The US Navy commissioned the USS Frank E. Petersen Jr (DDG 121) on May 14th 2022 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome to America’s holy City Charleston South Carolina and the commissioning of USS frank E. Petersen JR. DDG 1 21. I am commander chad Stewart, the ship’s executive officer. It is my privilege to be your master of ceremonies. Today. We welcome those with us in person, in our family and friends as they participate in today’s event via the World Wide Web. We are here today to honor and celebrate a true Trailblazer. The late lieutenant General Frankie Peterson Jr. Lieutenant General Peterson JR, was a United States Marine course first African American aviator and general officer Just as General Peterson JR Justice. General Peterson JR embodied the spirit of service and unwavering devotion to his country. This crew will proudly continue his legacy when called upon. We too will boldly sailed into the tiger’s jaw. We are honored to have another legendary marine with us today. Medal of honor recipient in the United States Marine Major General James E. Livingston. Major General Livingston, please stand and be recognized with all veterans. Please stand and be recognized. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your service. Our ceremony today is a time honored tradition that began with the commissioning of our first warship, a captured British Schooner, the Margarita in 1775. Since then, thousands of ships have undergone the transformation from silent holes to fully alive warships. Our commissioning crew hereafter known as plant owners are information among you and ready to bring our ship alive in just a few moments. The United States Navy Fleet Forces band will render honors to the honorable Nancy Mace. Will the guests please rise and remain standing for the arrival of our official party honors the presentation of colors and the national anthem. Ladies and gentlemen, our platform guests. Lieutenant Commander, Justin Bernard, chaplain Corps, United States Navy, Captain, Claudine Calorie, United States Navy W. Commander, Destroyer Squadron 3 1. Captain Seth Miller, United States Navy DdG 51 Class shipbuilding Program Manager, Captain Nathan Schneider, United States Navy, supervisor of shipbuilding Gulf coast. Our ship’s matron of honor, Miss Claire curb. Oh MS Monique Peterson MS Lindsay. Peterson Pulliam MS dana Peterson More and Miss gale. Peterson, Daughters of the late Lieutenant General Peterson, Jr Mr. frank E. Petersen, the third son of the late Lieutenant General Peterson, Jr Mr. George Nungesser. Vice President of Program management Ingalls, shipbuilding. MS Jill Broward. Executive director combatants program. Executive Office Ships Brigadier General, Emory J. Hagen South Carolina. Military Department. Co chairman, USS frank E. Petersen Jr commissioning committee. The honorable Carlos Campbell, our principal speaker. The honorable john to Klingberg. Mayor city of Charleston South Carolina. Admiral Michael Guild A. United States Navy. The 32nd Chief of Naval Operations, General David H. Berger, United States Marine Corps The 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps. The Honourable Carlos del Toro. The 78th Secretary of the Navy. Ladies and gentlemen, our ship’s sponsor, Miss Darcy Neller, escorted today by Command. Master Chief Shane, Wagner, USS frank E. Petersen Jr. Command Master Chief. Ladies and gentlemen. The honorable Nancy Mace, United States, Representative state of South Carolina. First district escorted today by Commander Daniel Hancock, United States Navy USS frank E. Petersen JR prospective commanding officer. Ladies and gentlemen honors to the honorable Nancy Mace platform and salute. Mm hmm platform ready to advance the colors. Okay mm hmm mm hmm mm hmm mm hmm. Mhm mm hmm. Mhm mm hmm. Mhm mm hmm mm hmm mm hmm retire the colors? Mm hmm mm hmm. Platform. Ready to ladies and gentlemen chaplain. Bernard will now deliver the invocation. Good morning, would you pray with me now, Most gracious and loving heavenly Father. We come before you on this beautiful day which you have made to commission and bring to life the good ship USS frank E. Petersen Jr as friends, family dignitaries and shipmates have come from around the globe to celebrate this tremendous milestone in the life of the ship. We come to you and prayer Lord to ask that you would be present with us today in this holy city and that you would receive all honor and glory from this time honored ceremony that we are about to witness Father, the magnificent warship that stands proudly before us today as a testimony to the hard work and ingenuity of countless men and women who have dedicated their lives to creating and sustaining our nation’s sea power and strength. We praise you Lord for their tireless efforts to provide the very best, the most technologically advanced platform for our sailors as they sail her to secure freedom and democracy around the world for decades to come. We thank you Lord today for our ship’s namesake, Lieutenant General Peterson, who led a life that saw adversity as opportunity and charged headlong after it to not only break barriers and set higher standards but to be the very best at every level of leadership and command he was blessed to hold. We praise you father for his steadfast pursuit of excellence and unwavering dedication to the marines on his right and to the marines on his left, to his beloved corps and to his nation. I pray boldly now Lord for the plank owner, crew of this great ship who will in just a few moments charge headlong themselves to bring her to life and become her life, blood and soul. That you would give them strength and courage for the journey ahead. That you would grant wisdom and discernment to Commander Hancock in every sailor, chief and officer in his charge that they might follow in the general’s contrails and strive day in and day out for nothing less than their very best because his legacy is now their opportunity. Would you come now Lord and be present with us in this place. Would you bless our gathering. Would you bless the stories, the memories, the accomplishments that will be shared and most of all, would you bless the story of the USS frank E. Petersen Jr. That is yet to be told for I pray all of these things in your strong and holy name and all of God’s people said with me. Amen and Amen. God bless you. Thank you chaplain Bernard, we would like to thank the United States Navy Fleet Forces Band and the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Color Guard for their support this morning. Additionally, we wish to thank and acknowledge the support of Mr. Jim Newsome president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. Will the guests please be seated? Black knights parade, rest ladies and gentlemen. The honorable john tech Lindbergh. Well, protocol has been established. So I welcome all to this beautiful and historic city of Charleston