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Peter F. Christensen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Most Reverend
Peter Forsyth Christensen
Bishop of Boise
Peter F. Christensen.jpg
ChurchCatholic Church
AppointedNovember 4, 2014
InstalledDecember 17, 2014
PredecessorMichael Patrick Driscoll
OrdinationMay 25, 1985
by John Roach
ConsecrationSeptember 14, 2007
by Harry Joseph Flynn, Raphael Michael Fliss, and William Henry Bullock
Personal details
Born (1952-12-24) December 24, 1952 (age 65)
Altadena, California
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
ResidenceBoise, Idaho
ParentsRobert and Ann (née Forsyth) Christensen
OccupationCatholic bishop
Previous postBishop of Superior
Alma materUniversity of St. Thomas, and Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity
MottoTu es Christus Filius Dei Vivi
Styles of
Peter Forsyth Christensen
Coat of arms of Peter Forsyth Christensen.svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

Peter Forsyth Christensen (born December 24, 1952) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who serves as bishop of the Diocese of Boise, Idaho.

On November 4, 2014, Pope Francis named Christensen the eighth bishop in the Diocese of Boise, Idaho. He was installed as bishop in Boise on December 17, 2014, at St. John's Cathedral.[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Vietnam Veteran oral history project | Peter Christensen
  • Video Review for The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker


