Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy and Marine Corps Veteran Frank E. Petersen, Jr. Frank served from 1950 to 1988.

Frank Petersen Jr. was born in Kansas in 1932. He was 9 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and learning about it inspired him to serve. Following his high school graduation, Frank enrolled in Washburn University in Topeka but decided to leave college.

At the age of 18, Frank enlisted in the Navy. When Frank took the Navy entrance exam in 1950, he passed with flying colors. Because of his race, the recruiting officers believed he had cheated on his exams, and made him sit for the test again. After enlisting in the Navy, Frank trained to work as an electronics technician. By 1951, Frank entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program. By 1952, he had become a Marine. During his career in the Marines, Frank earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international affairs from George Washington University. Frank made history when he became the first black Marine Corps general.

After 38 years in the service, Frank retired from the Marine Corps as a three-star general. His service earned him a Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart, and many other awards. In 1968, Frank’s fighter attack squadron earned the Robert M. Hanson Award for their outstanding performance in Vietnam. In total, he flew over 350 missions and spent over 4,000 hours in different aircraft while serving in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. At the age of 83, Frank passed away due to lung cancer.

We honor his service.

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

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Published on Feb. 5, 2019

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

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One Comment

  1. Robert Bostic February 6, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    We honor the service of Navy and Marine Corps Veteran Frank E. Petersen, Jr.

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