The National Aviation Hall of Fame to Present Prestigious Armstrong Award to Pioneering Aviator Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen, Jr.

Dayton, OH:  The Board of Trustees of the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) is pleased to announce that the 2017 Armstrong Award will recognize the late Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen, Jr., USMC. 

Lt. Gen. Petersen was a courageous role model who overcame racial barriers to become the U.S. Marine Corps first black aviator. Upon returning to the U.S. from combat tours in Korea and Vietnam, General Petersen rose through the ranks to become the first African-American General Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.   

When Petersen retired from military life after serving 38 years in the U.S. Navy, 36 of those as a Marine, he was the senior ranking Aviator in the Marines and the Navy, Commander of the Combat Development Command and Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff.  Following his military career, General Petersen became Vice President of Corporate Aviation at DuPont.

“This award publicly acknowledges a ground-breaking series of events that demonstrate his life-long dedication to leadership in promoting aviation and the values of citizenship, dignity, integrity, and service,” explained NAHF Board Chairman, William R. Harris.   “General Petersen’s story is an inspiration for many generations to come.” 

General Petersen is being honored specifically for his lifetime of groundbreaking firsts and the grace in leadership shown during his remarkable career.  “Not only was Petersen highly decorated, having earned the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Combat “V”, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart, among other awards,” said fellow Marine Aviator NAHF President Michael Quiello, “he was also responsible for a lot of firsts.  Having logged more than 4,000 hours in various fighter/attack aircraft General Petersen helped shape U.S. Marine Corps aviation.”

The late Lt. Gen. Frank Petersen will be represented by his children who will accept the Armstrong Award on his behalf.  The award will be given during the NAHF’s 55th Annual Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony on Saturday, October 28, 2017.  Widely recognized as the “Oscar Night of Aviation,” the black-tie event will take place during the Bell Helicopter Fort Worth Alliance Air Show in Fort Worth, TX.  The NAHF Enshrinee Class of 2017 includes:  Brig. Gen. Charlie Bolden, USMC (Ret); the late Cmdr. M. Scott Carpenter, USN; Mr. Bob Gilliland, and the late Sir Frank Whittle. 

The National Aviation Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, is the only Congressionally-chartered aviation hall of fame in the U.S. The NAHF honors the people; industry leaders, pilots, aviators, engineers, scientists, astronauts and inventors who have made American aerospace what it is today.

The 55th NAHF’s Annual Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony is open to the public by advance registration only.  Sponsorship opportunities and individual seats are still available, but a capacity crowd is expected.  To make reservations or more information, visit or call 937-256-0944 ext.19.