Lieutenant General Michael E. Langley might go down in history on Thursday if the Senate Armed Services Committee gives him the go-ahead to command all US military operations in Africa.
Langley, who has served in the US Armed Forces for more than 35 years, would be the first Black four-star general in the Marine Corps’ 246-year history if confirmed, according to FOX 5 DC. He is currently in command of Marine units on the East Coast.
Langley, a graduate of both the United States Naval War College and the United States Army War College, has a wealth of expertise. Langley has held senior roles in the Pentagon after serving in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Japan. The native of Louisiana has also led American forces in Europe and Africa.
“I’m certainly proud and excited for him and his family, but also for the Marines he’ll have the opportunity to lead,” former Army Colonel Greg Gadson said. “Think about the new officers who will be able to glance around and see someone who offers them hope that they can achieve those things.”
The United States military is reported to have ongoing diversity concerns. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, white officials hold more than 80% of high-ranking jobs in the military, according to FOX 5 DC.
According to Stars and Stripes, the Marine Corps had only six Black generals as of 2021. Langley was among them. Several Black Marines have risen to the ranks of lieutenant general or three-star general, but not four-star general.
“You would think that with all the years of service and all the talent that has gone through, someone would have crossed this boundary beyond that,” Col. Gadson remarked. “We must celebrate what has occurred and, more importantly, not lose that momentum; let it not be a one-off, but rather a light for all.”
If confirmed, Langley will oversee nearly 6,000 American troops in Africa. He will be stationed in a German base.