Newsletters & Information > Into the Tige Jaw First Black Marine Aviator
Into the Tige Jaw First Black Marine Aviator

Mar 30, 2006

REVIEW BY DOMINIC J. CARACCILO
Not until May 1942 did the Marine Corps finally succumb to
political and public pressure and officially accepted
blacks into its ranks for the first time in its 150-year
history. It was the last service to do so.

In July 1948 President Truman's executive order 9981
required the armed forces to integrate its ranks. The
Marine Corps, of all the services, was reluctant to comply
with this edict. In fact, as late as May 1949, Marine Corps
policy held that no black first-term enlistments would be
accepted unless optioned for steward's duty only.

In Into the Tiger's Jaw, Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen conveys
how his 38-year career pioneered the way for
African-American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines in
the Armed Forces. In 1950, this mid-western 18-year-old,
striving to leave his confining world behind, had no idea
that he would test the racial barriers well entrenched in
the Military's psyche. He had no aspirations at becoming
the first black Marine aviator nor did he ever expect to be
the first Marine three-star general. He just wanted to be
the best Marine possible.

Nonetheless, two wars later, after thousands of hours in
cockpits and numerous other challenges, Frank Petersen
found himself not only the Marine Corps senior aviator, the
"Silver Eagle," but also the first and only black
three-star general ever to serve in his service.

Frank Petersen occupies a significant place in American
history because of his pinnacle achievements. He "jumped
into the tiger's jaw" and "into the fray" not only as a
combat aviator, but also as an icon for those of all races
and gender with a desire to overcome adversity and succeed
in a chosen profession.

Into the Tiger's Jaw is a tribute to those who serve,
regardless of color.

 JAMES E STEWART JR PRESIDENT

JOHN TILLMAN VICE PRESIDENT

Historical advisor Byron Stewart PhD

 

5708 CHRIS MAR AVE
CLINTON MARYLAND, 20735
240-535-5580
oklamarine@aol.com
 
Search this site powered by FreeFind