The U.S. Navy has named its DDG 121 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer as USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. after the first African-American U.S. Marine Corps aviator and general officer.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the name during a ceremony held at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, the Defense Department said Wednesday.
Petersen was assigned on 350 combat missions during the Korean and Vietnam wars and was the first African-American to have commanded a fighter squadron, an air group and a major base.
“The courage and perseverance of Lt. Gen. Petersen throughout his distinguished and ground-breaking career make him especially deserving of this honor,” said Mabus.
USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. is currently under construction at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi and is scheduled to enter service by 2020.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are designed with offensive and defensive weapons systems such as the Flight IIA modification, AEGIS Baseline 9 Combat System and Integrated Air and Missile Defense platform to support a variety of operations and allow simultaneous air, surface and subsurface engagements.