Gen. Michael E. Langley became the first Black four-star Marine General in a ceremony in Washington on Saturday.
He will take command of the U.S. Africa Command, based in Germany.
“I’m humbled and honored for the opportunity to take on the stewardship of AFRICOM command with the four-star billet, but the milestone and what it means for the corps is quite essential,” he said after the ceremony.
“Not just because the mark in history, but what it’ll effect going forward, especially for those younger across society that want to aspire and look at the Marine Corps as an opportunity,” he added.
Gen. Langley, who began his career in the Marine Corps as an artillery officer in 1985, is the first Black Marine to be promoted to the rank of General in the 246-year history of the Marines.
Langley is the son of a former non-commissioned Air Force officer and was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. After growing up on a number of military bases, his family settled in Texas, according to the Marines website. He attended Fort Worth ISD’s Leonard Middle School and graduated from Western Hills High School in 1980. Langley also graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington in 1985.
Langley’s formal military education includes a masters in National Security Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
According to Langley’s biography on the Marines website, he has commanded at all levels during his 37-year career and served overseas in Afghanistan, Somalia and Okinawa. He has held senior jobs at the Pentagon and the military’s Central Command. Langley assumed command of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa last year.
President Joe Biden nominated Langley for the promotion in June.