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Navy Destroyer Named for 1st Black Marine Corps Aviator reports that “a U.S. Navy destroyer has been named in honor of a Topeka three-star general who became the first black aviator, first black general and first black base commander in the U.S. Marine Corps.”

“Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, which is under construction, would bear the name of Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen Jr., according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. The warship’s hull number will be DDG 121.”

“Petersen enlisted in the Navy in 1950, and left in 1952 to accept a commission as a second lieutenant and become the first black pilot in the Marine Corps. He flew over 350 combat missions and more than 4,000 military aircraft hours throughout the Korean and Vietnam wars.”

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