Good evening everyone my name is Brandon Ward, Penn State Lehigh Valley student. I'm here with Peter Christensen. It is November 18th, 2015 and we are at Penn State Lehigh Valley campus in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. So Peter can you tell me when and where you were born? I was born in Plainfield, New Jersey on January 20th, 1943. Who were your parents and what were their occupations? My father was a service engineering manager for MAC truck. And what was his name? Einar, everybody called him Skip. ((laughter)) And my mother Julia, was a teacher in a New York city school system. Oh really? Yeah she was part-time and then went full time when all the kids, we had 6 kids in our family. When all the kids were in school and out of the house, she went more full-time. So your dad worked at MAC trucks here in Pennsylvania? He worked in Plainfield, New Jersey, he worked in Somerville, New Jersey and he moved to Allentown during the last part of his career. I worked 47 years with him. Wow, that's impressive. So how did they end up meeting since she was a teacher in New York and he was around New Jersey? Well, he was from Perth Amboy. Where's that? In New Jersey, OK and my mom was from Staten Island, New York. OK. They both raced Comet class sailboats and that's how they met. Racing Comet class sailboats and they were married in the early 40's I think. And you said you had 5 other siblings and then yourself as well. Yes. Can you give me their names and their genders and which if any served in the military or was it just yourself? OK, of my siblings I had my sister Karen. She is 2 years younger than I am, No military background. Jill is 5 years younger than I am, also no military. My brother Dave is 13 years younger than I am, also no military. My brother Don was 16 years younger than I am, no military and my sister Jean is 19 years younger than I am. All same father and mother. That's pretty spread out. Yeah, there were 2 sets of 3, like almost they took a 7 year hiatus between the first 3 and the second 3. Nothing wrong with that, so can you tell me a little bit about each of your siblings, what they do for their occupations and where they live? Sure, my sister is a director for Staten Island Hospital now. She's 70 years old and she's still working and she came up as a nurse and got into the management and supervision of the hospital. My sister Jill works for a I guess its a leasing operation, car leasing operation down in North Carolina. My brother Dave is a optometrist out in Arizona. My brother Don is an engineer and he works for a company out in Arizona also in Scottsdale. My sister Jean is a stay at home mom. She's been a stay at home mom and part time work, but she's been a stay at home up in Syracuse. So they are spread out pretty much. I was going to say we are here in Pennsylvania, Arizona is thousands of miles away. My daughter however was military. Was she really? Tell me about that. She spent 5 years in the military. She's a captain, she outranks me and she's currently, she was born in 73 so she is 42 now, but she was an army nurse. And she worked at Walter Reed just about the whole time she was in. And where was that base? Down in Washington D.C. Walter Reed hospital and she had opportunities or close calls rather being deployed to Bosnia and she never did go though, shes been, she spent her whole time the 5 years at Walter Reed hospital. Oh I mean when it comes to nurses or doctors it doesn't matter what branch. You know me being in the Navy. Our HM's are always deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and that goes for every other branch because you always need people in the medical field without a doubt. How did she like her time in the military? She liked it. She was a little nervous the whole time. We all are. As a doctor or physician is nervous. She's nervous about meds, very conscientious girl and when you are conscientious you get more concerned that you are doing the right thing all the time. It was important to her to be right and not mess up at all. Exactly, I don't blame her one bit. So what were you doing before you entered the service and at what age did you enter? I went to college before, I went to Wagner college in Staten Island, New York and I graduated in 67, June, 67. Vietnam was going on hot and heavy. I knew that I was going to be drafted or required to serve because we had the draft back then and I was draft age and I finished the college. So I was ready to go in. But I went to work at one of my part time jobs at MAC truck. My father got me a job. A summer job working as a mechanic at one of the branches of MAC truck. So I worked there in Hillside New Jersey until about until about the beginning of 1968. And I went in on a delayed enlistment program. I went in for about two months after I went in on delayed enlistment program and I knew -- I did try to get into the navy and I did try to get in the coast guard. In the Coast Guard, I was the only one of six that day to pass the written test and the only one to fail the color blind test. So I was out for OCS there and Navy required me to be color-- So you said your color blind. What colors? -- Red/Green color blind Red/Green Yeah and it's not like I--well--I know I have a red shirt on Right. When brown gets close to red or green gets close to brown, I have difficulty. Okay But they didn't know I was color blind until I went in for these test. Right. Air Force also had only pilot and navigator jobs. So I couldn't get in there because they required good color-- --and that's what I was gonna ask you--you know. Why did you actually pick the Army over these branches but-- The Army was pretty much down on the list but I went in. I had a friend that was in the recruiting operation. We talked on weekends. I decided to get in the army and they have a choice of what you wanted to do in the Army And really, I picked the artillery because it was back further. Little did I know that there was a job called forward observer in the artillery and I ended up in the front anyway so [laughter] so But it worked out fine. I really appreciate what the Army did for me. It's my opinion that everybody should serve. It's good for the country and for the person. Exactly! Getting that structure. Being able to work as a team. Not many people can say that they have done that. So I There's obviously a difference between enlisted and officers and you were an officer yourself. So when you shipped off. Was there an officer boot camp that you had to go through that was similar to the enlisted boot camp. I went through artillery officer training. Ok. Can you tell us about that? Yes I went in, I finished my basic training. My two months of basic training in the army up in Missouri. Fort Leonard Wood and then I