South Carolina. Welcome now rob Fowler and I took care of the weather for you. So I think our job is already mostly done, but I wanted to share with you. Here we are in a historic setting, a beautiful setting right behind us Charleston harbor, Which was the site of the first major naval battle and victory of our colonies when we claimed independence from Great Britain. In fact, it was on June 28 and 1776, just in the mouth of the harbor here that a brave band of patriots defeated the greatest naval force in the world at the time. The British navy by the way, That’s also the place where the cooper River and the Ashley River beat to form the Atlantic ocean Right here in Charleston. A place of great history. We think that event just a week before July four helped to encourage our founding fathers to sign that declaration. Just a week later, welcome again to this historic city. A special welcome to the Peterson family. It’s such a blessing to have you here. And thank you Admiral and all who had anything to do. Commander Hancock with choosing Charleston as the site for this commissioning. I’ve been mayor for 17 years and this is my third commissioning already. We have the USS Charleston and ralph Johnson and now frank Peterson, I tell you Charleston is a place we like to have a great party. So we welcome you anytime. It’s an honor for this city to host you because we thank you not only welcome you, but thank you to those men and women in service to your families that support you, to the veterans who have already served. And I just want to share one reflection in this time in this world. As we look around what is going on in Ukraine and we see the evil that is being perpetrated there. If you’re not proud to be an American at this time, boy, I’m counting my lucky stars. I am blessed to be mayor of this great city and living in this great country. But honestly it’s not possible. It is not possible without the men and women in service who protect Hougaard who serve our country. So it is an extreme honor for us to host you. God bless you and welcome to the city of Charleston. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mayor Stekelenburg. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. George Nungesser, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Good morning, I am George Nungesser. Vice president of programs and management. It is my honor today to be with you as a proud second generation shipbuilder Ingalls. Shipbuilding is a very strong and patriotic legacy of building four generations of surface combatants. ADDG 9 63 Spruance Class. The DDG 9 93 Kid Class CG 47 Ticonderoga class and we are here today to commission our 33rd DDG 51. Arleigh Burke destroyer frank E. Petersen JR Once deployed, DDG 21 will be the most lethal surface combatant on the high seas and with the most sophisticated combat system in the destroyer fleet. More than 11,000 ship builders along with our industry and navy partners come to work each and every day with a sense of passion, purpose and personal pride to provide the highest quality mission capable ship we can build and deliver to the fleet. Today is a celebration of team effort. This ship is a shining example of what can be accomplished when the whole team works together as one in one common goal. We have some shipbuilders out in the audience today that I would like to recognize. Mr. Donny Dorsey. It was a ship program manager for the DDG 121. Donnie led the deck plate team to delivery and now he’s the vice president of operations at angles. MS. Cynthia Griffin, Superintendent of the paint department. The total paint coverage requirement for the d. d. d. 21 was approximately three million square feet. Mr. Hector, Elizondo. Electrical general foreman. Okay. Hector is part of an electrical team that supports putting 360 miles of cable On the DDG 1 21. MS Jennifer Johnson Joyner, insulator foreman. DDG121 has enough insulation in her to cover the top of the New Orleans Superdome. Thank you for what you do each and every day. DDG121 is named after a man who dedicated his life to serving our nation and made history in the process. It’s well known that Lieutenant General Frankie Peterson’s junior’s contributions to our nation were heroic and paved the way that had not yet been made his service as the first American African American Marine Corps aviator and the first African American Marine Corps General are an inspiration to many as a Marine Corps aviator. He flew combat missions in Korea and Vietnam, earning the distinguished flying Cross and purple heart. After 38 years of service to our nation. He retired in 1988 with the rank of lieutenant general as a senior ranking aviator in the United States Marine Corps. Lieutenant General Peterson was known to use the phrase into the tiger’s jaw when speaking about social injustices and courage in combat, this phrase has become the ship’s motto. We know the crew who will sail upon her will take it to heart because they adopt this thing. We all can rest assured that our nation’s freedom, freedoms and protected are protected and the rights of our citizens are secured. Captain Hancock, on behalf of the angle shipbuilders, we are honored to provide you and your crew with such a strong ship to use for their intended purpose with the future and security of our nation in mind, we wish you and your crew fair winds and following seas. Thank you. Thank you Mr. Nungesser. Ladies and gentlemen, Admiral Michael Gilda. Good morning Charleston. Good morning Mrs. Neller, Mrs. Coralville, All five of General and Dr Peterson’s Children. Major General Livingston, Secretary Campbell, Secretary del Toro. General Berger, General Neller, Admiral Howard, Distinguished guests, partners and industry, family, friends and shipmates Today We take great pressure, immense pride in commissioning the fighting ship you see behind me 513 ft of fighting American steel and all that. Those three words embody. And in this coming year, 330 proud American sailors will put this destroyer to see and carry the name of Frankie Peterson to the far flung corners of the globe. General Frankie Peterson was no ordinary man. He was a United States marine and he was a Trailblazer. The course 1st African American Aviator and general officer throughout his nearly four decades of service. He was a devoted husband to his beloved And late wife, Dr. Alicia Peterson and a loving father to five incredible Children. Gayle dana Lindsay, Monique and Frankie Peterson the third. During his career, General Peterson made waves across the fleet and pioneered a course for future devil dogs and sailors alike. He committed, he was committed to our nation and that was beyond approach and his courage as a fighter pilot set a sky high standard for the ship that bears his name. It is fitting that the name synonymous with service and sacrifice is engraved in the steel of this warship because our early Arleigh Burke burke class destroyers