MARINE OF THE WEEK // FIRST BLACK MARINE GENERAL & PILOT:

MARINE OF THE WEEK // FIRST BLACK MARINE GENERAL & PILOT:

Lt. Gen. Petersen Jr., the #MarineCorps‘ first black general and pilot, fought through racism to complete his flight training and a storied 38-year military career. He served in combat in Korea and Vietnam, completing more than 350 missions and 4,000 flying hours. During his deployment to Vietnam, his F-4 Phantom was shot down over the demitilitarized zone, sustaining injuries for which he received a Purple Heart. Among many awards, he also received a Distinguished Flying Cross. Petersen Jr. recently passed away at age of 83. (U.S. Marine Corps photos)

55 thoughts on “MARINE OF THE WEEK // FIRST BLACK MARINE GENERAL & PILOT:”

    1. Years ago I remember seeing an article in the Leatherneck about him as an F-4 pilot. I hear you. This would be REAL news. Of all the news outlets to report it though, I did find one in the New York Times. Would make a great movie. RIP General! SEMPER FI! Harry 1371

    2. I definitely would like to see this aired on National News – his achievements are a true testimony of what a dedicated and determined Marine can do “Mind Over Matter!”

    3. I met him when I was a young African American Warrant Officer while stationed with 2nd Mar. Div. in the early 80’s. He was an inspiration. Without his sacrifices there could have me no me.

  1. I did 2 tours in nam 65-67 with 3/3 and the F-4’s saved our butts many times. R.I.P. Lt. Gen. Peterson! SEMPER FI MARINE!!

    1. True American Hero.”Fair Winds and Following Sea’s” General on your journey to Valhalla. God Bless.
      Semper Fi !!!

  2. I servered under Col. Frank Petersen During his last days as a Col as he was vetted in Okinawa Japan. The Col then and as a General was the truest of Marines in how he acquired the respect and admiration of his fellow Marines. As a LCpl at the the Col/Gen never once showed anything but utmost respect for all Marines and the Corps. I have lived my life as in the Corps there are no colors of races except for one MARINE CORPS GREEN, and as a citizen of the USA again only on color for all the people RED WHIT AND BLUE thanks to people like General Petersen.

  3. I first came aware of LtGen Peterson when he was getting an award In Korea as a 2ndLt. I was the Sgt in charge of the Honor Guard. I later served with him at Iwakuni when he was a Major. I watched his career the whole time I was in the Marine Corps and he was one of the finest gentleman and officer I have ever known. He was a great man and a pleasure to know.

  4. I served with Bravo 1/1 in 68 with many great Marines and a number times our butt was saved by the fighter jet pilots. Rest in peace Marine S/F

  5. Sgt. William M. Patterson USMC 1966-1970

    As a Recon Marine in Vietnam 67-69, Phantom Drivers were crucial to our survival, so many times while working outside of an artillery fan. If you weren’t in the proper spot for Naval gunfire, jets were your only life line for quick responses when in trouble. Much respect for this aviator and his brother Jet Jocky’s. Until you experience close air support as you see an F4 come at eye level to at to you at 575 knots you while you are sitting on a ridge line as they ‘run’ the valley below, catching tree tops as they afterburn on the way out, you will never really know my heart on their efforts. After my return to CONUS a young Marine,combat Capt. (who supported Recon Marines) stationed in Beaufort, SC. from VMFA 342 got me in a ‘Back Seat’ program and upon completion, I was able to ride in an F4 on a training flight with him and his wing to FL. as the pilots went to a range to practice. On the way back they played dogfighting. This was an experience that I will never forget. Long live the Brotherhood of the Marine, Air – Ground Team.
    Semper Fi Until The Day We Die!

  6. Bully for him. Good man. I cheer for you General, wherever you are today. Viet Nam was lousy but we. on the ground, support you, in the air. If your not there, we would not survive very easily on the ground. You are appreciated and honored and respected.

  7. Why is this not big news? Because as Marines we were taught that Marines come in all colors and that we are brothers. Light of dark we respect each other.

  8. Where are those hollywood turds and media cowards? Why is nobody talking about this incredible, inspiring story of honor and courage? It’s simple…it’s because there is not enough controversy in it for them. It’s because this man silently and honorably served with a love for his country and esprit de corps. Thank you for your service, for your example and for your sacrifice.

  9. Served General Peterson in 1980 in Okinawa, got selected to staff sergeant. It’s was about 15 of us he promoted. That was great I still remember his stature. Eyeball to eyeball when talking to you. Great experience, outstanding leader of Marine’s.

  10. REST I PEACE GENERAL PETERSEN. I WAS HONORED TO MEET GENERAL PETERSEN AT THE MONTFORD POINT MARINE NATIONAL CONVENTION WHICH PRESERVES THE THE LEGACY OF THE ORIGINAL AFRO AMERICAN MARINES IN 1942. THE CONVENTION WAS HELD IN ATLANTA, GA WITH THE COMMANDANT ( GENERAL AMOS ) AS THE GUEST SPEAKER. SEMPER FI SIR.