went to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for advanced individual training which was another two months. And then I went into the OCS training which was 6 months and we went through 6 months of artillery OCS. And Just about December I got my orders. I got commission, got my orders for, I was 50 percent of my OCS class went to Vietnam. And the second half all about 4 or 5 guys went to Vietnam the second year that they were in for a 3 year tour. So can you tell me a little bit about OCS. Did you enjoy everything you were taught? Yes, it was very informative. Knowing you are going into combat, very attentive. You want to learn everything you can get out of the school. And I did that, I approached it that way. From physical training, I did well enough in my Physical training where after the first PT test, I didn't have to go through any more tests after that "For your duration of your time in the army?". For my duration of my time in OCS And I had just came out being on the wrestling team in college, at Wagner, so I was pretty fit "I was gonna sa the pictures you showed us earlier, you definitely look like you were in shape" that was probably 10lbs lighter than I was when I went over there, because when we were out in the fields, I only carried two meals with me a day so you only ate two meals plus you walked ten miles a day "I can only imagine, specially with that weather in Vietnam" "Can you tell me; what was the toughest challenge that you faced going through OCS?" Toughest challenge, maybe pretty opinionated when I first went it to OCS, and my TAC officer was 19 years old and I was 25 and I felt that I probably knew as much as him or whatever, and I ended up restricted almost every weekend That was the toughest part in OCS for me, but again, it was a whole class full of college graduates, and you can just imagine how that was like-- WARD: Right. CHRISTENSEN: -- for that poor, 19 year old, TAC officer. WARD: Exactly. Yeah. You know you have to draw that line for sure. CHRISTENSEN: That was the -- That was probably the toughest thing of OCS. That was very physical. Very regimented. and a lot of what they call "punishment". but it wasn't. It was for building you up to withstand that -- WARD: Exactly. Break you down, just to build you up. CHRISTENSEN: Right. Right. WARD: You know. Make you a better person overall. Was that the best shape that you've ever been in your entire life? CHRISTENSEN: Yes. Yes, that was. I tried to maintain shape, after that but you--you've got a family and I still work out a little bit, you know. WARD: Exactly CHRISTENSEN: Weights down in the basement. -- Go down -- throw them around -- WARD: Yeah its just not as regimented. CHRISTENSEN: No. It's not. WARD: You know, as being over and -- you know -- what your gonna be doing day after day and you're expected to do that -- you know -- when you're home. Back in the civilian workforce and lifestyle. You know. It definitely changes day to day. CHRISTENSEN: Yep. WARD: Do you recall any of your other instructors? You know. Did they give you a lot of great advice that helped you later on in your career? No, it's just an over well experience I think their I had one instructor that was insistant that you not fall asleep in class And after they keep you up most of the night before It's pretty tough You've got to get to the back of the class and stand makes you feel like your going to fall asleep That how it was in boot camp were they just told you to constantly drink water and that always kept you awake as well So this one time I got falling asleep, I went to the back of the room I'm standing there pray rest listening to the speech and fell asleep on my feet and crashed over the table ((Laughing)) So and he broke, first time I've ever seen him laugh ((Laughing)) That is pretty funny So obviously we've been talking about OCS and all the other training that you've gone to other than that did you receive any other specialized training that helped you out in the field. Well the one thing that helped me out pretty good was 2 weeks of jungle training down in Panama What is that? I have never heard of that. Its ah, they took us down to Panama around X-mas and ah fort Derussy I think was the name of it down there I was only there 2 weeks and they put you through like a boot camp but what they did primarily was get you used to jungle. OK. Jungle canopy, jungle what there in the jungle to eat Survival training. Is that because the Panama terrain is similar to Vietnam as well Panama was worse than anything I saw at Vietnam As far as heat and wet heat I mean I some of that at Vietnam but, Panama was worse then that And they took us on escape and invasion there to and I thought that was a pretty, I felt pretty good about that kind of training Because they in fact I they broke us up into 3's I guess for safety reasons and luckily released us at a release point And they set up ambushes all through the area. You had to avoid the ambushes and also make it to the end of this 10-mile obstacle course up mountains and then into water and up and down It was pretty good the fact that they assigned, I was a brand new butter bar. They gave me 2 captains as my platoon and I was the leader. Really? I was the leader So they are 2 ranks higher than you and expecting you to lead Right Right they didn't give it to me they assigned me as the leader, the head of the school. Did they assign you that because they saw something in you. I don't know. ((Laughing)) I didn't ask any questions. Just do what your told But ah, one thing I was good at in OCS was map reading If your going to be a forward observer you better be good at map reading Because you could kill yourself or you could get a lot of other people hurt So I was decent at that and escape and invasion in OCS I ended up with about 3 or 4 times the number of people We started with they got them back to where we were supposed to go Because they were lost and it was also at night And so down there, did the same thing I told those guys We are actually pulling up to the discharge place And I had to have my 2 guys get off the truck early We got off early and we circumnavigated the first couple ambushes And so thats and we got finished and we were one of the first one finished and it was ah, they awarded all those jungle expert. So, was there a ribbon involved with that or was there a paper? I think they gave us something. I forget what it was. It wasn't a service ribbon or any kind of ribbon. It was a jungle expert pin or something like that. Ah, but it was probably the best training for being in the jungle in Vietnam. And obviously you are one of very few people to say that you've gone through this training because other than Vietnam, what other time have they done it? So, that's right they