Pete Oswald was born on March 22, 1961, in Washington. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1980, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on May 23, 1984. Oswald served in Surface Warfare in the fleet until he attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, graduating in September 1988. He then served with SEAL Team THREE at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California, from 1988 to 1991, and during this time he served as Officer-In-Charge of SEAL Team THREE, Delta Platoon, during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm from December 1990 to March 1991. His next assignment was as Fourth Phase Officer, Basic Training Officer, and Director of Training at Naval Special Warfare Center Coronado, California, from November 1991 to February 1994, followed by served as Flag Lieutenant and Aide de Camp to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command from February 1994 to August 1995. LCDR Oswald attended the Defense Language Institute at Monterey, California, for Japanese language training from August 1995 to November 1996, and then served as a Naval Attache to Japan at Yokosuka, Japan, from December 1996 to January 1999. During this time he also attended Kyoto University in Yokosuka as an Olmsted Scholar. CDR Oswald's next assignment was as Executive Officer of Special Boat Unit 12 at NAB Coronado from February 1999 to June 2001, followed by service as Commanding Officer of Naval Special Warfare Unit FOUR at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, from July 2001 until his death in a training accident in El Salvador on August 27, 2002. Pete Oswald was buried at the Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, Washington.
His 2nd Meritorious Service Medal, awarded posthumously, reads:
For outstanding meritorious service as Commanding Officer, Naval Special Warfare Unit FOUR from July 2001 to August 2002. Commander Oswald performed his duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner. Demonstrating superior operational focus, Commander Oswald became a vital leader in the development of Maritime Interdiction Operations in the United States Southern Command area of responsibility. His ability to quickly bridge the gap between Special Operations and Naval Conventional Forces was remarkable. His leadership of the Battle Staff, two Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boat Detachments, Auxiliary Swimmer Diver Vessel TWO, deployed Patrol Coastal ships, Riverine Detachments, two SEAL Platoons, Joint Chief of Staff Exercises, and Counter-Drug Training Support missions was extraordinary. His diligent efforts and resourcefulness inspired all who observed him and significantly contributed to the overall accomplishment of Naval Special Warfare Unit FOUR's mission. The exceptional professional ability, steadfast initiative, and selfless dedication to duty exhibited by Commander Oswald reflected great credit upon him and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.