Richard H. Petersen was born on July 8, 1919, the son of O.H. and Louise Peterson. They lived at 2553 Harrison. Richard’s father would later become Ogden City’s Police Chief. Richard graduated with the Ogden High class of 1937 and in June of 1939 received an appointment to Annapolis. The Petersen family had five sons serving in the war. Woodrow, Drew, Rendall and Max also served.
Richard received his commission as lieutenant and was assigned to the USS Tullibee, a submarine. She was commissioned on February 15, 1943 and completed 3 successful patrols, sinking several Japanese ships.
On her 4th patrol in March of 1944, she was assigned to patrol off the Palau Islands. She soon sighted a Japanese convoy consisting of a large passenger-cargo ship, two medium-sized freighters, a destroyer and two other escorts. The Tullibee made several surface runs on the transport to mark the position. Finally she closed in to 3000 yards and launched two torpedoes from her bow toward the target. About two minutes later the submarine was rocked by a violent explosion. Gunner’s Mate C.W. Kuykendall, on the bridge at the time of the hit was knocked unconscious and thrown into the water. When he regained consciousness the sub was gone. The next day he was picked up by a Japanese destroyer and became a prisoner of war. He was released after V-J Day. He was the only survivor.
Lieutenant Petersen, the third in command on the sub, was reported as missing in action. On September 22, 1944, Police Chief O.H. and his wife received their son’s decoration.
The Citation read: “The U.S.S. Tullibee, on an offensive war patrol in heavily patrolled enemy waters failed to return as scheduled. Although there is no information as to the number of successful attacks delivered during this patrol, the vessel has continuously distinguished herself…It is definitely believed that the Tullibee was pursuing just such bold and aggressive tactics up until the time she was declared missing.”
The family did not receive word of his death until January of 1946.
The caption on this picture from the Standard Examiner, January 13, 1946 states: ‘Chief of Police and Mrs. O.H. Petersen have their four service sons at home. The family gathering is darkened by a recent certain death report of son Richard, whose picture hangs in the background.’
The tragedy of this story is that after the war it was determined that one of the Tullibee’s torpedoes had run a circular course, coming back and striking her. She had been sunk by her own torpedo.