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BY Francis Akhalbey, 8:36am December 21, 2022,

Jamaican-born woman makes history as Marine Corps’ first Black female two-star general

Maj. Gen. Lorna Mahlock was born in Jamaica -- Photo Credit: Pfc. Morgan Burgess

Maj. Gen. Lorna Mahlock, a senior officer in the United States Armed Forces, recently wrote her name in the history books after she became the Marine Corps’ first Black female two-star general. According to Military.com, Mahlock’s feat adds up to other historic milestones that women and minorities in the military have achieved this year.

Mahlock, who was born in Jamaica, was nominated by President Joe Biden at the beginning of the month. The Senate subsequently gave the green light for her promotion on December 15. Mahlock is currently the deputy director of cybersecurity for combat support at the National Security Agency.

“Congrats to Brig. Gen. Lorna Mahlock, confirmed Thursday [December 15] to major general,”  the NSA’s director of cybersecurity, Rob Joyce, tweeted in response to her promotion. “She is an awesome leader, great partner, and the deputy director of cybersecurity for combat support here at NSA.  Blazing a trail as the first Black woman two star marine!”

Mahlock’s history-making feat adds up to other significant milestones she has reached. In 2018, her promotion to the rank of a one-star brigadier general made her the Marine Corps’ first Black woman to attain that position. She was also the first woman to be appointed as the Marine Corps’ chief information officer.

Mahlock was 17 when she immigrated to the United States from her native Jamaica, a biography from her alma mater, Marquette University, states. She enlisted in the Marine Corps three months after her arrival.

Over the course of her career, Mahlock has served as an air command and control officer and has also taken up the role of the director of the Marine Corps Instructional Management School. She also has several master’s degrees.

The Marine Corps is one of the smallest branches of the military, the Marine Corps Times reported. The number of women serving on that force is said to be the lowest at 9%. But that notwithstanding, the Marine Corps has implemented significant changes for women. Prior to 2016, women were not allowed to serve in combat.

“I’ve seen that barrier lifted in my career,” Mahlock told her alma mater last year. “We’ve got women flying strike aircraft, women in the infantry and artillery and tanks. … Regardless of where you’re from or your color, gender or ethnicity, we’re just trying to figure out how to build the best fighting force.”

Mahlock’s promotion also comes after Lieutenant General Michael E. Langley became the first Black four-star general in the Marine Corps’ 246-year history, Face2Face Africa reported in July. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 21, 2022


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