Marines set to have first 4-star black general in 246-year history

Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley is up for a nomination that would make him the first black four-star general in the 246-year history of the United States Marine Corps.

United States Marine Corps

More than 35 years into his career in the US Marine Corps, Lieutenant General Michael Langley could rise to one of the highest ranks in the military.

Langley faces a confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. If confirmed by the Senate, Langley will become the first black four-star general in the Marines’ 246-year history. He will lead all US military forces in Africa as head of US Africa Command.

A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, and the son of a former Air Force noncommissioned officer, Langley has commanded at every level. His postings included Afghanistan during the war and various posts in Asia and Europe.

He took command of U.S. Marine Corps forces in Europe and Africa last year, “after his predecessor was removed from command amid allegations of the use of racial slurs to African-Americans in front of the troops”, according to Stars and stripes.

He also holds several graduate degrees, including a master’s degree in national security strategic studies from the US Naval War College and strategic studies from the US Army War College.

Last year, Langley was one of six black generals in the Marines, stars and stripes reported.

Diversity in the military has been a long-standing issue, and some leaders have tried to address it in recent years.

President Harry Truman desegregated the armed forces in 1948.

When a service member reaches the higher ranks of the military, such as Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps generals, and Coast Guard and Navy admirals, the leaders are more than 80% white, according to a study by the Council on Foreign Relations. .

James Stavridis, a retired Navy admiral and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, previously told WBUR that racism has been a problem in the military for some time.

Stavridis said the military needs to do a better job of representing black, Latino and Asian members in the senior ranks.

“The way to do that is to put them in the mid-career jobs that lead to those flag ranks,” Stavridis said. “It has to happen through mentorship, just as it does in the civilian world, just as it does in academia.”

“Ninety-nine percent of my experiences in the ranks have been positive and can be characterized as opportunities to excel, to succeed,” Langley said. stars and stripes in a profile last year. “As for adversity, it came at times. They always taught me from experiences. But they were few and far between.”

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