In 1965, Pete Peduzzi flunked out of college. It seemed like a setback at the time, but it changed the trajectory of his life in a way he never expected. While deciding what to do next, he knew the military was in need of recruits for the Vietnam War, so he chose to enlist in the U.S. Army on October 22, 1965. Pete did not think of it as a career decision at the time, but one year later, he received his commission as a Second Lieutenant. He went on to become an Army aviator and serve a total of 25 years in uniform.
“The Army is the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Pete in a recent interview. Looking back on his career, he not only feels immense pride in his Army service, but he recognizes how his time in uniform has shaped his life as a civilian. As a flight instructor and pilot with over 3,000 flying hours, Pete has taken the skills and leadership he learned as a Soldier and applied them to positions in government relations and acquisitions, including when he founded his own aerospace business development firm, Peduzzi Associates Ltd.
When Pete learned about the campaign to build the National Museum of the United States Army, he immediately began making generous individual gifts. His strong belief in the mission pushed him to set a goal of raising $50,000 with the help of his personal network.
“I didn’t want the gift to be about me, so I started an LLC, the ‘Loyal Veterans and Friends of the United States Army,’” explained Pete. “Together, it took four years to reach our goal, but we did it.” The organization’s name is now proudly displayed on the Donor Wall in the Museum Lobby.
In addition to preserving the history of the Army that he loves, Pete has greater hopes for what the Museum will mean to civilians. He said that with less than one percent of Americans serving in uniform and recent polls showing a decline in patriotism, Pete hopes the Museum will generate an understanding and appreciation of the Army’s values and deepen Americans’ sense of pride in their country.