Senate confirms Michael E. Langley, making him the Marines’ first Black four-star general 

In his role, the Louisiana native will command U.S. forces in Africa and help nations there deal with climate change, population growth and political instability.

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For the first time in its 246-year history, the United States Marine Corps has confirmed a Black four-star general. 

Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley was confirmed by the U.S. Senate this week, according to a statement from the Corps. 

“At his promoted rank, Langley will serve as the commander of U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, and will command all U.S. military forces in Africa,” the statement notes. 

Lt. Gen. Michael Langley, the Marines’ first Black four-star general, will command all U.S. military forces in Africa. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

In his role, Langley will assist African countries in combating climate change, population growth and political instability, according to The Washington Post. He will also help the countries build up their forces and monitor Russian and Chinese activities. 

At his confirmation, Langley told senators that “military power alone” would not be enough to stabilize the regions under his charge. He added that his mission in Africa will require “an integration of diplomatic efforts from the Department of State, development endeavors from USAID, and comprehensive strategies from other allies and partners operating” on the continent. 

Langley thanked members of his family for their support during the confirmation hearing. “As many nominees have said in testimony before me, military families form the bedrock upon which our Joint Force readiness stands,” he said. “Without their support, I would not be here today.”

According to the statement, Langley’s formal military education includes the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School and College of Naval Command and Staff. He also has several advanced degrees, including master’s degrees in national security strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College and in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, Langley was commissioned in 1985 as an artillery officer at the second lieutenant rank. 

The Shreveport, Louisiana, native will officially assume his rank on Saturday during a ceremony in Washington, according to the statement.

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