Col. Lorna Mahlock has been nominated to become the first female African American Brigadier General for the United States Marine Corps. She is a graduate of Marquette University, the US Army War College and Naval Postgraduate School. At the age of 49 she has already served over 30 years of service and has contributed to the ensured safety of hundreds of her fellow marines with air tactical support as a company commander, operations officer and commanding officer. Mahlock enlisted in the marine corps in 1985, following which she was commissioned as an air traffic control officer in 1991. Col. Mahlock provided deployment support in Iraq three times with Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 38, first as a company commander from November 2002 to May 2003, after which she was promoted to operations officer when she served her on her second tour from February 2004 to May 2004. Her last tour started January 2008 and concluded a year afterwards; during this tour Mahlock served as a commanding officer. Over her 33 years in the united states military Col. Mahlock has received thirteen medals and the sea service deployment weapon.
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, woman make up only 8% of the Marine Corps total personnel. Col. Mahlock if sworn in will be just one of 100 women in the U.S. Marine Corps that holds a position once unavailable to her gender. Mahlock previously was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, where she was charged with overseeing 1,300 military and civilian and $250 million in military equipment in support of U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to Mahlock there had never been a female African American general in the marine corps however, the first African American general to serve in marine corps history was marine aviator Frank E. Petersen Jr. He was chosen as a second lieutenant in October 1952 after completing flight training. Twenty-seven years later in 1979, he was promoted to brigadier general, according to marine corps university. Col. Mahlock’s next assignment will be later announced if she is confirmed by the senate, but while her processing continues, she will continue to inspire those who never thought possible obtaining general position as an African American woman.