Board member Colonel Larry Chapman, USMC Ret. and Curator Emmett Casciato set up a booth for the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas at the commissioning ceremony of the USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121) on May 14th, in Charleston, SC. Photo by Michel Robertson.
The Navy invited representatives from the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas to participate in the commissioning ceremony of the USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121) on May 14th. Founder and Curator Emmett Casciato with the help of board member Colonel Larry Chapman, USMC Ret. set up a booth of Navy artifacts for ceremony attendees to enjoy before and after the commissioning ceremony. Board Treasurer Michel Robertson and advisory board member Beth Robertson also attended the ceremony representing the museum. Beth Robertson is a member of the commissioning committee for the USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. and is responsible for securing the museum’s invitation to the event.
Children of attendees of the commissioning ceremony pose for a picture in front of the Veterans History Museum booth. Photo by Michel Robertson.
Curator Emmett Casciato shows an attendee museum artifacts. Photo by Michel Robertson.
Navy Press Release on the Commissioning
The USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. awaits to be commissioned in Charleston, S.C., May 14, 2022. Lt. General Petersen served in Korea and Vietnam during his career and his legacy is carried on today as an American hero and as an outstanding Marine. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dylon Grasso)
The principal speaker was The Honorable Carlos Campbell, Naval aviator and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, who served alongside Petersen and relayed stories exemplifying the general’s strength and dedication. Recalling Petersen’s ethic, Campbell said “He received a frag wound, he was treated in the field, and returned to combat.”
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday also attended the ceremony. “It’s fitting that a name synonymous with service and sacrifice be emblazoned on the steel of this American warship,” said Gilday. “Sailors aboard this mighty warship will deploy wherever, whenever needed, with General Petersen’s fighting spirit and tenacity, for generations to come.”
Gen. David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, also attended the ceremony. “General Petersen was a man of many firsts,” said Berger. “There’s a saying that ships take on the characteristics of their namesakes, and if that’s true, then God help any adversary to ever confronts the Frank E. Petersen, Jr.”
Ms. Gayle Petersen, Lt. Gen. Petersen’s daughter, expressed thanks on behalf of her family and made a special recognition. “We would not be having this ceremony today if not for a gentleman named Robert Adams. When my dad was shot down in Vietnam he was rescued by Robert Adams.” Gayle continued, “I would like to thank all who had a hand in building this ship, from stem to stern.”
The color guard presents the colors during the commissioning of the USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. in Charleston, S.C., May 14, 2022. Lt. General Petersen served in Korea and Vietnam during his career and his legacy is carried on today as an American hero and as an outstanding Marine. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dylon Grasso)
During the ceremony, USS Frank E. Petersen’s commanding officer Cmdr. Daniel Hancock, reported the ship ready. Assisted by Lt. Gen. Petersen’s daughters, Gayle Petersen, Dana Petersen Moore, Lindsay Pulliam, and Monique Petersen, Mrs. Neller gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”
“Our incredible crew takes a great deal of pride in their work. I can find no better warrior namesake than General Frank E. Petersen Jr. None of us who know his story have ever forgotten that we are the heirs of that powerful legacy, and like the General, we have committed ourselves to owning the fight and carrying his torch proudly forward,” said Hancock. “I wish to express gratitude and pride. It is my greatest professional honor to serve with each of my crew. I am proud beyond measure. “
Lt. Gen. Petersen continues a family legacy of service begun by his great grandfather. Private Archibald (Archie) Charles McKinney enlisted in 1863 and served in the Mass 55th Company E during the Civil War. McKinney’s trip home included traveling aboard a steamship, disembarking at the Port of Charleston.
U.S. Navy sailors march during the commissioning of the USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. in Charleston, S.C., May 14, 2022. Lt. General Petersen served in Korea and Vietnam during his career and his legacy is carried on today as an American hero and as an outstanding Marine. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dylon Grasso)
The future USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. honors Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (USMC Ret.). Petersen was the first black USMC aviator and the first black Marine to become a three-star general. Petersen served two combat tours, Korea in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968. He flew more than 350 combat missions and had over 4,000 hours in various fighter and attack aircraft. Petersen passed away in Aug. 2015 at the age of 83.
Retiring in 1988 after 38 years of service, Petersen’s awards included 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.