Lorna Mahlock has been promoted to the rank of brigadier general by President Donald Trump, earning her the honor of becoming the first black woman ever named to the esteemed position.
The brigadier general appointment signals progress for the Marine Corps, which has come under fire for failing to diversity its ranks.
Defense Secretary James Mattis made the historic announcement Tuesday, reports CNN. Mahlock currently works as the deputy director of Operations, Plans, Policies, and Operations Directorate at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington.
Mahlock’s assignment to brigadier general opens up doors for other women—especially African Americans. The New York Times reports that women comprise only 8% of the Marine Corps staff. And the recruiting efforts for African-Americans and women applicants have been lax. However since 2012, the Marines have vowed to improve diversity efforts and launched a campaign that they expect will improve their numbers, ABC News reports.
Marine Corps Col. Mahlock has had an extensive career in the Marines and has served in the Office of Legislative Affairs and served in Okinawa, Japan. In her post she commands 1,300 troops and civil personnel according to Newsone. Mahlock also oversees $250 million in equipment.
In other major moves to become more inclusive, last year the Marine Corps named a woman as its first female infantry officer but she wanted to remain anonymous.
Mahlock received a Masters from the U.S. Army War College and the Naval War College.
Additionally, Mahlock graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor in broadcast journalism in 1991 and earned a Masters degree from the University of Oklahoma in adult and higher education.