Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen, Jr.



Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen, Jr., retired from the Marine Corps on 1 August 1988. He was presented the Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service as the CG, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, from June 1986 to July 1988, upon his retirement.

Frank E. Petersen, Jr. was born 2 March 1932, in Topeka, Kansas. He joined the U.S. Navy as a seaman apprentice in June 1950. He served as an electronics technician and in 1951 entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program. In October 1952, he completed flight training and accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

His first tactical assignment was with Marine Fighter Squadron 212 during the Korean conflict. He commanded a Marine Fighter Squadron, a Marine Aircraft Group, a Marine Amphibious Brigade, a Marine Aircraft Wing and his present command. General Petersen served two combat tours, Korea in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968. He flew in excess of 350 combat missions, and had over 4,000 hours in various fighter/attack aircraft.

He received his bachelor's degree in 1967 and his master's degree in 1973, both from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. In 1987 he was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Law degree granted by Virginia Union University. In addition he also attended the following service schools: the Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico, Virginia; the Aviation Safety Officers Course at the University of Southern California; and the National War College, Washington, D.C., class of 1973.

In February 1979 he was selected for promotion to brigadier general, and in May 1983 was advanced to the rank of major general. He was promoted to lieutenant general on 12 June 1986.

His numerous decorations include: the Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit with Combat "V", Distinguished Flying Cross; Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

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 U.S. Navy with respective titles of "Silver Hawk" and "Grey Eagle". His date of designation as an aviator also precedes all other aviators in the U.S. Air Force and Army.

Lieutenant General Petersen relinquished duties as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia, on 8 July 1988. He served as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff from 8 July 1988 until 31 July, and retired from the Marine Corps on 1 August 1988.  LtGen Petersen passed away on 25 August 2015 at the age of 83.