embody the fighting spirit and the cool under pressure style of General Peterson. In times past, it has often been the strength of our fleet or sailors and marines that have tipped the scales of conflict against our adversaries. Our role in the world has never been an easy one. It is not only required strength but sacrifice. That is the price that we should pay for our commitment to our deals and a vision of a safe and secure world for all Americans throughout its history. The American destroyer embodied our Navy strength and willingness to serve multi mission by design a swiss army knife, if you will destroyers charged into contested environments to take on the enemy, protect convoys and capital ships so that we can control the seas and project American power around the world. A destroyer at flank speed serves as a not so gentle reminder to every nation that we will bear any burden, that we will support any friend oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. Just over 30 years ago, the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer became the gold standard for the modern surface combatant and now today as the 71st Arleigh Burke class destroyer. In 30 43rd flight to alpha enters our fleet, we continue that proud heritage. The U. S. S Frankie Peterson Jr represents a continued dedication of our sailors and civilians, the skill and the innovation of our shipyards in our industry partners and the commitment of the American people to keep the seas free and open for all for the crew of the Frankie Peterson, Jr. I wish you the very best that you strive to serve with the same honor. The same courage and the same commitment of your ship’s namesake. May God bless you, your families and your many voyages to come. Thank you. Thank you. Admiral Dilday. Ladies and gentlemen, General David H. Berger, Well, good morning distinguished guests. The sponsors marines, sailors. Family members, especially the Peterson family. I think all of us wish actually that dr Alicia Peterson and dr and Nickerson. We’re here. That’s General Peterson’s wife and sister, but I’m pretty sure that they’re looking down on us with a great big smile today. Um, they’re here with us. You’ve already heard. Uh, General Peterson was a man of many firsts as a marine of course when you get to command a tactical air squadron and air group and air wing, that’s incredible. He was the first marine African American did do that. But among marines, I would tell you that he is known for two things. First, an incredible motivation to succeed And 2nd, a drive to lead. When he first enlisted in the navy, he was told he ought to be pretty good Stuart, but he had other ideas. He was determined to follow in the footsteps of the actually the first black Navy pilot Jesse Brown. But to frank his real goal was to become a United States marine. He didn’t just climb mountains. He moved with them. He did fly 64 combat missions in Korea, earned the distinguished flying cross as a second lieutenant. Years later, you’re in the chance to command a fighter squadron, His squadron as you heard VM F A 3 14, The Black Knights. That irony was definitely not lost on frank Peterson or anyone else. And while he was, we still have a lot of work to do in the Marine Corps and in the military, I would tell you that we’re a lot better organization because of what General Peterson taught us and because of what he showed us. Not only did he chart a course for those who would follow in his footsteps. He set an example for all who earned the title of United States Marines. There’s a saying that ships take on the characteristics of their namesakes. If so, if that’s true. And God help any adversary that ever confronts the USS frank E. Petersen Jr, She will be just like her name, steak unstoppable. So to the crew of DDG 1 21 May. The legacy of General Peterson inspire you to persevere any hardship, overcome any obstacle and approach every mission with determination and tenacity, Fair winds and following seas. Thank you and semper Fidelis. Thank you. General burger. Ladies and gentlemen, Miss gale Peterson, Good morning everyone. So glad you are here. I want to thank you all for coming. And my comments will be brief. First of all, the Peterson family is extremely honored to have with us today. The Secretary of the Navy, the honorable Carlos Del Toro, the commandant of the Marine Corps, General David Berger, and the Chief of Naval Operations. Admiral Michael guild a. We are so pleased to have all three together here today for this ceremony, my father would be humbled by their presence. We would not, however, be having the ceremony today. If it were not for a gentleman named Robert. Adams. When my dad was shot down in Vietnam. He was rescued by Robert Adams who was also here today. Please stand. My family is enormously appreciative that you were able to join us. Um my father had one grandchild, Frankie Peterson the fourth, although Frankie Peterson could not be here with us today. His three Children, my father’s legacy. His great grandchildren are here. I am pleased to introduce to you all. MS Eugenia Peterson 10 years old. Where are eugenia weight to the people. Frankie Peterson the fifth, our fifth series. He’s nine years old And Miss Parker Peterson who was seven years old. They are happy to be here today to celebrate with us. Their beloved granddaddy general. They are here with their mother Janelle. Mm hmm. A wise man once said this much. I know when the storm breaks, Each man and woman act in accordance with their own nature. Some run some cry and some are struck dumb with terror and some spread their wings like eagles and soar on the winds. Our father, Frankie Peterson was an eagle today. I’m pretty sure you will hear a little bit about why I say this. In the meantime, on behalf of my father and the entire Peterson family, we would like to thank each and every person who worked on this ship from stem to stern. This family is so humbled by the navy naming this ship after our dad. We could not possibly be more proud. This is a tremendously remarkable moment. Thank you to all who made this day happen. When I told my British cousin about this day. He said, I am pretty sure your father exceeded his own expectations and I agree in closing, I leave Commander Hancock and the crew, the Frankie Peterson with his blessing. May you always have fair winds and following seas. And remember this, life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchors. And as my dad used to say onward and upward, thank you for your time And I hope you enjoy the rest of the ceremony. Thank you Miss Peterson. Ladies and gentlemen, the honorable Nancy mace. Okay, thank you. When I was looking at my itinerary today and I saw all of the top brass who was going to be here this morning. My palms started getting sweaty. Uh, so to those who are here today. Secretary del Toro. General burger, Admiral Gil day. Uh, Mayor Tech Lindbergh, the honorable