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Senate Confirms First Black Marine For Fourth Star to Lead U.S. Africa Command

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Langley delivers a speech aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), during the Fleet Week New York reception ceremony in the hangar bay, May 25, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

The Senate on Monday approved the promotion of Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Langley to the rank of general, which will make him the first Black Marine to receive a fourth star.

Langley will lead U.S. Africa Command, the Stuttgart, Germany-based combatant command.

Langley will formally receive his fourth star at a ceremony this Saturday in Washington, D.C., according to a Tuesday news release from the Marine Corps.

In his role leading AFRICOM, Langley will oversee operations in Somalia and support for West Africa forces countering piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Langley has been the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command and Marine Corps Forces Northern Command, in addition to serving as the commanding general of Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, since November.

He is a career artillery officer who commissioned into the Marine Corps in 1985.

“Langley has commanded Marines at every level from platoon to regiment, serving in Okinawa, Japan and Afghanistan,” the service said in the news release.

“As a general officer, Langley has held billets including deputy commanding general for II Marine Expeditionary Force, commanding general for [2nd] 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 release continued.

The Pentagon announced Langley’s nomination to lead AFRICOM in June.

“Langley’s promotion will mark the first time a Black Marine has served as a four-star general in the 246-year history of the Marine Corps,” the Marine Corps said in the Tuesday release.

Seven Black Marines have previously reached the rank of lieutenant general.

Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, who has led AFRICOM since July of 2019, is slated to retire.