Peter T. Deutermann was born in 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Lieutenant Commander (later Vice Admiral) and Mrs. H.T. Deutermann. The family moved in 1944 to La Jolla, California, where they lived until the end of the Second World War in the Pacific. Between the end of the war and 1959, when Peter entered the Naval Academy, the family lived in various places throughout the United States and also in Argentina. Peter Deutermann attended parochial, public, and Jesuit high schools, graduating from Creighton Prep in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1959. He was commissioned in 1963 at Annapolis into the surface line, where he was ordered to the new destroyer USS Morton (DD-948). He served in Morton for two years, and was onboard for the second Gulf of Tonkin incident in September,1964, which precipitated the first significant aircraft carrier strikes against North Vietnam.
Following his tour in Morton, he was assigned to class 13 of the destroyer department head school in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon graduation he was diverted from the destroyer forces to Coronado, California, to train in the new Swift class gunboats. Upon completion of training, he went to Manila, Philippine Islands, as officer in charge of a mobile training team which trained Philippine navy crews to use Swift boats against the pirates plaguing Manila Bay and the waters off Corregidor. From Manila, he went in-country Vietnam as officer in charge of PCF-39, based at the mouth of the main Mekong river channel that led up to Saigon. After a year there, he was assigned as operations officer in USS Hull (DD-945), which operated intermittently for the next two years off the coasts of North and South Vietnam providing naval gunfire support for Army and marine forces ashore.
In 1968, he married Susan Cornelia Degenhardt, of Gainesville, Florida, and went off to two years at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, where he was awarded a masters degree in public administration and international law. Following graduate school, he returned in 1970 to the Pacific Fleet as operations officer of the guided missile cruiser Jouett (CG-29). A month later, the ship went back to Vietnam, serving as the overall air warfare commander in the Gulf of Tonkin and also as a recovery ship for downed navy and air force pilots. During that deployment the ship visited Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and the Philippines. In 1972, he went to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, for one year. He was then assigned to the Pentagon for three years, serving on a joint command and control computer integration project.
Following shore duty, he returned to sea, this time in the Atlantic Fleet as executive officer of the guided missile destroyer USS C.F. Adams (DDG-2), which made two deployments to the Mediterranean over the following two years. He returned to the Pentagon in 1978 as a staff officer in the politico-military policydivision of the navy headquarters staff. He published his first book in 1980, a handbook for navy operations officers, through the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis, Maryland. In 1981, he assumed command of the guided missile destroyer Tattnall (DDG-19) for a three year tour of duty, which included combat operations off Lebanon. Following that assignment he was ordered to be the executive secretary to the Chief of Naval Operations for JCS matters in Washington, D.C. In late 1985, he assumed command of Destroyer Squadron 25, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for two years, during which he made one deployment to the Indian Ocean, where he visited Kenya, Pakistan, Singapore, and Japan.
Upon conclusion of the Pearl Harbor tour of duty, he was assigned to the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in London, England, for one year. The RCDS was an international course studying the influence of military affairs on geopolitics, whose members represented forty different countries. In 1988 he returned to the Pentagon as the head of the Strategy Planning branch on the navy staff. He was then assigned as the division director of the arms control negotiations office concerned with chemical, biological, and radiation weapons on the joint staff. He was appointed as a technical delegate to the United Nations, and participated in arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union in Geneva. He retired from active duty after 26 years in 1989 with nineteen military awards and decorations. He then worked successively for three companies over the next four years which supported the Federal Aviation Administration in the procurement of large scale computer systems.
Mr. Deutermann and Susan live in Rockingham County, North Carolina, where he helps her run her Dartmoor pony breeding farm. In the past ten years, Mr. Deutermann has served on the board of directors for two high-tech companies, and on the board of advisors of the SpaceVest Venture Capital Group in Washington, D.C. Their son, Daniel, is a Coast Guard helicopter pilot. Their daughter, Sarah, was a radar intercept officer in navy F-14 fighter jets and now works for Booz-Allen Consulting. Two of Mr. Deutermannís uncles, his father, and both his brothers served in the armed forces, as have some of their children. There has been a Deutermann on active military duty continuously since 1920. Mr. Deutermannís hobbies include the design and construction of formal gardens, reading American civil war history, and the study of the first century Roman Near East.