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Lt. Gen. Michael Langley to be confirmed as first Black four-star general.
Lt. Gen. Michael Langley to be confirmed as first Black four-star general. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

The Marines’ first Black four-star general expected to be confirmed by U.S. Senate

U.S. Marine Corps., Lt. Gen. Michael Langley would be the first Black general to achieve the high branch ranking after more than 35 years of service.

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On Thursday, July 21, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a confirmation hearing for Lt. Gen. Michael Langley, who is nominated to be the Commander of U.S. Africa Command, which oversees America’s military presence in Africa. This comes after a career of over 35 service years in the Marines. 

In the Marines’ over two century history, 246 men have become four-star generals, 73 of them white and Langley is to be the first Black four-star general. He is one of six total Black generals in the Marines. 

A Shreveport, Louisiana native, Langley is the son of a former officer in the Air Force, and a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington. He holds multiple advanced degrees in National Security and Strategic Studies. Having been a part of the Marine Corp. since 1985, Langley has commanded at every level of holding posts in Afghanistan during the war, Asia, and Europe over the course of his three-decade career. 

Black service members have been involved in every American war going back to the American Revolution, as have the racial disparities. In a profile with Stars and Stripes last year, Langley said his experience was largely positive.

"Ninety-nine percent of my experiences coming up through the ranks have been positive ones that can be characterized as opportunities to excel, to gain success… As far as adversity, it came in moments. They were always learning experiences to me. But they were few and far between," he said. 

"It is a great honor to be the President's nominee to lead U.S. AFRICOM… I'm grateful to the President for his trust and confidence extended by him… I am enthusiastic to engage across the whole government to faithfully execute the policies and orders of the President and the Secretary of Defense," said Langley at his confirmation hearing.

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