Carlos Campbell Obviously General Livingston for your heroism. And I was just moved to tears. Scale I said I wasn’t gonna cry today. But when you introduce Robert Adams, Robert Adams, Welcome home thank you to the Peterson family. It’s an honor for you all to the grandchildren who are here today. God bless you for sitting through this in the hot sun. This is such a beautiful missile destroyer. And I can think of no better place than to have this ceremony this morning than on the banks of the first congressional district. It was in the 18 hundreds when Robert Smalls just behind us in the Charleston harbor commandeered a confederate transportation ship and brought it to union soldiers in Hilton head and beaufort areas and would win the war. He fought for freedom, Robert Smalls fought for democracy. It was in the first congressional district where we had Harriet Tubman in one night In the 1800s, free over 650 slaves. It was joseph P rainy who fought for freedom in this country and fought for democracy and became the first black American to represent in the U. S. House of Representatives and he represented the first congressional district where we are today. So I can think of no better place than to recognize a man and a legend and an American war hero and Lieutenant General Peterson right on the banks of the first congressional district. He was a fighter for freedom. He was a fighter for democracy and As we’ve heard before, he served with distinction for 38 years, flying over 350 combat missions and earned the Purple Heart, earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, earned the Superior Service cross. The man is a legend. This vessel will be um, It will be a mainstay of the U. S. Armed forces. Its namesake like its namesake did we will overcome and show the pursuit of excellence as soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have done for generations. The crew members will continue to carry the torch of liberty and defend this great nation as General Peterson once did and what General Peterson’s life and legend has shown us that you can face enormous adversity that you could face an obstacle unlike any other, that you could face a challenge you never thought you would ever have to face and that you can succeed. He didn’t give up. He did not quit. He succeeded in all the obstacles that he faced. And so it’s an honor to be with you all today. That not only will General Peterson’s life and legend be here forever for your family, for your great grandchildren, for future generations defending freedom and democracy around the world. And we thank you and God bless thank you. Representative Mace. Ladies and gentlemen, the honorable Carlos del Toro. Good morning Charleston South Carolina. Is that the best you can do. Can we hear some noise out there? Yeah. You know before I begin my comments, I want to extend my special thanks first to the chaplain. This morning when I woke up there was really dense fog and as a sailor, I said, this can’t be good. So I had my staff called the chaplain. I said chaplain, can we put in a special request for sunny weather with just enough cloud cover and not make it too hot. And how about a hand, applause to the chaplain. He came through with the Good Lord. Mr. Mayor, thank you for your tremendous hospitality as a young naval officer, I had the privilege of sailing on a frigate actually up the cooper River. So I can confirm actually that the cooper River does feed into the Atlantic ocean Representative Mace, Thank you, ma’am for being here for your tremendous leadership of this first congressional district and all for you, all that you do for our country as well too. It’s an honor to be here with so many distinguished leaders, trailblazers from our Navy and Marine Corps family and I want to take a brief moment to also ask one individual stand up. Admiral Michelle Howard, would you please rise? Admiral Howard had the distinction of serving as our Navy’s first four star Naval Admiral in the United States Navy. And we thank you for your leadership as well, Admiral. Okay speaking of family, I am deeply grateful to every member of the Peterson family for being here today and for your lifetime of service to our nation. All of us join you in honoring not only the memory of Lieutenant general frank Peterson, but also dr Lisa Peterson and dr and Nickerson is the commandant mentioned. I’m also grateful for the presidents of the miller family, including our former commandant of the Marine corps and the sponsor and matron of honor of this majestic and powerful worship as a former destroyer captain myself. I know firsthand the agility, the versatility and distribute power that this ship will add to our fleet. But I also know that the real strength of her character of her character stems from the plank owners who will soon bring her to life. And so I want to thank every member of this crew and your families for your service to our nation. I’m gonna ask that all the family members of our crew, please stand up and be recognized. Thank you as secretary of the Navy. I’m determined to do all I can to make sure that you and your families are equipped and ready for the many challenges that lie ahead. That starts with making sure that you have the very finest shipmates and leaders our nation has to offer. We cannot fulfill our mission of national defense without recruiting, retaining training and promoting the best that America has to offer. We need a diverse force today. So every child in America and perhaps one day see themselves as a future Chief of Naval operations or a commandant of the Marine corps. This is the National security imperative today we celebrate the perseverance and honor of the first African American aviator and the first African American Marine general. But there is something deeply pointed and every first because for every marine or sailor who broke a barrier or blazed a trail. There are generations of others before them who had all their dreams deferred. The Marine Corps has been around since 1775 and it took until 17 1979, my first year of service for an African American marine to become a general. We have come a long way indeed way since those early days, but there is still much for us to do together. That’s why we’re taking a hard look at all our policies and identifying where unintended consequences may be holding us back for examining our talent management systems, particularly how the impact areas of underrepresentation and recruitment. We’re looking at our operations, finding ways to use diversity to improve our innovation, our adaptability and our organizational learning. And finally we are building a culture of warfighting excellence founded on leadership, dignity and respect for each other. We owe it to all who serve today to ensure that they have every opportunity to thrive and grow in the service of this country without bias or barriers of any kind. At every level are sailors or marines must know that their concerns are being heard and taken seriously. So Commander Hancock, listen to your people. Look out for your families, carry the legacy of your own namesake with pride and honor and learn from all the distinguished leaders who have served before you including our principal speaker today. The honorable Carlos Campbell served for nine years as a naval aviator and air intelligence officer, during which time he served alongside Lieutenant General frank Peterson in Hawaii. He would later go on to serve as President Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of Commerce and has achieved great distinguish us as a business executive, as an author and even a filmmaker. Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to introduce another New Yorker named Carlos a true patriot and inspiration. Secretary Carlos Campbell, Good, good morning Charleston. This is a great Navy day. This is a great day for the United States Marine Corps and it and it’s a great date for murder. I know there’s a voice then cube. Keep it together. Secretary totoro. Secretary pen, general burger, Admiral Gov. Admiral Howard, General bolden general and Mrs. Neller. Mrs. Clara Korovin ambassador Britain congresswoman Mace Mayor Tech Lindbergh Kaplan hint Captain Hancock The entire crew of DDG121 and distinguished guest Good morning. I want to get them by thanking the Children of General Peterson. They’ve all been introduced. I watched them grow up. Dana Gail Lindsay Monique frank. Before he headed west, he told his wife Felicia that I was his third brother. I can’t tell you how good that. Mm hmm clear is an American icon? A mutual friend of ours Was born about 200 miles south of here. Jim Brown and Jim Brown, the iconic football player and actor said participation is not about competition. It’s about setting the standard. Jim and Frank. We’re friends. They played Chess one time and frank beat him twice and Jim insisted on playing frank until he won a game and he looked at me and he said, Jim, don’t like to lose. Mhm The question is who was frank Emmanuel Peterson JR who shaped his character. Now the Marine Corps historians and other scribes have said he was the first black pilot. Marine Corps. He was first black took command squadron 3 14 and the first black to make flag. But that really does not begin to describe frank Peterson on his way to his first duty station after flight school. He went to el toro Marine Corps air station in California and he was arrested for Impersonating an officer, but he didn’t whine, he didn’t complain, he persevered. He went on to Korea and he flew, earned the DFC distinguished flying cross. And at Jack kemp’s funeral life, I had a conversation with the astronaut senator john Glenn and we talked about frank Peterson who he knew in Korea. There are quite a few people in Korea flying for the Marine Corps. Ted Williams, jerry, Coleman fuel baseball family frank please Paul. Tillich, the theologian said the great anxieties of life or death, guilt and meaningfulness. Ronald Reagan said, some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The marines don’t have that problem. Nelson Mandela said, we are here to manifest the glory of God. That is, that was frank Peterson, the biblical injunctive of Mica says to pursue justice, embraced mercy and walk humbly. I tried to get at least two of those right. The Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis said until you have been crucified in his life. You’re not ready for your resurrection. This was frank Peterson. We met in Honolulu at the barbershop downtown I was and ensign and instant supposed to keep their supposed to keep their mouth shut and their eyes open and in walks this ramrod straight Marine captain, pilot and I was frankly intimidated. I got my nerve up and I introduced myself. I said Sarah Comments in Campbell VP 22 Barbers Point with the biggest smile. He ran over and grab my hand and said frank Peterson PMF to 32 Conroy. That began an incredible 55 year friendship. We had about 18 black officers in Oahu. Some of the names you may know Commander, Lieutenant Commander Samuel, gravely, Marine Lieutenant Gary cooper, I think Gary’s here today. Right, Lieutenant corn harper, Carl Bell. The other names you don’t know but another young man was there buddy Pen. Okay, So after Hawaii he um God orders to Cherry Point north Carolina. Some detailer assigned him to a transport squadron. We call transport pilots, truck drivers, asking a fighter pilot too, serving the transport squadrons like asking someone to swim, swim and train for the Olympics in the swimming pool. So frank got his orders changed, ended up in a fighter squadron flying the phantom two’s shortly afterwards I got orders to a squadron and Moffett Field And he called me up one morning and he said Cube be out on the tarmac in about three hours. So I’m out there and here comes to F four s in the section landing, he lands, climbs out of the cockpit, walks over, I salute him and he says, we’re gonna gas and go. So after about 45 minutes turned around did a section takeoff, two phantoms and full burner going up vertically back to Cherry code back to Cherry point In 1965 we were both stationed in the Washington area and each month you do your four hours in the training flight. And one night we went down to north to Norfolk with Ben Cloud who was also a fighter pilot. I was an NFL naval flight officer. Um, so we stayed up all night on our way back to Washington. I stretched on the flight deck and frank was in the left seat panels in the right seat so we get up to altitude and they pushed the nose over and I jumped up off the deck and ran up into the cockpit and frank turned around and just started laughing at me hysterically. So he did have a bit of a sense of humor. Tyrone Pennell. It was another homeboy from New York and I say that respectfully. And one month we’re in frank’s living room and Tyrone was an infantry officer and he was talking about his love for the Marine Corps and I was waiting for to go to Vietnam. And a couple of months later we ended up going to his service in New York. And shortly after that I received a call from Caroline Henriquez. Oh Enriquez was also another homeboy from New York. He’s a lieutenant commander and on his first flight he got jumped over Hanoi by a couple of migs, the United States and a couple of their forces in to clean him up and he went over to Haiphong Harbor, knocked out a couple of patrol boats. On his first flight he got a Dfc Johan Rica’s. He subsequently had a cold catapult shot off the constellation and didn’t make it. So his wife called. I was the first one that got the call. I went over to consult her and then Ben Cloud came over and as we were leaving, His son came over to me about 10 years old and said Mr. Campbell, why did my daddy die? And I couldn’t answer that question. We then served as pallbearers in the funeral for lieutenant communities