wouldn't have any opportunity to do it for a career. Right, honestly even though the war is not going on. I would have to gone through a training like that, just for the experience itself and how difficult it probably was and obviously you did extremely well. I did well, and it was important to me to successfully do that because I wanted to save my life and I wanted to save the lives of the people with me. Exactly and I can only do that by being trained properly. That is one thing I did see during my whole career in the army is that the training pops up and say hey. I reacted to that and I reacted properly. Right. So that was one thing that really helped. So you started in the army at the age of 25 after working at MAC trucks alongside your father and going to college you know getting your degree at Wagner. How did you adapt to the military life including the physical regiment, barracks, food and social life going from civilian sector to military? Ah, I had no problem, I really didn't. Married before I went over. At what age did you get married? I got married at 24. We were married about 2 weeks after I graduated college we were married. And how did your wife feel about you going into the army? She didn't like it but, you know I wasn't totally thrilled either but it was something I had to do and felt that I was required to do. Ah, eventually when it got going I wanted to do it. Right. But ah, she I forgot what the original question was. It was just adapting to military life to barracks, food, all those different aspects. I had no problem at all there. I just never, barracks life and good army food away from, the problem I had adapting to the LRP rations. The long range patrol rations that we had out in the field. Right. So you needed to boil water and to get a hot meal. I had operations that lasted up to 30 days. That's 30 without a home cooked meal or 30 days without a shower. I had clothes rot from your body. I can only imagine. I didn't wear underwear over there. I guess you call that commando now because I was always wet. You get rashes, you have problems with sweating or rain or going through a rice paddy. The gentleman that I spoke to a couple days ago said that the rain and the humidity would be so bad that they ended up not wearing their jackets because the jackets would get moldy and they would rot. I can't even imagine trying to live a lifestyle like that. I carried a poncho with me in the field but that was only for protection at night as you can sleep better if the rain wasn't hitting you in the face. Exactly. So it was or ground cover too, team up with somebody and make a little tent that was it. So the food that you were describing. When I was in and our guys would go out into the field they would have MRE's. Which was just packaged food which was obviously not very good to eat. Was the food you were eating similar to that or? It was a dehydrated food where you mix water in and you get the hash or whatever, bacon and eggs or whatever. So back to adapting to military life physical regiment, barracks, food and social life we've covered a couple of them already but tell me about the barracks. You were a commissioned officer, were the officers and the enlisted personal bunked together in the same barrack or were they separate? We were separate, my first tour of duty was Vietnam and we had officers quarters there. Of course it was just one bunker vs another bunker but it was pretty well split up. Even the enlisted people had a lot of different bunkers. It was spread out pretty much. You don't want everybody in one bunker in case something happens so you want to be able to compact it and shoot the guns in case a fire mission was required. Can you, from what you can remember can you describe the inside of the barracks for us. Yes, there was a centralized bathroom and showers we had bunk beds. This was in training. After commission or before? Either you can try both of them. before commission like any other training group. Maybe four people in a cubical or something and bunk beds and then there was another cubical with bunk beds and so forth down the line you had a big room, full of bunk beds. Right. But In Vietnam we had four of us, two Forward observer, a Battery Commander and an Executive Officer in one bunker which come to think of it maybe not too smart either. We should have been split up! Like both in the same location. The Forward observers were only there part-time for the first nine months I was a forward observer and I was out in the field most of that time and then after the nine months I was an assistant Executive Officer So how many months were you actually in Vietnam? 12 moths OK. A standard tour If anything less than 12 months, I would have been hurt, I`m glad Ive been there for 12 months "So, how many individuals were in your platoon, how many soldiers?" In the battery, I think we had probably about 150, included cooks and mechanics. First sergeant helps them Battery commander was a captain executive officer was first lieutenant We had another guy and myself were "butter bars" "You were a forward observer obviously, how many forward observers were in your platoon, was it very few?" In our whole battery, we had two forward observers, and we didn't observe just for our battery We got shipped, we had to make our way to wherever the mission was going out of and when we got there, then we get with the company commander, the infantry commander, and find out what the mission was what he wanted me to do, where he wanted me, does he want defensive targets at night or not and just get the feed on what the mission was all about but I only called from my battery one time, because one mountain I was one, as a permanent observation post We were in reach of my battery, and my battery was in reach of us, so they were able to shoot for me. OK. "So, going back, you had said that you had trouble, you wanted to be in the Navy first originally and the Air Force but you had issues with color blindness, obviously you need some decent sight in order to be a forward observer Why did the army trust you after leaning you had this deficiency?" I think they had a need for people, I don't think color blindness was a factor there you don't have to see...I don't know what colors you would even look for I guess some of them in the Navy would have different colored flags. I don't know but they had its a stiff requirement, they told me, the coast guard over at Governors Island, thats where I went for the test he said "We can't use you, you`re color blind" Then I checked with the army, no with the Air Force and Navy, and they had the same requirements for the positions that they had left and actually the positions that they had left were the more dangerous ones; Aircraft, or I guess maybe river