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Tue Jun 30, 2020, 11:59 AM

He was the first Black Marine pilot, but his hometown still got his name wrong

The last name of Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen Jr., a native Topekan who was the first Black aviator and first Black general in the Marine Corps, is misspelled as "Peterson" on all four signs standing along the street that bears his name at Topeka Regional Airport and Business Center.

The Topeka Capital-Journal made that determination this week, then contacted Eric Johnson, president/director of airports for the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority.

"Thanks for pointing this out," Johnson said in an email Thursday. "We are ordering new signs and will coordinate with (Shawnee County) planning for the spelling correction."

The signs went up after Johnson announced in 2013 that the facility's streets would be named after Kansas aviators, including Petersen, Amelia Earhart and astronauts Ron Evans and Joe Engle, according to a Capital-Journal article.

Petersen, a three-star general, was born in 1932 in Topeka and graduated in 1949 from Topeka High School. He enlisted in the Navy in 1950, then left in 1952 to accept a commission as a second lieutenant and become the first Black pilot in the Marine Corps.

While training in Florida, Petersen was ejected from a public bus for refusing to sit in the back, according to an obituary published in the New York Times after he died at age 83 in Maryland in 2015.

https://taskandpurpose.com/news/first-black-marine-pilot-frank-e-petersen-topeka

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Reply He was the first Black Marine pilot, but his hometown still got his name wrong (Original post)
douglas9 Jun 30 OP
bobbieinok Jun 30 #1
LisaM Jun 30 #2

Response to douglas9 (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 12:04 PM

1. It just NEVER ends, does it?

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Response to douglas9 (Original post)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 12:19 PM

2. Glad they are fixing this.

This is an easy mistake. I live in Seattle and work with many people with "son" and "sen" last names, and while I certainly think they should have been more careful, I make the same mistake all the time.

This is more carelessness than ill-intent, I would say.

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