Pete Schoeffel was born in 1932 in Virginia. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1950, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on June 4, 1954. His first assignment was aboard the destroyer USS Eaton (DDE-510) from July 1954 to August 1956, followed by flight training from August 1956 until he received his designation as a Naval Aviator in January 1958. Lt Schoeffel served as an A-4 Skyhawk pilot with VA-66 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, from January 1958 to February 1962, and then received an assignment to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, to complete his degree in Operations Research from March 1962 to June 1964. After serving at the Bureau of Naval Personnel from June to December 1964, LCDR Schoeffel served on the staff of the Director of Naval Warfare Analyses (OP-91) in the Pentagon from December 1964 to July 1965. He then completed A-4 Skyhawk Replacement Air Group training with VA-45 and VA-44 from July to December 1965 before serving as an A-4 pilot with VA-15 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida, and deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CVS-11) from December 1965 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on October 4, 1967. After spending 1,989 days in captivity, CDR Schoeffel was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries, and then served as a Special Projects Officer with Light Attack Wing ONE at NAS Cecil Field from August 1973 to March 1974. After completing A-7 Corsair II Replacement Air Group training with VA-174 at NAS Cecil Field from April to August 1974, CDR Schoeffel served as Commanding Officer of VA-82 at NAS Cecil Field, from August 1974 to August 1975. He then served as a program evaluator with OP-96 in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon from 1975 to 1977, and as Branch Head of the Aircraft Combat Survivability Branch with Naval Air Systems Command from 1977 to 1979. His final assignment was as Division Director of the Cost Analysis Division with Naval Air Systems Command from 1979 until his retirement from the Navy on September 1, 1982. After retiring from the Navy, Pete worked for Information Spectrum Inc., a logistics analysis firm, from 1982 to 1988, and then with TRACOR, a logistics support firm under contract to many Naval Air programs, from 1988 to 1990.
His 2nd Legion of Merit w/Valor Citation reads:
For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from October 1967 to March 1973. By his diligent efforts, devotion and loyalty to the United States, and under the most adverse of conditions, he resisted all attempts by the North Vietnamese to use him in causes detrimental to the United States. While maintaining daily contact with the North Vietnamese guards and officers, he performed duties in staff positions resulting in the maintenance of good order and discipline among the prisoners. Further, as an educator he provided diversion and constructive rehabilitative thinking to his fellow prisoners during their long internment. Despite harsh treatment and a lack of material aids, he devoted long hours toward improving their morale and well-being. His extraordinary skill, resourcefulness, and sound judgement reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.