boats. I had a friend of mine who was on river boats over there and that was a job I don't think I would want "Was another factor just the fact that you were able to read maps very well versus a lot of other individuals that maybe didn't have that skill?" They didn't know it at the time, and I didn't know it at the time that I could read maps We had contour maps, and you had to follow all the contours you were going over, the rivers you were coming across the lakes, and things like this so you have to know where you are. But didn't learn that until I was in the OCS and AIT "Do you still have any of these maps? like do you study them at all or?" I sent letters home on maps sometimes, but not in the territory we were fighting in at the time, but other than that, I didn't save any of them no, I never saved them "So can you tell me a little bit about the social life that was involved, either before going to Vietnam and while staying at Vietnam? You know when I was in there was always a fine line between being an enlisted individual and being an officer You know the officer were expected to be in one location, and expected to talk among themselves, and the enlisted were expected to do the same. We weren't supposed to intermingle. Can you describe how you guys treated each other?" I was always an officer who led by example. I wanted to show my people that I can do what I`m asking them to do you break the ice there, and they have a different view of you, rather than just someone whose telling them what to do At the battery locations, I had as much interactions with the enlisted people, as I did with the officers, maybe even more because I was in charge of the gun lines, or the fire missions, So I lay the piece in the direction in which we were going to fire and once everything was setup, I went down to the gun pit, we usually only had 6 or 7 people per gun and training requirements were 13 people, so what I would do after I got the fire mission going, I would ask the gunner, who is usually the sergeant and the head of the gun crew, "What position you wanted me to take?" and I would help them do those positions so I had an interaction with the people, I showed them that I can do what they did, and I had very good respect from them and they listened to what I wanted them to do "Exactly, and it seems like you were a great leader obviously, you said you led by example, and you built that trust with the enlisted people and they knew that they would do whatever you needed them to do, and you would do what they needed you to do as well and obviously having that great relationship between you guys helped you during the war" Yes it did, I couldn't see going through that whole situation without working it that way because you need a back and forth between the enlisted. Actually I took over gunning, a lot of the guns, actually running the load and shooting the mission "And I think that one of the great things that the military teaches, it stresses teamwork, the officers have their jobs, the enlisted individuals have their jobs and every once in while, you have to come together as one unit. In your time, you probably didn't like everybody that you worked along side, but you still had to work with them It was a little newer back then, doing it that way, you look at old WW2 film, and the officers were kind of telling you what to do and I just didn't have a comfort level with that, they knew, because when we started taking fire, they were all "sir sir", everything goes back to their training once it becomes difficult, and you`ve got their full attention "Alright, so obviously you have served in Vietnam, what were other locations you served in, you have said couple different locations with the OCS?" After Vietnam, I came back and was assigned to Fort Dix, I was a basic training company commander, Fort Dix I think I was the first lieutenant as a company commander in that brigade. By the time I left there, a year later, There's lieutenants all over the place. They ah, I guess they just needed them the shortage of captains. Who were normally the leaders of the training units. And what was your favorite location that you served in during your time in the military? Favorite location? Well I'd tell you I don't think I would ever go back to Vietnam again I got all the pictures I wanted from the choppers and things like that over there but, Fort Dix was probably my favorite in that it was close to home and I used to get home on weekends Ok yeah that makes perfect sense, That made a difference and my wife was able to live on post with me I didn't have my wife at Vietnam so it was pretty different at Fort Dix. Out of all the one that I had to choose from I think Fort Dix was the probably the base training. "Um, so being a forward observer that meant you were on the front lines. Is that Correct? Right. Yup. So being on the front lines what combat action did you witness personally?" Ah...... We had a permanent OP. "What an OP is?" Observation Post On a mountain and the first three monthes I was over there I got to spend 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. We had a couple situations there were we were taking fire but being that high up where all of it was coming from down below "How high up?" 641 meters above sea level and 4000 meters away was south china sea. So we were pretty high up. "How did you get up there?" A helicopter is the only way to get up there and you can crawl up. We had a ridge line that came right in to the we had to put a 50 cal on a bunker So going down that ridge line just to protect that ridge line we had to put wire around and we put tin cans with rocks in them. If somebody comes through the wire you can hear that plus I had ok I gave the enlisted people the ok if they feel like they want to drop a grenade off during the night,you know, just be my guest "So, you are literally over 1900 feet in the air, so you don't have any fear of heights what so ever?" No, it wasn't bad up there, it was pretty tight with 21 people We needed a garbage pit. And in order to facilitate that, the guys didn't want to dig in the mountain. So I called in for a couple cases of C4 with the strikers. We blew the biggest garbage pit you ever want to see. We had more garbage pit then we had mountain up there but, you get something and do it the way they like to do it, you get the job done and you entertain them too. So we did, we did that. I built a shower up there out of 4 by 6's timbers. I made a frame and we had a canvas bag so we got a shower. It was an interesting time that was 2 weeks o, 2 weeks off. I said before when each start to take fire then they get, everybody gets interested in military again. "Right" And that happened so once I saw that, I was less cautious about interacting with the enlisted