Welcome To The Official Website For The
The Fourth Commanding Officer For
November 1983 - July 1987
Biography as of the time Commander Walter H. Peterson, USN
assumed command of USS RICHARD B. RUSSELL (SSN-687) is
not yet available.
I recently came across the command portrait of CDR Walter H. Peterson, USN.  CDR
Peterson was my second commanding officer aboard RUSSELL.  CDR Peterson was
mission oriented, intensely focused on events at hand and extremely
knowledgeable of the boat, it's unique handling characteristics and war fighting
capabilities.  CDR Peterson was an impressive leader and could be imposing; yet,
he was always accessible and had a genuine affection for his crew.  CDR Peterson
was a leader in every sense of the word and it was an honor to serve under his

CDR Peterson had an excellent sense of humor, and from time to time, showed a
bit of a humanitarian streak when it came to junior members of the crew.  I
remember, one day, the ship sounded the fire alarm due to smoke coming from the
C.O.'s stateroom.  It seems an MS3 (we won't mention Jimmy Saleda's name)
placed a pillow too close to the Captain's bunk lamp and the heat of the lamp
caused to pillow to ignite and smoke something awful.

When the cause of the fire was discovered, the poor MS3, shaking in his
boondocks, was escorted by COB FTCM (SS) Williams to Control .  CDR Peterson
looked on sternly as the kid apologized; then, with a wink, he simply said to the
MS3, "No one in the crew can say that I haven't "hot bunked".  With the tension
immediately relieved, the skipper reminded those present about due care and the
need for strict attention to the immediate environment and that was that.  No
damage done and a lesson well learned.

As the Medical Department Representative, CDR Peterson always treated me and
my advice on the crews health, safety and welfare with great care and concern.  
CDR Peterson encouraged and allowed me continue to grow into my job providing
excellent advice, guidance and leadership. He will always remain an important
figure in my life and personal development.

CDR Peterson was promoted to Captain shortly after leaving USS Richard B.
RUSSELL (SSN-687) for Naples.  He is still serving his country as a private citizen at
the Pentagon.  Thank you for your contributions and service.  Fair winds and
following seas.

- "Doc" MacDonald