Henriquez at Arlington and to my right, I’ll never forget. This was white naval aviator with tears flowing down his cheeks. As we were on our way back to the chapel. two black great just walked up to us and they said it was a black man in that casket. We said yes And he said to the other one. I told you that blacks get buried with full military honors in Vietnam frank Peterson And an F four when he was a squadron commander was hit by a surface to ed Mitchell. So he had to eject. He had checked, landed in a rice paddy and this old Vietnamese was running toward him. So frank went for his pistol which he lost in the muck. But at stead survival school he was told to have one around his ankles. So by the time he got that one, the old Vietnamese man grab the parachute and ran back the other way. In the meantime, CH 46 landed. Two guys jumped out to cover frank frank, gets up and he hobbles over to The CH 46 helicopter pilot who has already been introduced Robert Abbott Adams over there. He goes in and he starts doing the ritual black handshake called the depth and frank look at him. I’m going to give you the clean up version. He said, knock off that black expletive and get this expletive out of here. And that story, it was verified by Robert Adam. In 1968 frank Peterson is the commanding officer. Lieutenant colonel received the handsome trophy. We’re having the best fighter squadron in the marine corps. He, I just wanted to be the best. I worked for the former secretary of the Navy John one at the Bicentennial. I got a call one day and frank said cube I’m getting out. I said what? He said, he got passed over for full bird, full colonel because somebody was blocking him and had vowed as long is that one person I will, we have a tradition in the navy praise in public censure and private, Private I won’t mention his name. So I ran down the hall to john Warner’s office and I said, can I speak with you for a minute. I said, I just got a call from frank Peterson and he said he’s getting out. No john wanted was known to have a temper. He never raised his voice at me. He was the quintessential Virginia gentleman. He said, come with me, commander. We get in the elevator, he looks at me and he screams, he said commander, you tell frank to stay in. So the bad guy disappears, frank went on to make full bird and then February 1979. He gets a call at 3:00 AM. The voice at the other end says frank. This is Lou Wilson, the commandant of the Marine Corps Medal of Honor Winner. And he said, we have a tradition in the Marine Corps that whenever an officer makes flag, no matter where he is or what time of day we call him. He said frank, you are now Brigadier General frank Peterson. So the ship was pitching and rolling. The frank thank the commandant. And then he went over to the side of the ship and regurgitated. He was that sick. Well about several months ago. Cory booker, Senator from New Jersey, in reference to the Tangie Brown Jackson said, and I quote, there’s a lot of us who want to believe in the promise of America. You get weary holding on to that dream and you really want to hold onto any indication that your faith and your love for this nation is justified. Well, 35 years ago, frank Peterson gave the commencement address at Virginia Union University. The title of his speech was the promise of America is real and senator Warner had this read into the congressional record Virginia Union by the way, is the place where Samuel gravely graduated. Doug wilder who became the lieutenant governor and the governor of Virginia. He told the audience That when he graduated from Flight School in 1952, he made up his mind. He wanted to be the best fighter pilot in the entire Marine Corps and here’s what he told the audience and here’s what he’s saying to the crew today. of 1 21. If you ask me to describe the missions I flew in combat in Korea or Vietnam, I would tell you about the courage of my squadron mates, officers and men alike. I would tell you about the helicopter pilots and crewmen that rescued me when I objected over Vietnam, I would tell you about the marines who returned to battle after being treated for wounds sustained in combat, I would tell you that they were the best. They were always prepared. They were always faithful. If you would ask me to sum up my military experience of 37 years, I would tell you that humility is the province of the courageous and arrogance. The venue of cowards that day, frank, Peterson quoted Thomas Jefferson who said enlightened the people generally oppressions, both body and mind will vanish like evil spirits in the dawn of day. And then he cited Pericles who was the Emperor of Greece during the golden age. And he said that Pericles said the challenge is to participate. So General Peterson said to participate by voting participate for the amber waves of grain, participate for the majesty of Purple mountains, participate for those who landed on the beaches of Normandy, participate for those who climbed Mount Suribachi to raise to participate for those yeah who landed it into and then we have a delta for the guardians of freedom and democracy. On the 24th of august I stood and frank Peterson’s bedroom. His daughter Dana and my daughter Kimberly left the room not only a a marine can be a detention lying down but he was the detention and I looked at him and I said I love you you are my hero. Simplify and I saluted and left the room 20 four hours later he headed West 17 by the third after the memorial with General Peterson at the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis. I walked over to Secretary Pen and secretary said he was gonna meet with his predecessor to get something named after General Peterson and he started the process of DDG121 getting names. This nation will always endure because of the leadership like and men like General Peterson. Secretary wanna Secretary Pen and others back to Hawaii of that small group Of 18 Black Offices. Four made flag Admiral gravely. Vice Admiral, gravely. Rear Admiral Bill Powell. Major General Gary cooper and Lieutenant general frank Peterson. Three served in the sub cabinet of Presidents Gary cooper Buddy Penn and myself and two. He had ships named after them. Samuel gravely and frank Peterson T D. G. And I want to say one thing about general cooper about getting back into the fight. I received a call from a family member and I called the casualty desk and was told that he received frag wounds and the left forearm. He was treated in the field and return to combat my friend, Major General Gary cooper, Captain Hancock. Men and women of the Frankie Peterson Jr remember you’re privileged to serve on a great ship in the world’s greatest frank General Peterson’s great grandfather. Archie McKinney fought with the math to suit his 55th during the Civil War in Charleston South Carolina. Talk about legacy. He set the standard and you know, it really it’s hot. It makes me feel good and it’s