people too so. We started taking fire one night and my battery, the battery I was from starting sending projos out and hitting a ridge line I walk it, I walked right up the ridge line. The firing stopped. So I, the times that I wasn't up there was the bad time because they got overrun in that same position so it was possible that they could overrun and a couple people killed up there but I was not there that 2 weeks so I went back, luckily I don't like that situation. We had a couple short encounters. I was with the force battalion MIKE strike force which is a Montagnard tribesmen. They were indigenous people. They, we ah spent thirty days together out up and down the Cambodian border. We did ten miles a day. "And how was that interaction with those people? Were they primitive, were they advanced?" They were more primitive than the indigenous people in the cities in Vietnam. But they were fierce fighters, they were, we had 200 of them. "What sort of weapons did they use?" Small arms, they had the M16's like the rest of us. The first day I was airlifted into that unit I asked, there was an E7 that was in charge of that unit so I was "So a first Sergent" deferred to him. Yes I deferred to him and asked him if he wanted me to fire some defensive targets. He said yes. And I went in and started calling in fire. I had one gun that could reach me. And, so we, I started and I walked around close to our unit and while I was doing that, all of a sudden I see a barrel of a rifle. I was out on a perimeter. I see the barrel of a rifle come over my shoulder. Oh crap! what is this? And I looked up and just nodded to him. I knew if it was the enemy I would be dead. But after I finished firing I stood up and so far so good. I went back to the E7, I said what the heck is this guy? He said that's your bodyguard. If you die, he dies. "Wow" So that's, that gave him incentive to stick with me. "Right" So that's what he told me. "And your year that you spent in Vietnam did you witness any casualties or any destruction?" We've had, one time the same mission. We had two guys were killed by a third guy in the same unit who went crazy. "Really" So that was a casualty there and when we were being pulled out the bodies were on the chopper with us. I was boosting my radio telephone operator. He was a full blown black-footed Indian. Boosting him up and he straighten out my arm and almost snapped my arm off. He went to the edge and puked. "Ahhh" because the bodies had been there for awhile. "Right" and the, coming out of there I was, I spent about three days, I was sick as a dog. I was throwing up. I couldn't hold any water. I couldn't hold any food. I lost about ten pounds and we, I had to make my way back to my unit. So the first stop was a friendly area where I stayed over night. Then I went to Na Trang which is an R and R area and I said I'm going to get some food in me so I can make the rest of the trip. "How many months into your tour did this occur?" This occurred nine months into my tour. "Ok so you had three months left" Yeah, that was the last operation before I became an executive officer. I was finishing up my tour in Vietnam. And I spent 3 days getting back to my unit because I was so sick I couldn't travel. I got my strength back and I was on my way back in. And they just pulled out a forward observer that was brand new to my battery that was out on a mission that I would have been out on if I had not been sick. He got there and he was dead 2 hours on the ground they command detonated a hand grenade. "So he had just gotten to Vietnam?" I didn't know the guy. I didn't even know him. "That's a shame" It was a 19 year old airborne ranger. He's had all the training, he was definitely a fit guy. It was the day before I got back I think. "Do you think if you had been there that you would have been able to prevent that or do you think that" I think that I would have been killed. "Wow" I think that I would have been killed. I would have been in the same spot he was in because he was with the company commander. That's where I would have been learning what the mission was all about. My family claims I have 9 lives. "And you most definitely do" Changed my whole attitude towards life. "Right" Being surviving that and not being the one that was killed. There's some reason for that, still looking for it. "Exactly and you said it was an IED or" It was command detonated, it was a hand grenade. "So was the grenade actually underneath the ground? And" On the side of the trail and the guy could see pretty well because he detonated it, it was probably a wire detonation. Right between the company commander and the forward observer and he knew exactly who the officer was too. its, that went off. The observer got just a few fragments in the chest. So it must of severed something. The company commander lost his genitals and his legs. But again I wasn't there, I didn't see it but I always look at that as being life changing. "Exactly" because you really appreciate what you've got, to go through something like that. "I can only imagine. So what kinds of friendships and comradely did you form while serving and with whom?" Yeah I, "Was it mostly officers or" I was friends with, unlike yourself with the navy you still keep contact with them. I haven't kept contact with anybody. My tours and my duties were so diverse and away from people. So I had different people I was with all the time. I was with people in the 173 airborne. I was with people in the first 50th mechanize and 4th battalion MIC strike force and then in OCS fort Dix. I really didn't build any friendships in that year there. That were really tight working relationships that's about it. So you served about 2 years, it's pretty remarkable that you were in what 3 different units in that short amount of time. Yeah I was in from the time I graduated from OCS I was in, I was with the 7 of the 15th artillery in Vietnam. That's my main unit, that's the one I was with and then I was with the battalion I forget the training unit that I was with in fort Dix. I don't know if I put that down there. "We have the 173 airborne" That was in Vietnam. I served as a forward observer for them. they were mainly controlling the unit on that hill. It's a 140 meters tall. "And we also have the 4th battalion MIC strike" That's the Montagnard tribesmen. That's a special forces unit made up of Montagnard tribesmen and the E7 was special forces and he had a captain adviser with him but the E7 was in charge. "Do you know whether or not this tribe is still functioning today as a special force group?" I don't know, I don't know I doubt very much whether their with the special forces now I imagine they North Vietnamese probably didn't care for them. They uh, I'm not sure what's happened with