Navy Christens Destroyer Named for First Black Marine Normal Officer

CHARLESTON, South Carolina — With Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro calling it “the easiest ship that our nation has to supply,” the U.S. Navy christened Aegis-class destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) throughout ceremonies in Charleston, S.C., Saturday.

The Petersen, constructed by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, is known as in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen Jr., the primary black Marine Corps aviator and the primary black Marine to rise to the rank of three-star common.

Serving two fight excursions — Korea in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968 — Petersen flew greater than 350 fight missions and had over 4,000 hours in a number of fighter and assault plane.

In 1979, Petersen was promoted to brigadier common, changing into the primary Black common officer within the Marine Corps. He retired in 1988, with awards and honors together with the Protection Superior Service Medal, Legion of Advantage with Fight “V”, Distinguished Flying Cross; Purple Coronary heart; Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with Fight “V”, and the Air Drive Commendation Medal.

Petersen died in August 2015 on the age of 83. He’s buried in Arlington Nationwide Cemetery.

Saturday’s keynote speaker was Carlos Campbell, former Navy aviator and assistant Secretary of Commercie for Financial Growth, who served alongside Petersen and spoke of Petersen’s braveness and dedication.

“He acquired a (fragment) wound, he was handled within the area, and returned to fight,” Campbell recalled of Petersen.

“It’s becoming {that a} identify synonymous with service and sacrifice be emblazoned on the metal of this American warship,” stated Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday. “Sailors aboard this mighty warship will deploy wherever, every time wanted, with Normal Petersen’s preventing spirit and tenacity, for generations to come back.”

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, was additionally among the many dignitaries available.

“Normal Petersen was a person of many firsts,” Berger stated. “There’s a saying that ships tackle the traits of their namesakes, and if that’s true, then God assist any adversary to ever confronts the Frank E. Petersen Jr.”

Members of Petersen’s household have been available for the christening, along with his daughter, Gayle Petersen, talking for the household and paying tribute to at least one particular particular person in her father’s life.

“We’d not be having this ceremony right this moment if not for a gentleman named Robert Adams,” Gayle Petersen stated. “When my dad was shot down in Vietnam, he was rescued by Robert Adams.”

She additionally paid tribute to the Ingalls shipbuilders who introduced DDG 121 to life.

“I wish to thank all who had a hand in constructing this ship, from stem to stern.”

The Petersen’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Daniel Hancock, reported the ship prepared, and — assisted by Gen. Petersen’s daughters Gayle Petersen, Dana Petersen Moore, Lindsay Pulliam and Monique Petersen — ship sponsor D’Arcy Ann Neller gave the normal order to “man our ship and produce her to life.”

Neller is the spouse of former Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller. Co-sponsor Alicia J. Petersen, Gen. Petersen’s widow, died final September.

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