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USS Frank E. Petersen Jr., the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, arrives on June 13, 2022, at its new homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

USS Frank E. Petersen Jr., the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, arrives on June 13, 2022, at its new homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (Melvin J Gonzalvo/U.S. Navy)

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — The Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, the USS Frank E. Petersen Jr., arrived Monday in Pearl Harbor, making it the ninth ship of its class to homeport in Hawaii.

The 509-foot Arleigh Burke-class destroyer steamed into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam from Charleston, S.C., where it was commissioned last month, the Navy said in a news release Monday.

It joins the USS Daniel Inouye, which arrived in November at the joint base that is headquarters to U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The ship’s namesake is Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen Jr., who was the Corps’ first African American aviator and three-star general, the Navy said in a news release Monday.

Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced in 2016 that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer would be named to honor Petersen, a year after the veteran died at age 83.

Petersen flew combat tours in the Korean War in 1953 and the Vietnam War in 1968.

He flew more than 350 combat missions and logged over 4,000 hours in various fighter and attack aircraft, the Navy said.

Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (ret.), the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general, served during the Korean War in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968. During his career, he flew more than 350 combat missions and more than 4,000 hours in various military aircraft.

Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (ret.), the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general, served during the Korean War in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968. During his career, he flew more than 350 combat missions and more than 4,000 hours in various military aircraft. (U.S. Marine Corps)

“My crew and I share a deep sense of pride and honor to represent our namesake, the late Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr., USMC,” Cmdr. Daniel Hancock, the destroyer’s commanding officer, said in the news release.

“This ship is fast, formidable, and built to fight and win in the Pacific Theater,” Hancock said. “This is a great ship, with a proud name, and a wonderful crew; we are thrilled to be here in Hawaii, ready for fleet service.”

The ship was built at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Mississippi. At nearly 9,500 tons and a draft of 31 feet, the Petersen has four gas turbine engines to power it to speeds greater than 30 knots, according to the Navy.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are built around the Aegis Combat System, which is capable of meeting simultaneous threats coming from the air, the sea surface and from underwater, according to the Navy. An advanced radar system at its heart can search, track more than 100 targets and simultaneously guide defensive missiles. The Petersen’s weaponry includes Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles and a mounted, 5-inch Mark 45 gun.

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Wyatt Olson is based in the Honolulu bureau, where he has reported on military and security issues in the Indo-Pacific since 2014. He was Stars and Stripes’ roving Pacific reporter from 2011-2013 while based in Tokyo. He was a freelance writer and journalism teacher in China from 2006-2009.
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