Marines promote first Black 4-star general in service history

History was made in the Marines with the promotion of the first Black 4-star general in the branch’s 246-year history. Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley was confirmed for the position in the Senate by Chuck Schumer Tuesday.

Langley will lead the U.S. Africa Command in Stuggart, Germany, Aug. 9 and oversee all American military forces in Africa, reported.

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The Shreveport, Louisiana, native assumed the duties of this position last year after his predecessor, Maj. Gen. Stephen Neary, was removed from his role for allegations that he used a racial slur about African Americans in front of troops. According to Stars and Stripes, the case is still under investigation by the Marine Corps.

In Feb. 2021, Langley told Stars and Stripes the military is "evolving" like society regarding racial issues. The decorated officer explained to the military news outlet that his experiences in the Marines have been "positive."

Langley has commanded at every level during his 37-year career in the Marines. He served in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Japan and has held high-ranking jobs within the Pentagon. He’s also led U.S. Forces in Europe and Africa.

He also holds degrees from the U.S. Naval War College and U.S. Army War College. Before his promotion to four-star general, Langley is in charge of Marine forces on the East Coast.

Diversity within the military has been a long-standing problem. According to research by the Council on Foreign Relations, more than 80% of high-ranking military officials are white.

As of 2021, Langley was one of only six Black generals in the Marines, according to Stars and Stripes. Several other Black Marines have reached the ranks of lieutenant general or three-star generals — but never a four-star post.

FOX 5 DC contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.