An American Hero: LtGen Frank E. Petersen, USMC, First Black Marine Aviator, Dead at 83

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Marine LtGen Frank E. Petersen, who at the time of his retirement in 1988 was the senior aviator in the Armed Forces, has died at the age of 83.  Lieutenant General Petersen served multiple combat tours in Korea and Vietnam, flying a total of 350 combat missions.  He commanded VMF-212 and VMF 314 in his long and distinguished career.  His awards include a Distinguished Flying Cross, a Purple Heart, a basket full of Air Medals, and a Combat Action Ribbon.

LtGen Petersen was the guest of honor at my Basic School mess night, nearly thirty years ago, and was the epitome of the gentleman warrior.  I was in awe of him then, and upon meeting him some twenty years later, remained so, even though I was a Lieutenant Colonel by then, and he long retired.

Semper Fidelis, General.  Thank you for your service to our country and our Corps.  And thank you for the incomparable example of what a Marine Officer should be.

H/T “Lieutenant” Mewborn

2 thoughts on “An American Hero: LtGen Frank E. Petersen, USMC, First Black Marine Aviator, Dead at 83”

  1. Security at the Pearly Gates just got better. Going home, rest easy General.

  2. When I first met General Petersen he was a Captain and the most impressive human being that I ever met, I am very proud of his legacy. He was truly a gentleman and good role model for all marines and men alike. Rest in peace .

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