them. "Well how did, how exactly did the United States get in contact with this group of people and become friends and allies to fight alongside one another because you never really hear about them." I don't know its, I heard about them before I went over but I never thought that I would be working with them. "Exactly" It was actually from my unit to where I went on that mission was almost 100 miles Officers made their way, jumped on a chopper just going to some place where you can get a plane that will go to here then a truck that will go to here thats how you got around in the country you didnt buy a ticket at an airport and get a flight into Bambito or something "So how exactly did you stay in touch with friends and family back home, I mean today we have got cellphones, social media, our military men and women are so much more easily able to stay in contact with friends and family even if they are tens of thousands of miles away How exactly did you do it?" Just by mail, snail mail. Just write letters back and forth, and my wife would send care packages with cookies "Those are always good" Yes, and no matter how stale they were by the time they got there, they tasted good "Exactly, so how often would you get mail?" She would write regularly, probably couple of times a week Yea she would write me regularly, she was working too so she got her job to do at home too, we didnt have any children at the time, so "And veterans, and active duty military, they know you could be having a bad day but if you get a letter from a loved one, that would just boost the entire day as a whole" "What did you do for recreation, or you know, when you were off duty?" In Vietnam, believe it or not, one of the people who worked for me in Fire Direction Control, an enlisted man, was a Highschool wrestler, we wrestled "Really?" Yes, and he beat me most the times "I was going to say, if he did it in highschool, then he was probably pretty good" He was pretty good, I had two years in college, and I wasn`t that good "You wrestled for Wagner?" Wagner yea "Really?" Yea, I wrestled, I think one of my two varsity matches Delarbre college and a fellow named John Ericson, who was a Pennsylvania state champion And I said "Oh boy", it was at Arbre college I got up and he got up, when they announced temith, they started snapping on the bleachers and I said "Aah I`m gonna get killed" So I stuck with him for eight minutes, and in the ninth minute, my feet were up in the air and I was looking at the ceiling "Did you get pinned?" He pinned me in the last minute, and he was disappointed when it was my first choice "But I mean thats a testament for you for being able to stay in as much" I hung in there, mostly fear "So when you were wrestling this guy in Vietnam, how much did you weigh versus how much did he weigh?" I was heavier than he was, I think, so I should have had an advantage, but he was good "But its not all about weight, its about being agile" its technique and being 25, and he was 19, I was a little bit slower than he was. But we wrestled on top of the bunkers, and that was a hard surface to come down on to hold sand bags, so that was just one thing that we did you didn't have too much, we played cards, poker "Poker?" yea "Did you play for money?" there was a little bit of money there yea It was fun, its funny "I mean you always see the military movies and stuff like that, and they are always playing poker and different things like that" Yea we played poker, the funniest thing that happened there is that the first sergeant was playing with us, and again, mixed ranks and he was drinking his beer, I didn't drink, I drank once over there but after that I laid off, right after that, but he was drinking beer and had his bottles lined up, he's a smoker, putting the cigarettes in one of them, he grabbed one bottle with the cigarette and chugged up, he ran out and coughed But lets see other activities, down at foredecks, not much because my wife was on post with me and we would go out sometimes in the evening but not much with other military people "Right" A lot of times we had night training, we had rifle range at night and stuff like that "I mean I know that feeling, you`re constantly among other military individuals, and you just need that release, you just wanna be alone you just wanna be out in the civilians sector among people that aren`t affiliated with the military, so I completely understand that" For some reason, I never really made close friends. The closest friend I made was the fellow from South Carolina I was pretty close with my cube mate and the OCS also, he was 34 at the time, he had two tours in Vietnam on chinook helicopters he got distinguished flying cross, he went into a hot LZ "Whats hot LZ?" It was fire, active fire going on between enemy and the Americans he flew the chinook in to pull out 20 wounded people, coming out, and while he was in there, they had a thousand holes in his helicopter his co-pilot was dead in the seat next to him, he was shot, and he had gotten shot in the legs But he with a bad hydraulic system, got that thing in the air and got the people to safety "Thats remarkable" I think he should have gotten a medal of honor But they represented that to him with the distinguished flying cross, thats the second highest I think "is it really?" Yes, to an OCS in a parade situation in OCS But being with him, we helped carry him on our punishment tours up the hill and down the hill, but we got him through he was a W2 chief warrant officer, and he wanted regular army commission, so he could go up the ranks he was a lifer, he wanted to stay in the service, he graduated with us as second lieutenant, I don't know if he went back to Vietnam or not after that, I think he should be absolved from that "Exactly" But those are the closest two , I really was never tight with anybody "Do you have any regrets for not making more friendships while you were in?" No, I don't have trouble making friendships, it just wasn't the atmosphere, going out and drinking or anything like that "I think its just kind of interesting because obviously I was never in this situation, but me being me, I would think that being in a war situation like that would create more comradery and make you more tight with the other soldiers" I think the military training took over, and you just did what was right, and what was appropriate for the situation rather than rely on a buddy system when we took fire, these guys responded, and thats what you want. You don't want to go "oh I wonder where jonny is, I hope he`s not hurt" or whatever But when I got on a plane to go over there, I thought I was gonna be pushed out the door, handed a gun, and start firing thats the way I felt over there, but it wast like that, I was able to get to my unit