almost surreal to look out and see so many black flag officers including Michelle, Howard Gary cooper, Willie Williams, Others and I just want to say something about ted Britain. Ted Brittany ambassador. He was the ambassador to Barbados, the home of my paternal grandmother and ted Britain is 96 years old. He’s the Montford. Point Marine ambassador. Would you stand up please. And okay thank you. He and my father were friends in banking. I want to close by saying this. I’m one of those guys that jump ship after nine years and I’ve been very privileged. I’ve been extremely blessed. I went to great schools Michigan state like Darcy Nella. She was an alumnus Michigan state. I worked for three presidents Nixon ford Reagan. I’ve served on over 30 corporate boards. I’ve been to 55 countries, but every time I come back to this country, I want to kiss the ground because this is the greatest country in the world. Mhm. The best thing I ever did with my life. It was a servant in Navy because it’s the only culture, the only environment, the only institution where somebody always has your back and don’t ever take that for granted. And the congresswoman Mace and Charlie bolden General referred to frank Peterson is a legend. You are carrying on the torch of a living legend. So I wish all of you Godspeed fair winds Following seas. God bless you. God bless the Navy and the Marines. The US Marine Corps and God grace this. Bless this country. The United States of America. Thank you. Thank you. Secretary Campbell. Secretary Del Toro. I would be honored if you would now place Frankie Peterson JR in commission. Many officers. Place Frankie Peterson and commission. Thank you. Secretary Del Toro Executive officer hoist the colors and commissioned pennant. All right sir. Black Knights. 10 hut The Commission Bennett and Professional National Navies began to take form late in the 17th century. All ships at that time were sailing ships and it was often difficult to tell. A naval ship from a merchant men. Navies began to adopt long narrow pennants to be flown by their ships at the main mast head to distinguish themselves from merchant ships. The commission pendant will fly continuously until the ship is decommissioned. Ladies and gentlemen, please rise. I direct your attention to the ship’s mast is your choice of colors and commission pennant. Quartermaster hoist the colors and commissioned pennant, aye, aye. Sir. Mm hmm, mm hmm. Thank you. Mm hmm. Yeah. Mm hmm. Captain. The colors and commissioned pennants are flying proudly over USS frank E. Petersen Jr very well. Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. I will now read my orders from commander, Naval personnel command to Commander Daniel A Hancock. The United States Navy subject. Buford’s Order # 9580 dated 01 April 2022. When directed by reporting senior detect from President duty and report to pre commissioning unit Frankie Peterson Jr. As commanding officer upon commissioning of USS frank E. Petersen Jr. Report for duty as commanding officer. Admiral guild a United States ship Frankie Peterson JR is in commission and I am in command. Okay. Right. Executive officer set the first swat high Sir Foster deck. Set the first watch. Hi, sir, The officer deck is the commanding officers. Direct representative. And while on watch is responsible for the safe operation of the ship and crew. The long glass is a traditional symbol of an also FedEx authority in the ship of the line, we are honored to have Lieutenant General Peterson, Jr son Mr. Frankie Peterson the third who will pass the long glass to our first officer deck. Lieutenant Jeremy dirk from Bakersfield California. The party also watch is senior chief sonar technician Philip Marienau from Dallas Texas. The messenger of the watch is information systems technician. Third class Demir Coleman from Lithonia Georgia. And because of the watch is chief john. Across from Detroit Michigan Set the watch on Deck Watch. Section one sir. The watch is set very well captain. The watch is set very well. The spirit of a US navy warship is the embodiment of her sponsor. Our ship is honored to have two sponsors, Mrs. D’Arcy Neller and the late dr Alicia Peterson who christened the ship together in Pascagoula Mississippi on October 6th 2018. They have imbued this ship and crew with their spirit and grace. We are so honored to have Mrs. Naylor with us. Today we lost dr Peterson in September of last year and her matron of honor, Doctor and Nickerson in January of this year. While they are no longer with us, they will always be a source of strength and inspiration to the ship and her crew. I would like to invite Gail Petersen dana Peterson, more Lindsey Lindsey Peterson Pulliam and Monique Peterson to come forward and stand with Mrs. Neller on their behalf and she brings the ship to life Claire. Will you please join us as well, Mrs. Neller? I would be honored if you would give the order to man our ship and bring her to life. Good morning everyone. This is an exciting day for me personally, but even more so for my Peterson family. Um that said it’s also a bittersweet day because my co sponsor Dr Alicia Peterson and her major nirvana and and dr Nickerson passed away this past year. But these ladies are gonna be looking down on the ship and crew and we have the extended Peterson and other family thighs on the ground here. So I think we’ve got everything covered. I want to thank the city of Charleston for hosting this wonderful event. Um Huntington’s angles for building a beautiful ship and all the people that work tirelessly behind the scenes to make this day happen. Thank you to our families as well. Our service members can’t do what they do without you and your love and support to the officers and crew. A ship without a crew is like a body without blood. You will all make this ship come alive and grow Lieutenant general frank. Peterson was a marine of many firsts as you’ve heard he was the first African American aviator. The first African American squadron commander. The first African American group commander, The first African American wing commander and the first African American general officer. The namesake of this ship was a warrior. He always went to the sound of the guns but he was always prepared and smart about the risks he took. You all need to be the same. Always be prepared to work hard. And when the time comes you will be ready to go into the job of the tiger. So to the officers and crew of the USS frank E. Petersen Jr men our ship and bring her to life. Mm hmm mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, mm hmm. Thank you. Thank you. Mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm. Yeah. Okay, mm hmm mm hmm, mm hmm. Yeah. Yes. Mhm. Mhm, mm hmm, mm hmm. Okay. Mhm, mm hmm. Okay. Thanks. Mm hmm. Yeah, mm hmm. