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MCINCR - Marine Corps Base Quantico

"Crossroads of the Marine Corps"

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Black History Month - 77 Years And Moving Forward

By Compiled by MCINCR MCB Quantico CommStrat Staff | Marine Corps Base Quantico | February 25, 2019

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Meet Maj. Anthony “Humpty” Parker, a VH-3D and VH-60 pilot with HMX-1, Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Parker was inspired to join the Corps because his dad was a Marine and was his idol while growing up. The respect that friends, family and random people exhibited to him, just because he was a Marine, was something that Parker sought and appreciated.

He pursued the career field of pilot because he thought it would be a good idea to try something different and go off the beaten path. No one in his family was a pilot and he did not have a personal relationship with a pilot.

Parker choose the CH53E platform out of flight school due to its mission as an assault support aircraft. He thought there was no better way to support the Marines on the ground, than to be a pilot of such an aircraft.

Parker considers his hometown to be Fredericksburg, Virginia. His dad was stationed at Quantico and the family lived in Fredericksburg during his middle and high-school years. His parents still live in Fredericksburg and his dad works at Marine Corps Systems Command as a civilian. He is glad to be stationed at “home.”

*Pictured in the background - Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen was not only the first black Marine aviator; he was also the Corps’ first black general.

“Just to be able to say you kicked down another door was such a great satisfaction,” he said, but it was also a challenge. “Whereas you thought you could perform before, now you must perform.” - Frank E. Petersen

Petersen, from Topeka, Kansas, earned his wings and was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1952 after serving two years in the U.S. Navy. He flew more than 350 combat missions, including missions during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and more than 4,000 hours in various military aircraft. He flew his first combat mission at the age of 21 in a Corsair in 1953.

Peterson was promoted to brigadier general on Feb. 23, 1979, becoming the first black American to hold that rank in the Marine Corps.

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.

The U.S. Navy christened the newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121), in Oct. 2018.

Graphic Illustration by: Sgt. Meghan Millott


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