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Gen. Michael E. Langley Becomes First African American Four-Star General In Marine Corps History

He credited his father with telling him to “aim high.”

U.S Marine Corps Gen. Michael E. Langley, a longtime trailblazer in the American military has made history again by being named the first African American four-star general in Marine history.

During his promotion on Saturday (August 6), Langley credited his father with telling him to “aim high” and predicted that his promotion would impact younger people. A Shreveport, La., native, the 60-year-old is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marines in 1985.

“My daddy told me to aim high, so I aimed as high as I could and found the few and the proud,” Langley said during a ceremony at Marine Corps Barracks Washington, according to the Associated Press.

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The Marine Corps rejected Black men in its ranks until 1942, but that changed following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S.’s entry into World War II.

In June, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that President Joe Biden had nominated Langley for appointment to the grade of general. His promotion comes with the assignment of commander of U.S. Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany. The Senate confirmed his appointment on Monday.

“The milestone and what it means to the Corps is quite essential,” Langley said during Saturday’s ceremony, the AP reports. “Not because the mark in history, but what it will affect going forward, especially for those younger across society that want to aspire and look at the Marine Corps as an opportunity.”

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