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Next AFRICOM leader could be the first Black four-star general in Marine Corps history

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Lt. Gen. Michael Langley, a Marine with experience commanding American forces in Africa, has been recommended to serve as the next leader of U.S. Africa Command, The New York Times reported Friday. Langley, if confirmed, would be become the first Black four-star general in Marine Corps history, breaking new ground in a military service that has faced criticism for not promoting sufficient numbers of minority leaders.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recommended the White House promote Langley to the Stuttgart, Germany-based post, the Times reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

Langley now oversees Marine forces on the East Coast, but previously he led U.S. Marine Forces Europe and Africa based out of Germany. Langley took command of the Stuttgart-area headquarters in November 2020 after his predecessor was removed amid allegations of using a racial slur for African Americans in front of troops.

In a February 2021 interview with Stars and Stripes, Langley said the military, like society in general, is “evolving” when it comes to racial issues. Langley said his personal experiences in the Marines have been almost exclusively positive on racial matters. But coming up through the ranks, Langley said he experienced instances of racial tension, mostly outside of the Marine Corps.

Langley spent a part of his childhood growing up on racially diverse Air Force bases as the son of a noncommissioned officer. He got his first taste of discrimination when his father retired as a master sergeant in the early 1970s.

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*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.

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