From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Frank Peterson '33

Date of birth: June 1, 1909

Date of death: February 19, 1945

Age: 35

Naval Academy Register

Frank James Peterson was admitted to the Naval Academy from New Jersey on July 6, 1929 at age 20 years 1 months.

Lucky Bag

Frank is listed as a "Forced Landing" from Youngster Year.


From the 1953 edition of the book "Double Three Roundup," published by the class of 1933:

Frank left the Academy Youngster Year and was employed by Ludington Flying Service (subsidiary of Ludington Air Lines), obtaining a private pilot's license and aircraft mechanic's license in 1932. In 1933 he went to work for Cities Service Transportation Company as a Seaman, and was promoted to Quartermaster, Boatswain and Third Officer before transferring to the Isthmian Steamship Company as Third Officer in 1935. He returned to the service as an Aviation Cadet in July 1936, and after graduating from Pensacola in August 1937, reported to the Aviation Unit aboard the OMAHA the next month. In September 1939 Frank was transferred to the QUINCY Unit, VCS-7, and two years later he went to the Air Station at Jacksonville as an instructor. In January 1943 he was ordered back to cruiser duty in the SAN FRANCISCO for eight months, participating in the attack on Kiska Island that July. Torpedo bomber and operational training followed, then assignment as Commanding Officer of Composite Squadron Seventy Seven. He led his squadron through the various Pacific Operations until 19 February 1945 when the plane he was flying was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the sea near Iwo Jima.

Frank is survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth Jenkins Edmunds of Lykens, Pennsylvania, whom he married on August 1, 1938 at Villefranche-sur-mer, France; two daughters, Judith Lyn (1940) and Elizabeth Edmunds (1941) and a son Frank (1945). Their address is 653 North Second Street, Lykens, Pennsylvania.

Frank was awarded the Air Medal for the Kiska action and the Purple Heart Medal, posthumously, in addition to his various campaign medals. Elizabeth tells us that he had quite an array of avocations, including writing poetry (none published), model trains, boats and reading professional, biographical and philosophical books.


LCDR Frank J. Peterson, CO of VC-77, wears a Gydeway compass and whistle together on what appears to be a dog tag chain. He was K.I.A. on 2/19/45 when the TBM-1C he was piloting was hit by anti-aircraft fire while attacking ground targets on Iwo Jima. His plane was seen to crash off the island's coast with no survivors.

From Find A Grave:

Aviation Cadet F. J. Peterson, USNR, was designated Naval Aviator #5300 in 1937. Entered active service via the pre-war Aviation Cadet (AVCAD) program.

Lt. Cmdr Peterson was lost as a member of Composite Squadron Seventy-Seven (VC-77) while conducting flight operations over Iwo Jima.

He was flying a TBF-1C Avenger from USS Rudyerd Bay (CVE 81); as noted in the picture he was commanding officer of Composite Squadron (VC) 77.

His wife was listed as next of kin; they were "married in Villefranche, France, in 1938." (Her obituary is unclear, but it appears that Frank and she had three children together.) His remains were interred on Hawaii in June 1949.

Class of 1933

Frank is one of 38 members of the Class of 1933 on Virtual Memorial Hall.