Marines Will Lastly Have Their First Black 4-Star Common

The Marine Corps introduced that Lt. Gen. Michael Langley has been confirmed to move U.S. Africa Command and will likely be promoted to the rank of common in a ceremony Saturday. Langley would be the first Black Marine to carry the rank within the 246-year historical past of the department.

Langley will take command of AFRICOM, based mostly in Stuttgart, Germany, on Aug. 9, the place he’ll oversee all American army forces stationed in Africa, in line with an announcement from the command. President Joe Biden nominated him for the job in June.

In line with the Marine Corps, Langley, a local of Shreveport, Louisiana, commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1985 as an artillery officer. He “has commanded Marines at each degree from platoon to regiment, serving in Okinawa, Japan and Afghanistan,” the service mentioned.

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With Langley’s promotion, the Marine Corps turns into one of many final branches to advertise a Black service member to the best rank within the army. The newly fashioned House Drive has not but promoted a Black Guardian right into a top-level place.

The primary Black service member to achieve the four-star rank was Daniel James Jr., an aviator and officer within the Air Drive, in 1975. Whereas holding that rank, James commanded North American Aerospace Protection Command, or NORAD, in line with his obituary in The New York Instances.

The subsequent department to advance an African-American to four-stars was the Army, with the promotion of Gen. Roscoe Robinson Jr. in 1982. The Navy promoted Joseph Paul Purpose to four-star admiral in 1996.

The primary Black girl to realize the four-star rank was the Navy’s Adm. Michelle Howard, who was promoted and appointed as vice chief of naval operations — the second-highest rating officer within the Navy — in 2014.

The Marine Corps has a historical past of being final to accommodate African People. Its personal historical past web page notes {that a} presidential order “compelled the Corps, regardless of objections from its management, to start recruiting African American Marines in 1942.” A timeline from the Nationwide Museum of the Marine Corps additionally notes that the service first promoted an African American to a one-star common rank in 1979, 4 years after James placed on his fourth star within the Air Drive.

Langley, who was promoted to the three-star rank solely final yr, is at the moment serving as the top of Marine Forces Northern Command and commander of Fleet Marine Drive Atlantic. He has beforehand led Marine Forces Europe and Africa.

— Konstantin Toropin may be reached at Comply with him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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