Marine Corps

A Historic Moment for a U.S. Commander in Africa

The New York Times reported on May 20, 2022 (“Pentagon Taps Next Commander of U.S. Forces in Africa”), that Lt. General Michael E. Langley, a Marine with experience commanding American forces in Africa, has been recommended to serve as the next leader of U.S. Africa Command.

If formally nominated by the White House and confirmed by the Senate, Lt. General Langley would become the first Black four-star Marine Corps officer. In the Marine Corps 246-year history, an African American has not been promoted to its top ranks. Langley’s promotion would break new ground and become a landmark appointment in the Marine Corps, which has previously faced criticism for not promoting enough minority leaders.

The Marine Corps first admitted African American troops in 1942, which was the last military service to do so. Since then, the Marine Corps has not advanced an African American service member to its most senior leadership: four-star posts. In fact, fewer than 30 have reached general in any form. Seven African Americans have reached lieutenant general, or three-star posts, while the rest received one or two-star posts, which serve in areas such as logistics, aviation, and transport. However, the Marine Corps does not choose their senior leadership from these areas.

Langley currently oversees Marine forces on the East Coast, but he previously led U.S. Marine Forces based out of Germany. Throughout his 37-year career, Langley has commanded at every level from platoon to regiment. He has served overseas in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Okinawa. He has also had several senior staff jobs at the Pentagon and at the military’s Central Command, which overseas operations in the Middle East.

Langley spent part of his childhood growing up on Air Force bases as the son of a noncommissioned officer. In 1972, his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas. Langley later graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington and was commissioned in 1985, entering the Marine Corps as an artillery officer. His formal military education includes U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School and College of Naval Command and Staff. He holds multiple advanced degrees, including Masters in National Security Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

If Langley becomes the next U.S. Africa Command Chief, a top priority is said to be countering militants in the East African country of Somalia.

Join Epic Artwork’s in congratulating Lt. General Michael E. Langley and celebrating a long overdue milestone!

The Epic Artwork Story 

Epic Artwork & Photo all started in 2005 when Andrew Bourne was deployed to Iraq at the Syrian border. He needed a camera for intelligence reasons, so his wife Karen sent him a digital camera. He also photographed the life of the Iraqi people around him. After he returned to the states in 2006 and Karen had a chance to finally view all the images that he took, she realized that Andrew had captured beautiful and harrowing images that later earned him a gallery show.

While in Iraq, Andrew suffered a traumatic brain injury. When he was finally diagnosed in 2008, he was told he needed a hobby to help rework the neurons in his brain, so when he brought up doing live event photography to Karen, she encouraged him to do so. Not only was live event photography a tangible exercise in therapeutic mindfulness, but it also engaged the brain and encouraged the development of neuroplasticity.

Andrew and Karen Bourne are a traveling photography duo with incredible experience and passion. Check out Epic Artwork and Photo’s portfolio here to explore their live event photography and the images Andrew captured in Iraq.

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