in Action in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam


Peter Richard “Pete” Ommen was born on September 7, 1947, in Chamberlain, South Dakota, to Richard and Audrey (Reis) Ommen. He had one brother, Rodney, and three sisters, Rickie, Rita, and Lonna. Pete was raised in Central City, South Dakota, where he attended Deadwood High School, from where he graduated in May of 1966. Peter enjoyed hunting and fishing with his dad, brother, and his friends. He didn’t have a lot of jobs because from the time he was in seventh grade, he worked for his aunt and uncle, Laura and Stanley Reis, on their ranch. After the service, Pete wanted to work full time on the ranch and maybe even run it himself when his aunt and uncle retired.

Peter Ommen enlisted in the Marines in September 26, 1966, in Deadwood. He was trained for eight weeks in San Diego at Camp Pendleton with mortars, which were big guns. Before he went overseas, Peter came home on leave in January of 1967. Private First Class Peter Ommen was sent to Vietnam on March 12, 1967. He was stationed with M (Mike) Company, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division. The following is from one of Pete’s first letters home, dated April 20, 1967:

…What have you been doing? I sure will be glad to get home. But that is a long way off....Tell Rod if he learns to drive pretty good I will let him drive my new 68 GTO when I get it ….

One of the guys that I’m with got a half gallon of Jack Daniels in the mail and boy did we get loaded. It’s a good thing we didn’t have a fire mission or the Lt. didn’t come down. We couldn’t even walk. Well best go for now. Write soon. Love, Pete P.S. Send a couple rolls of film with my camera.

Private First Class Peter Richard Ommen died on April 30, 1967, in Quang Tri, Republic of Vietnam, “as the result of gunshot wounds sustained from hostile rifle fire while engaged in action against hostile forces during an operation” as they fought to take Hill 881. Another letter with a May 4, 1967, postmark arrived from Peter. Some of the lines were as follows:

Well, it’s 11 o’clock and I can’t sleep because me and the guy that’s in the same hole with me just wounded a rat….he got off the knife and got away. Now we are afraid he will come back and attack us tonight in our sleep. So we aren’t going to sleep tonight. Boy, it was about 8 or 10 inches long…

We just got back off a 4-day operation and boy that was a rough one; we walked about 10,000 meters. It rained all 4 days. The first night we slept on a hill that was so steep I had to brace my foot against a tree to keep from sliding down. …we might have to go out and pull Lema company out of some trouble. She left today for an operation. They had 1[illegible] men and now they only got 40 that are able to fight…

Peter’s body was returned to the United States with military escort and following a funeral at the Lead Methodist Church, he was buried with military honors at the Mountain Lawn Cemetery in Lead.

Current survivors of Pete Ommen include his sisters: Rickie (Larry) Karns, Spearfish, SD; Lonna Hollon, Phoenix, AZ; and Rita (Jim) Snow, Phoenix, AZ; and his brother, Rodney (Janet) Ommen, Buena Vista, CO. He is also survived by 5 nieces and 3 nephews.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Dylan Johnson, and Branden Nauta, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on February, 10th, 2006. Information for this entry was provided by the Ommen family via Rickie Karns, Phoenix, AZ, an application for South Dakota Veterans Bonus, and the Pioneer Times, 5/3/67 issue. Profile approval by Rickie Karns.


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