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Marines’ gets its 1st Black 4- star general, Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley


246 years after The Marine Corps was founded in November 1775, a glass ceiling is on the verge of being broken in our country.

Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley, who has served in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Japan, has been nominated to lead all U.S. military forces in Africa as chief of U.S. Africa Command. The chief position will oversee the nation’s military presence in Africa. 

If confirmed, he will receive four stars and will be the Marines’ first Black four-star general. After more than 35 years in the US Marine Corps, Langley is on the path to being the first Black general to achieve one of the branch’s highest rankings. In the Marines’ 246-year history, 73 White men have reached the four-star ranking.

Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a confirmation hearing for Langley. During the hearing, Langley said, “It is a great honor to be the President’s nominee to lead US AFRICOM. I’m grateful to the trust and confidence extended by him.”

The son of a US Air force veteran, Langley was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington and has served in the Marine Corps since 1985. Over the course of his military career, Langley has commanded at every level and served on multiple continents. He has multiple advanced degrees, including a Master’s in National Security Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College as well as a Masters in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College.

Langley’s achievements are not lost on other Black service members serving in the military. The history of Black service members includes being engaged in every American conflict dating back to the American Revolution in the 18th century. Each branch of the military had its own policy on racial segregation until President Harry Truman officially desegregated the military in 1948. Black officers have attained four stars in the Army, Air Force, and Navy, but only a few Black men have become 3-star generals in the Marine Corps. 

During his opening statements, Langley said, “I am enthusiastic to engage across the whole government to faithfully execute the policies and orders of the President and the Secretary of Defense.” 


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