  11. I was serving with MAG-13 in Chu Lia in 1968-9 when then Lt. Col. Frank Peterson was CO of VFMA-314. A number of us payed handball while there and I clearly remember how we looked on with trepidation whenever he showed up at the court because we knew we were about to witness a master class in the game. He was phenomenal player and a true gentleman.

  12. Semper Fidelis, General! You ARE a credit to the Corps, to your race, and to AMERICA! You should be on the front pages of the NYT and Washington Post not the crap we see now as those who are lesser try to tear our country apart! RIP!

    CWO4 USMCR [ret]
    1969-2004

  13. MG Petersen was our CO at OCS, Marine Corps Education and Development Command, Quantico VA, 1983. Through his many accomplishments he made a generation believe achievement is possible for those willing to put in the work. He reviewed our unit on the Parade Field one day. My knees about buckled in formation in the presence of this living legend. He inspired so many. Semper Fi, sir, and RIP Brother….🇺🇲

  14. “Lt. Gen. Petersen Jr., the #MarineCorps‘ first black general and pilot,” What a great career and how he most have had respect for troops… and from the troops! sounds like a great man and leader! S/F

    Reminds me of:
    I served 70’s and some of 1980’s with a black SgtMaj Mosley, who was 1stSgt of the NCO Academy USMC.. prior to SgtMaj. Mosley was then SgtMaj of HMM-163 ( with Ltcol Tom Wall USMC Google this man!!! ) where I served. I was very impressed with his respect for Marines, as I’m sure Like “Gen Peterson” SgtMaj Mosley overcame many race issues of those days…
    SgtMaj Mosley is one of my top 5 leaders I have every worked with…S/F

  15. WORKED WITH THE GENEAL WHEN HE FLEW A-4’S VMAT-203 WAS A GREAT MARINE AND A GREAT PERSON. VERY SORRY TO HEAR OF HIS PASSING SEMPER-FI GENERAL

  16. This United States Marine general is a great example of what a young man can accomplish if he/she set their minds to do the impossible, and fix their souls to accomplish what others may seem impassible to reach. This man, who started with a couple of strikes against him, because he was not of the right race or color; still reached the high standard of a Lt/Gen of the marines, says a lot of what a person can achieve if he/she sets their minds to overcome adversity. May the Lord GOD, welcome you into His Kingdom, with a job well done, Marine!! You are an inspiration to all the young lads of this country, who are a in search of a great person to emulate or look up to; here was was a true leader, and great marine who served his country with honor and dedication to the Corps. RIP general!

  17. I had a young fellow working for me in 1989 to 1990. Very well mannered and soft spoken. One my phone rang, I answered with name, organization and ‘how may I help you, sir’. Slight chuckle on the other end and a firm, husky voice ‘you can Marine, I am trying to get in touch with my son Frank Peterson’. ‘Just a moment, sir, I will get him.’ After the younger Frank Peterson hung up he told who his Dad was and I was invited to go to lunch with them. Proud, quiet, pleasant man.

  18. Was serving with VMFA-251 at Beaufort, SC when ,then LTC Peterson came on board to cross train on the F4 before going to Vietnam. This would have been in ’68 or ’69. Very nice man. Proud to have met him.

  19. When CG of 1st MAW on Okinawa, General Peterson is supposed to have had his own A-4 Skyhawk that he routinely used to “ inspect what you expect” and the first notice most of his commands received that he was coming to visit was when he radioed the control tower on final approach!
    With over 4,000 flight hours of special crew time in KC-130’s and C-9B’s of my own, Competence is the only factor that counts in Marine Aviation, not where you come from or what you look like.
    SSgt B. Rees

  20. I remember him as Col. Petersen, during my short tour with MAG-32 at Cherry Point in 1976. I was the Group duty driver part of that that summer. As a you marine I felt fortunate to serve with Marines such as he. Semper Fi Sir, I would drive for you anytime.

  21. I served under then Lt Col Petersen when he was CO of VMFA-314 (Black Knights) ’68-’69. Was a Great CO and was very respected by his Marines. RIP Sir. Semper Fi.

  22. I am always proud to say I served my country as a U.S.M.C. Lt. Gen. Petersen Jr. is the first black Marine Corps Gen I’ve ever seen, to know that many Black Americans served proudly then came home only to be lynched in their uniforms, this is truly an accomplishment for all americans. #Rest in Power Once Always.

  23. I had the honor of meeting the late LTGEN Petersen in his early to late General officer years before his retirement. He was truly an Officer & Gentleman, and a great canidate for Commandant. Condolences to his immediate family, and the beloved Corps that was graced by his presence. Semper Fi

  24. I had the honor of working for Gen Pdtersen twice in my 20 year career. He was a calm leader who always led by example. I gave a presentation to him in the months before my retirement which was one of the highlights of my career. RIP my brother Marine.

  25. Gen. Peterson was my first Commanding General at Quantico. I recall the respect he had at the time. He passed away in 2015 so that would be why the press isn’t covering this now.

  26. Semper Fidelis General! Thank you for your distinguished service to our Great nation, and to the Corps. You are a credit to our nation and the Corps. Rest In Peace sir!

  27. Semper Fi Sir, You will always be the “Green Machine” like us all. Your Service will never be forgotten. Your in the history books where you belong for eternity. You are the best, and you were nothing less.

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