This Day in Black History: Frank E. Petersen became the first African American general in the Marine Corps

Nation/World

Frank E. Petersen

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HOUSTON – Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr. was born on March 2, 1932 in Topeka, Kansas.

In 1950, Petersen served as an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy. A year later, Petersen enrolled in the Naval Aviation Cadet Program. In 1952, he was a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps and served in the Korean War and in the Vietnam War.

In Feb. 1979, Petersen was promoted to brigadier and became the first African American general in the Marine Corps. In 1986, he was then promoted to lieutenant general. Petersen was also known as the first African American Marine Corps aviator.

On Aug. 25, 2015, Petersen died at the age of 83 from lung cancer in Stevensville, Maryland.

Petersen’s courageous leadership earned him a right to make history – black history.

A few of Lieutenant General Frank Petersen’s awards and accomplishments:

  • Distinguished Service Medal
  • Defense Superior Service Medal
  • Purple Heart Medal
  • Legion of Merit with Combat “V”
  • Distinguished Flying Cross

Stay connected! Download the CW39 NewsFix app for iOS or Android devices and the CW39 Weather app for iOS or Android devices.

Latest Weather Forecast

More Weather
More Remarkable Women

Popular

Latest

More Morning Dose