Black History Month: February 24th
Frank E. Petersen Jr. became the first black general in the United States Marine Corps. He was also the first African-American Marine Corps aviator.
Peterson 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.
Petersen served two combat tours in two conflicts: Korea (1953) and Vietnam (1968). His first tactical assignment was with Marine Fighter Squadron 212 during the Korean conflict. He flew over 350 combat missions with over 4,000 hours in various fighter/attack aircraft.