Marine Corps Col. Lorna M. Mahlock will make history as the first African-American woman to earn the rank of brigadier general.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced the nomination on Tuesday, according to ABC News.
Mahlock is the deputy director of operations, plans, policies and operations directorate at the Marine Corps’ headquarters in the District of Columbia. She had previously served in Okinawa, Japan as a commanding officer overseeing 1,300 troops and civilian personnel and responsible for $250 million in equipment in support of the nation’s strategic priorities in the Asia Pacific region, according to her LinkedIn page.
She also has experience working with lawmakers. In 2014, Mahlock managed the Marine Corps manpower legislative portfolio and was a liaison to members of the House, Senate and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
The new general graduated from Marquette University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a master’s degree in adult and higher education from the University of Oklahoma. Mahlock also earned a master’s from the U.S. Army War College and the Naval War College.
At 8 percent, the Marine Corps has fewer women than the other three military services. The Marine Corps opened the door to women serving in combat occupations in 2016, and the first female officer graduate from training last year, according to the news outlet.
White men have long dominated the Marine Corps, but the branch launched a marketing campaign in 2012 to attract more people of color and female officers, the New York Times reported. Black officers accounted for about 6 percent of the Marines officer corps, compared with more than 13 percent in the Army.