The Defense Department’s April 10 release of slated general promotions includes a historic first for the Corps.
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.”
Two years after combat billets were opened, women still aren't in them.
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.
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.
Senior reporter Shawn Snow contributed to this report.