First black Marine Aviator, 83 dies

Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr. (USMC) (March 2, 1932 – August 25, 2015) was a 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]

In 2010, President Obama appointed Petersen to the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy. [5]

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