Early life and education

Born in Altadena, California, he was the fourth of eight children[2][3] born to Robert and Ann (née Forsyth) Christensen. The family later moved to Palos Verdes, and in 1964, Robert and Ann obtained a divorce. Christensen attended Palos Verdes High School.

He moved to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1975 and there studied at the University of St. Thomas, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in art history. Christensen then worked as a graphic designer before entering St. Paul Seminary in 1981. During his seminary education, he studied in Israel for a semester.

Ordination and ministry

Christensen was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop John Roach on May 25, 1985, and then served as assistant pastor of St. Olaf parish in Minneapolis before becoming spiritual director (1989) and rector (1992) of the archdiocesan minor seminary until 1995.

In June 1999, he was made pastor of Nativity of Our Lord parish in St. Paul, where he continued traditional practices, such as perpetual Eucharistic adoration. He also reconstructed the church and rectory.

Bishop of Superior, Wisconsin

On June 28, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI named Christensen Bishop of Superior, Wisconsin. After receiving a telephone call from Archbishop Pietro Sambi bringing news of his appointment, he "sobbed for about 15 minutes" as he had not sought the episcopal office.[4] During a press conference, Christensen promised to be a "good listener" in his new role as bishop.[3] Christensen was consecrated at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 14, 2007, and installed as Bishop of Superior on September 23, 2007.

Christensen joined with other Wisconsin bishops in issuing a warning against the use of POLST, Physician (or Provider) Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, in a statement published Wednesday, July 25, 2012. In “Upholding the Dignity of Human Life,” the bishops wrote that the use of POLST has grave implications for the dignity of human life and they “encourage all Catholics to avoid using all such documents, programs and materials.” In January 2014, Christensen announced that Common Core would not be allowed in the Catholic schools of his diocese.

Bishop of Boise, Idaho

On November 4, 2014, Christensen was named the new bishop of the Diocese of Boise, Idaho. He was installed as the eighth bishop of Boise on December 17, 2014, in St. John's Cathedral.

See also


  1. ^ "Most Reverend Peter F. Christensen, M.A., D.D." Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  2. ^ Leibowitz's Canticle. Soon to be: His Eminence, Bishop Peter F. Christensen June 30, 2007
  3. ^ a b Catholic Herald. Christensen named Fliss' successor[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Duluth News Tribune. St. Paul priest chosen to take over Superior diocese[permanent dead link] June 29, 2007

External links

Episcopal succession

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Michael Patrick Driscoll
Bishop of Boise
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Raphael Michael Fliss
Bishop of Superior
Succeeded by
James Patrick Powers
This page was last edited on 9 November 2018, at 16:02
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