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Meet the First Black Woman Nominated to be Marine Brigadier General

Marine Corps Col. Lorna Mahlock has been nominated to serve as the first black female brigadier general, the Marine Corps media office said. Mahlock was nominated by President Donald Trump, and Defense Secretary James Mattis announced the nomination on Tuesday.

According to his announcement, Mahlock is currently the deputy director of the Operations, Plans, Policies, and Operations Directorate at the Marine Corps headquarters in Washington.

Her nomination was one of several by the President that Mattis announced Tuesday. Last year, an infantry battalion at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina received the first female infantry Marines, who were set to serve in the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, with specializations as rifleman, machine gun and mortar, 1st Lt. John McCombs, a Marines spokesman, said at the time.

Marine Corps Col. Lorna M. Mahlock currently serves as the deputy director of Operations, Plans, Policies and Operations at Marine Corps headquarters.

The Defense Department’s April 10 release of slated general promotions includes a historic first for the Corps.

1st black woman nominated to be Marine brigadier general

Marine Corps Col. Lorna M. Mahlock, the deputy director of Operations, Plans, Policies and Operations at Marine Corps headquarters outside Washington, D.C., will become the first black woman to don the rank of brigadier general if she is confirmed.

Mahlock’s nomination was first reported by ABC News. The Marine colonel has not made a public statement since her nomination, but in 2016, she discussed her experience in the Marine Corps as part of a video dedicated to Women’s History Month.

“Over my 30 years in the Marine Corps, my experience in terms of how women have evolved has been very positive,” she said in the video. “It’s been a steady rise. I’m very, very hopeful.”

The Marine Corps is the smallest of the four military services and has the lowest percentage of female members, according to Marine Corps Community Services.

And just under a hundred women across active duty and reserve Marines are serving in various combat job fields that were previously closed to women.

The first black general in Marine Corps history was Marine aviator Frank E. Petersen Jr. He was selected as a second lieutenant in October 1952 after completing flight training and was promoted to brigadier general in 1979, according to Marine Corps University.

Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr. the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps officer to be promoted to brigadier general. (Marine Corps)

The Marine pilot served in the Korean War and Vietnam. He flew more than 350 combat missions.

Petersen retired as a lieutenant general in 1988, and passed away on Aug. 25, 2015.

Mahlock previously was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, where she was charged with overseeing 1,300 military and civilian personnel and $250 million in military equipment in support of U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

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