Michael Langley becomes Marine Corps’ first African American 4-star general

Fox News reported this weekend that the United States Marine Corps now has an African American four-star general, marking a new first in its 246-year history.

General will command all U.S. forces in Africa

Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley’s promotion was confirmed by the Senate on Monday and it was made official during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Saturday morning.

Fox News stated that the general will now head U.S. Africa Command, which is based in Stuttgart, Germany. The position puts him in charge of all U.S. military forces in Africa.

Originally from Shreveport, Alabama, Langley graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington before embarking on a 37-year career in the Marine Corps.

A statement put out by the Marine Corps noted that Langley had served in countries around the world, including Somalia, Japan and Afghanistan.

“As a General Officer, Langley has held billets including Deputy Commanding General for II Marine Expeditionary Force, Commanding General for 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Commander for Marine Forces Europe and Africa, Deputy Commanding general for Fleet Marine Force Atlantic and Deputy Commander for Marine Forces Command and Marine Forces Northern Command,” the Marine Corps.” Fox News quoted the statement as saying.

Langley spoke of the first black Marine Corps officer Frederick C. Branch

While speaking at his promotion ceremony, Langley recalled Frederick C. Branch, the first African American to ever be commissioned as a Marine Corps. officer.

A Washington Post profile published following his death in 2005 at age 82 noted that Branch attended Officer Candidate School after having served as an enlisted man in World War II.

“For a person of color to aspire to be an officer in the Marine Corps was a danger,” Maj. Gen. Cornell A. Wilson Jr. was quoted by the post as saying.

“We still had Jim Crow laws. We still had unwritten rules and regulations in the country. . . . He could very well have been lynched or injured in some way.”

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