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah, mm hmm. Ladies and gentlemen, the crew of USS frank E. Pearson Jr salutes you okay? We are proud to serve in America’s Navy Black Knights ready to, We would like to thank Marine Aircraft Group 31 for their support today. Will the guests please be seated? Yeah. Mhm. Okay, mm hmm. Yes. Yeah, that was your right. I see you walking. We’re turning into all right, Grace potter. Okay, we love that. Thank you, wow. I just don’t know. Right. Really. Very much very, we’ll keep it. We’ll keep it right here. We’ll give it back to you. Carlos. Don’t worry. Okay. Yeah. Yeah that’s no captain. The crew of USS frank E. Pearson Junior is manned and ready. Very well. Captain Glory USS frank E. Petersen Jr is manned and ready and reports for duty, ma’am. Thank you. Secretary Del Toro. Request permission to break your flag, sir. Very well. Executive Officer. Break the flag of the Secretary of the Navy High sir. Quartermaster. Break the flag of the Secretary of the Navy, aye, aye, sir, mm hmm. Captain, the flag of the Secretary of Navy is flying proudly over USS frank E. Petersen JR very well. Ladies and gentlemen, Commander Daniel Hancock, United States Navy commanding officer. USS frank E. Petersen Jr. Black Knights parade rest. Secretary Del Toro. Admiral Dilday. General burger, Distinguished guests and fellow citizens. We gather today not just to commission a worship, but to honor the legacy of a great American symbolized in U. S. Steel and manifested in the proud sailor. Standing before you. This American man of war which my team and I labored to life represents the cutting edge of U. S. Naval combat power. And as of today she is America’s newest and most advanced guided missile destroyer ever designed. Our incredible crew takes a great deal of pride in their work. This worship is capable of shooting down the world’s deadliest air threats, sinking. Advanced enemy ships hunting adversary submarines and destroying enemy ballistic missiles in space. She is the embodiment of the Navy’s tested tactical concepts and represents a new age in USC power in a word. This ship was built to fight and when it was built to fight and win against Americans peer competitors and I can find no better warrior for her namesake than general frank E. Petersen Jr. He faced inhumane treatment and social justice at every turn, but he prevailed. Victoria’s not only in his meritorious achievements, but valor in combat and with his character fully intact. His courage against insurmountable odds and his perseverance and a lifetime of service are virtues that every black knight seeks to emulate. 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 in carrying his torch proudly forward to my crew, My Black Knights. It’s been a long voyage to get here, but in this moment I wish to express gratitude and pride. It is my greatest professional honor to serve with each of you. I’m proud of you beyond measure. My heart is filled with love for each of you. A captain could not ask for more than what I have Over the course of my career, I’ve had the honor of serving with some very fine cruise, but you are different. You’re the most talented team that I have ever served with. And despite schedule changes in the pandemic, each of you contributed to the Navy’s mission worldwide. I signed countless temporary duty order, sending you abroad on your sister ships to deploy to execute national tasking and to keep your critical skills current, you not only accomplished the mission at every turn. You impressed my fellow commanding officers. And I must confess some of them tried to keep you a little bit longer when it was our time to take custody of Frankie Peterson, Jr. Every one of you stepped up and took ownership of the mission. You built a vibrant community within these steel frames that’s founded on clarity, community and greatness. We know our why. With all of your training, deployment experiences and a ruthless self assessing culture, you’re one of the most aggressive, tactically oriented teams assembled by the Navy. You know how to get real and then you know how to get better. I watch you do it every single day. It has been a privilege to witness your development from my chair. You inspire other sailors to be wildly successful in the Navy and in life. You have certainly inspired me. And when I see you, I know with absolute certainty that the United States is in the best of hands. Now the trumpet calls us forth. Once again today marks the end of one voyage in the beginning of another one. Together we will take the general’s warship in the pacific and sail her into Pearl Harbor where history is not just studied but lived every day. The graves of countless U. S. Sailors and marines surround our new home. Their watchful eyes remind us daily that war can come at any time, and we must be ready to defend home. If that order ever arrives, we won’t be alone. The incredible destroyer. Squadron 31 Ohana will be waiting for us and I’m excited to join our fellow greyhounds and formation off a beautiful Hawaii. I look forward to many sea voyages ahead wherever they may take us. Finally, to the Peterson family. You are our family too. My team and I are very humbled to have been given the opportunity and privilege to bring the general ship to life. You have my solemn word that we will sell his ship with pride, professionalism, competence and character. We will sail fast. We will shoot straight and we will speak the truth. She will represent his values wherever she goes. And she will carry his legacy and his very spirit. Two American sailors and marines for generations to come. We’re ready to follow in his footsteps, sail into the tiger’s jaw and own the fight. The general used to say, Let’s see what the old tigers got! Black Knights. I say. Let’s go to see. Thank you Black Knights! 10 Hut. Will the guests please rise and remain standing for a final tribute to our ship’s namesake. Lieutenant General Frankie Peterson Jr, followed by the benediction which will be offered by chaplain. Bernard. All right, would you pray with me one more time. Eternal father who is strong to save. We are reminded of the psalmist words that mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea. The Lord on high is mighty. And so it is in your almighty hands of protection and care that we place this ship and her crew. Oh, Lord! And ask that you would lead, guide and sustain her. The officers and crew of the Frankie Peterson Jr, have worked tirelessly for months upon months to be ready in war and in peace to accept any order to accomplish any task and to fight and win. Should they be called to go into the tiger’s jaw this very night, Lord! Would you go before them and behind them, above them, and below them, as they rise each day to bring honor to their families, their shipmates, their nation, and their God, May they, from this day forward, be super Fidelis! Always faithful. Before I ask all of these things in your name that is above all names and all of God’s people said with me Amen and amen. Thank you chaplain. Menard