Piazza honored in Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame ceremony

  • Published
  • By Paul Shirk
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A celebrated Vietnam hero and former Tinker Air Force Base Defender was honored for his service by the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame Oct. 28.

Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) William “Pete” Piazza was inducted into the group’s ranks both for his service during the Vietnam War as well as his service to the Security Forces community later in life.

Members of the Tinker community will recognize Piazza’s name as one of Tinker AFB’s entry gates, named for him during a ceremony held in 2014.

Piazza served three tours in Vietnam. During his second tour, then-Staff Sgt. Piazza was NCO in Charge of the 3rd Security Police Squadron’s “C” Flight Security Resupply Team at Bien Hoa Air Base, near Saigon.

North Vietnamese forces launched a rocket and ground attack Jan. 31, 1968, as part of the Tet Offensive. Piazza drove through machine gun and sniper fire to resupply the defenders who were quickly running out of ammunition.

After the officer-in-charge was killed, Piazza assumed command and rallied with his troops in a show of stamina and force while they counter-attacked during an eight-hour assault. The position was held and in the end numbers of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in aircraft and supplies were spared.

He was awarded the Silver Star shortly thereafter and the 3rd SPS received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat “V” Device.

Piazza later served at Tinker AFB as a Security Section Superintendent for the 2854th Security Police Squadron. Retiring from the Air Force in 1988, Piazza worked as a Police Officer for the VA Medical Center until he retired in 1999.

He was the president of the Vietnam Security Police Association and in 2001, Piazza established the Oklahoma "Heartland" Chapter of the Air Force Security Police Association.