This Saturday, 14 May, the U.S. Navy will commission the guided-missile destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121), named for Lieutenant General Frank Peterson, U.S. Marine Corps, the first black Marine aviator. The commissioning will take place in Charleston, South Carolina, and the ship’s home port will be Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
The ship’s crest bears the motto “Into the Tiger’s Jaw,” a phrase General Petersen often used. The Naval Institute Press book, Into the Tiger’s Jaw: America’s First Black Marine Aviator, is his inspiring autobiography. The following is an excerpt from the preface and prologue: