Korea is known as the forgotten war. It began on June 25, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. The American-led United Nations command (UNC) came to the aid of South Korea. China and the Soviet Union fought for the North to expand their interests beyond the 38th parallel line established at the end of the Second World War. Nearly five million people died, soldiers and civilians, in the “forgotten war” that ended when an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.
Peter Cuthbert was a young man, a 1951 graduate of Norwich University in Vermont with a major in economics and a minor in history, and newly married, when he received an ROTC commission in the United States Army.
He began his military career as a lieutenant training at Fort Riley in Kansas and the Armor School at Fort Knox in Kentucky before being deployed to Korea. In his early twenties, and the father of a two-week old baby girl, Lt. Cuthbert was given the command of a tank platoon comprised of twenty-five soldiers, five tanks and support vehicles. His unit was responsible for supporting infantry regiments on the front lines.
Following the war, he served as a ” citizen soldier” commanding National Guard Armor units in Patchogue and Bay Shore, as well as an Amphibious Truck Company in Riverhead. His commitment to service didn’t end there. After transferring from the National Guard, Mr. Cuthbert worked in the Pentagon’s United States Army Reserve operations office for thirteen summers from when he retired as a Colonel after 32 years of service.
While he remained in an active support leadership role with the military, he also raised six children with his wife Nan and taught history at the Westhampton Beach High School from 1955 through 1985. Beloved by his students, Mr. Cuthbert coached varsity basketball for six years, junior varsity for one year, and then junior varsity tennis and golf. He was also the principal of the Westhampton Beach Summer High School for many years.
Whether leading his men during the war or instilling a love of history in his high school students, Mr. Cuthbert’s commitment to his country and community makes him the ideal candidate for our January Hometown Hero. Read about his experiences during the Korean War in his own words. The library has copies of his book Korea (Our War) 1950–1953 in our collection.
Please support our local VFW Post 5350 where Mr. Cuthbert is a senior trustee.
101 Old Riverhead Road, Westhampton Beach • 631-653-9898