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Peter Lyon "Big Pete" Duttweiler

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Peter Lyon "Big Pete" Duttweiler

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June 03, 2015

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June 03, 2015

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December 18, 2012
I served with Peter in Viet Nam He was our radio operator> I was the unit mail clerk and supply clerk. It is odd that after over 40 years I remember Peter wore the largest boots of anyone in our coumpany. The size was 13 or 14.
December 15, 2012
Every time I pass the VA Medical Center on my way to work or coming back from work my thoughts think of how Peter would come in every two every two weeks for a shot he was taking. He drove from Eileen's and his beautiful home in Navarino.
One time Art saw Peter at the VA Medical Center's garage. What a surprise for both of them!
In the past when I worked at the Carrier Dome I would look out the glass doors in the mornings at the southwestern part of Onondaga County and think of Peter and Eileen in their beautiful log cabin home. I still do that and treasure the memory and always will.
December 14, 2012
In the early 2000's, Peter compiled THE ALPHA ATLAS. Peter asked family members to contribute if they desired and gave us free reign to write our own message. Here is mine:

Letter written for The Alpha Atlas (p. 79) by Peter's older sister, Gail Duttweiler McVicker who carries the MZ phenotype. Written in the early 2000s.

When my brother Peter started talking about Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (A1AD) a few years ago, I barely paid attention. Living out-of-state, I see him rarely. I had heard about the harmful herbicides used in Vietnam but because I had not heard of A1AD (Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency), I didn't take what he said too seriously. In fact, to be honest, I almost discounted his findings as “speculative”.
Peter explained to me that he had a ZZ rating – something I didn't understand until I started looking at the facts. Peter sent me audiotapes, videos and printed materials about A1AD a couple of years ago. I did take the time to scan them. He also gave me an 800 number where I could order free testing kits. I called the number, received the kits which included much literature. I gave it more attention.
At my own yearly routine physical, I asked my doctor if I could be tested (along with my blood test) for A1AD). She was aware of A1AD and agreed. The result came back explaining that I was classified as an MZ (a carrier).
I think back on my brother Peter (seven years my junior) who was probably the most athletically gifted of we five siblings. He was pitcher on his Little League team, a high school basketball star player – and one over-brimming with horseplay and activity. Peter, today at 48, has the lungs of a much older man.
My heart aches now to see this big (six-foot five) strapping man “winded” after just watering his small garden or putting up Christmas tree lights or even if the weather happens to be a little muggy.
Peter, who was no slouch, enlisted in the Army in 1967. He trusted that the U.S. medical induction staff would perform a competent physical examination. Such was not the case. The Army's doctors did not detect that Peter had Alpha-1, nor did they even bother administering a pulmonary function test (PFT).
They sent Peter to Vietnam.
When one afflicted with AIAD inhales toxins, which contaminate the lungs, there is no capacity for repair or recovery. It is as if the contaminates “freeze-dry” the lung tissues, into their decimated state which is irreversible.
Had the Army competently diagnosed Peter, he might still be enjoying the strong and agile athletic body he was born with. The Army takes no accountability for this situation blaming Peter's ailment on cigarette smoking. The fact is that Peter's brother David, four years older, has the same ZZ rating, also smoked cigarettes to some extent, and has normal lung capacity. David did not go to Vietnam.
If the Army medical staff's negligence is condoned – other people, so full of promise, could be assigned and exposed to conditions that could permanently curtail their ability to “simply breathe”. Although not intentional, the fact is the Army did not carefully diagnose that Peter had the congenital homozygous Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. This oversight, combined with the conditions of Vietnam (few would argue) had contributed to a severely defective quality of life.
This negligence of a proper diagnosis resulted in more harm to this American volunteer who enlisted to fight for his country in Vietnam that the deadly combat he endured which psychologically haunts him to this day. Rather than dismiss his story as “speculative” the Army should own up to their oversight, express sincere regret and make amends. To date they have not.
Vietnam veterans have experienced enough thanklessness.
The damage done is irreversible. Peter has a right and a duty to bring the Army's oversight of not detecting A1AD to the attention of the American people. At the very, very least, he should receive compensation. However unintentional, the Army's carelessness has maimed him and limited his life options and those of the people closest to him.
By sweeping this under the rug – and looking the other way – dismissing it as “speculative” – how can we prevent it from happening to another person? Erring is human, yet, however embarrassing an error may be – those responsible must take accountability and make reasonable effort to amend. Denial of the truth is demoralizing to the citizens of a country – especially, especially in a situation where a 19-year old youth responds to his country's call.
Americans need to believe that their country has integrity and compassion. They need to believe that the USA looks out for their own -- especially when they make such a sacrifice as Peter did on behalf of what he thought was protecting an honorable America.
Do not dishonor America by turning your back on this Veteran who was wrongfully sent to a place where he had no choice but to inhale toxic materials.
December 14, 2012
Below are excerpts from a letter I received from Peter in 1968 on the topic of war protestors. This is how he, at 19, reacted:

Letter to sister Gail from Peter 3/16/68 on the subject of draft dodgers and war protestors.
“I personally do not believe in all this hanky panky that those __________ do to stay out of the draft. Isn't it nice that people can go over here my age and even younger and fight for their country and get killed, while those sweethearts stay back home.
My opinion of them is that they are __________ and to tell ya the truth I am sure the general feeling of the guys over here is that we would not want them here. Their ways are ridiculous, but if they stopped and thought that if there weren't men willing to fight and die before they were born – they would and could never have the opportunity to protest right now.
It is funny – I guess you get that way. Believe me, I am not the most patriotic person, but to tell ya the truth, I would not be afraid to die for my country.
Don't think I am playing the John Wayne role but after a while of being over here, and seeing the cause not just in the Syracuse Herald Journal, the actual cause and exactly how the people live and just how pitiful it really is, it changes you.
These are a few points which were on the top of my head and I figured I would put off. Maybe they don't amount to much, but that is how I feel. To sum it up – it's just not right.
So let them lose weight, grow their cute locks nice and long, sing their songs -- I don't want nothing at all to do with them.
I could write longer but well, this is the 3rd page and golden truth – really that's pretty good. Write soon – let me know what you think.
Love, “Peeps”
December 07, 2012
Tomorrow's the 113th football game between Army-Navy academies, and once again I'll miss the friendly jokes and banter with Peter that made the week leading up to it so special. Thinking of Peter on the 71st anniversary of Pearl Harbor and nearly 44th since Tet.
Part of a poem from Rudyard Kipling that Peter and I always liked:
"The tumult and the noise subside,
The Captains and the Kings depart.
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and contrite heart.
Oh God of hosts, forgive us yet;
Lest we forget, lest we forget."
December 06, 2012
With admiraton and fond memories of Peter, I send sympathy and loving best wishes to all of his wonderful family, my 2nd cousins.
Merry Chriatmas and Happy New Year to all, Sally~Sara Sawyer Bodlak.
September 08, 2012
I served in Viet Nam with Peter 1968. I was the unit mail clerk and supply clerk. He wore the largest boots in our company. Its odd how that I can remember that after all these years. James Swearengin
September 07, 2012
I knew you all your life and I will remember all of mine. sleep well my friend. -Larry
September 06, 2012
Peter Thank You so Much for Serving in Vietnam and Keeping us all safe here at home.
September 06, 2012
When I saw That you Died I was so sad. We Never met but did email each other.

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