America’s First Black Marine Aviator
Autobiography by Lt Gen Frank E. Petersen USMC (Ret) and J. Alfred Phelps
“Once I found out what being a United States Marine was all about, jumping into the tiger’s jaw was just something to do. We’d been trained for combat. That’s our reason for being. When the time comes, hell, stick out your can. Let’s go. Let’s see what the old tiger’s got. Let’s jump right into his big, old jaw. That’s what I was doing that day in Vietnam when that old tiger caterwauled and bit me. I was flying high. A Lieutenant Colonel, Marine fighter squadron commander. Keeper of the keys… And to make it sweeter our call sign was Black Knights. Hypothetical swords at the ready, I pulled that hot pad duty just like I wanted my men to do it. Five- to twelve-hour stints, depending on the threat and the type of call for assistance. Tiger growled. We listened. Marine troops pinned down, deep in the DMZ. Twenty miles north of the Rock Pile, near An Khe. Target, 15 miles into North Vietnam. We fired up the Phantoms, those big, powerful, weirdly beautiful F-4s – and flew right into that old tiger’s jaw…”
– From the Prologue
An MCA-USNI Marine Corps Leatherneck Original Book Published in Partnership with the Marine Corps Association.
Leatherneck Originals are new or out-of-print books that have been specially commissioned or reprinted by the partnership of the United States Naval Institute and the Marine Corps Association to provide professional reading material of enduring value on subjects of particular interest to Marines. Books selected as Leatherneck Originals particularly serve the Marine Corps Association mission of supporting the Marine Corps by disseminating knowledge of military art and science among Marines and also foster the spirit and preserve the traditions of the Marine Corps.