February 22, 2024

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first African-American four-star general in Marine Corps history, Gen. Michael E. Langley, credited his father with telling him to “aim high” and predicted his promotion Saturday would have an impact on younger people .

Langley was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and grew up on military bases as his father served in the Air Force. A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1985.

“My dad told me to aim high, so I aimed as high as I could and I found the few and the proud,” Langley said during a ceremony at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, attended by his father and other family members. of.

The Marine Corps, which traces its roots to 1775, refused to accept black men in its ranks until 1942, a shift that followed the attack on the US air base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941 and the US entry into World War II. World War.

The US military services were not abolished until ordered by President Harry Truman in 1948. Three decades later, the first African-American Marine was promoted to one-star general in 1979.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced in June that President Joe Biden had nominated Langley for the rank of general. The promotion came with the assignment of commander of the US Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany. The Senate confirmed his appointment on Monday.

“The milestone and what it means to the Corps is very significant,” Langley said during Saturday’s ceremony, according to a Marine Corps report. “Not because of the mark in history, but what will affect the future, especially for those younger people in society who want to aspire and see the Marine Corps as an opportunity.”

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