Frank E. Petersen

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Frank E. Petersen Jr.
Born(1932-03-03) March 3, 1932 (age 80)
Topeka, Kansas
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Years of service1950-1952 (USN), 1952-1988 (USMC)
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldVMFA-212
VMFA-314
Battles/warsKorean War
Vietnam War
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with Combat "V"
Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart
Other workDuPont DeNemours Inc., VP of Corporate Aviation
National Marrow Donor Program, Chairman[1][2]
 
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Frank E. Petersen Jr.
Born(1932-03-03) March 3, 1932 (age 80)
Topeka, Kansas
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Years of service1950-1952 (USN), 1952-1988 (USMC)
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldVMFA-212
VMFA-314
Battles/warsKorean War
Vietnam War
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with Combat "V"
Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart
Other workDuPont DeNemours Inc., VP of Corporate Aviation
National Marrow Donor Program, Chairman[1][2]

Frank E. Petersen Jr. (USMC) (born March 2, 1932 in Topeka, Kansas) is a retired United States Marine Corps Lieutenant General. He was the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general.[3]

Petersen retired from the Marine Corps in 1988 after 38 years of service. "At the time of his retirement he was by date of aviator designation the senior ranking aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps and the United States Navy with respective titles of "Silver Hawk" and "Gray Eagle". His date of designation as an aviator also precedes all other aviators in the U.S. Air Force and Army."[4]

Contents

Biography

Frank E. Petersen was born on March 2, 1932 in Topeka, Kansas.

Military career

Petersen enlisted in the United States Navy in 1950 as a Seaman Apprentice. He served as an Electronics Technician. In 1951, he entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program. In 1952, after completing flight training he was selected as a Second Lieutenant in the (USMC).

Petersen served two combat tours in two wars — Korea (1953) and Vietnam (1968). His first tactical assignment was with Marine Fighter Squadron 212 during the Korean War. He flew over 350 combat missions with over 4,000 hours in various fighter/attack aircraft.

He held command positions at all levels of Marine Corps aviation — commanding a Marine Fighter Squadron, a Marine Aircraft Group, and a Marine Aircraft Wing. He was also the first African-American to command a fighter squadron, a fighter air group, an air wing, and a major base.[1]

On February 23, 1979,[5] he was promoted to brigadier general becoming the first African American general. Petersen relinquished duties as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, on 8 July 1988. He served as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff from 8 July 1988 until 31, July, and retired from the Marine Corps on 1 August 1988. He was presented the Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service as the CG, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, from June 1986 to July 1988, upon his retirement.

Education

He received his Bachelor's degree in 1967 and his Master's degree in 1973, both from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. In 1987, he was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Law degree granted by Virginia Union University. In addition he also attended the following service schools: the Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico, Virginia; the Aviation Safety Officers Course at the University of Southern California; and the National War College, Washington, D.C., class of 1973.

Awards

Petersen's decorations include:[4]

Naval Aviator Badge.jpg
V
Gold star
V
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Naval Aviator Badge
1st RowNavy Distinguished Service MedalDefense Superior Service Medal
2nd RowLegion of Merit w/ valor deviceDistinguished Flying CrossPurple HeartMeritorious Service Medal
3rd RowAir Medal w/ 1 award star &Strike/Flight numeral "10"Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ valor deviceAir Force Commendation MedalCombat Action Ribbon
4th RowNavy Presidential Unit CitationNavy Unit CommendationNavy Meritorious Unit CommendationNational Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star
5th RowKorean Service Medal w/ 2 service starsVietnam Service Medal w/ 4 service starsNavy Sea Service Deployment RibbonKorean Presidential Unit Citation
6th RowVietnam Gallantry Cross unit citationVietnam Civil Actions unit citationUnited Nations Korea MedalVietnam Campaign Medal

See also

Notes

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History. This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.


External links