Navy to christen guided-missile destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr.

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The Navy will christen the newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121), Oct. 6, during a 10 a.m., CDT, ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.  

The future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. is the first ship named in honor of Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen Jr., the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps officer promoted to brigadier general. When he retired in 1988 after 38 years of service, he was, by date of designation, the senior-ranking aviator in the Marine Corps and the United States Navy.

At the ceremony, the principal speaker will be Gen. Alfred Gray, 29th commandant of the Marine Corps. DArcy Neller, wife of Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, and Dr. Alicia J. Petersen, widow of Frank E. Petersen Jr., will serve as ships sponsors. In a time-honored Navy tradition, the two sponsors will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

The future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. will serve for decades as a reminder of Lt. Gen. Petersen’s service to our nation and Navy and Marine Corps team, said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. This ceremony honors not only Petersens service but also the service of our nations industrial partners, who, for centuries, have helped make our Navy the greatest in the world.”

The future Frank E. Petersen Jr. will be the 71st Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and is the fifth of 21 ships cu....

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