WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley was confirmed by the Senate on Monday to be appointed to the rank of General and will be promoted to his next rank in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. this Saturday.
Langley’s promotion will mark the first time a Black Marine had served as a four-star general in the 246-year history of the Marine Corps. At his promoted rank, Langley will serve as the commander of U.S Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany, and will command all U.S. military forces in Africa.
A full-spectrum combatant command, AFRICOM is responsible for all U.S. Department of Defense operations, exercises, and security cooperation on the African continent, its island nations, and surrounding waters. The area of responsibility consists of 53 African states, more than 800 ethnic groups, over 1,000 languages, vast natural resources, a land mass of 11.2 million square miles (three-and-a-half times the size of the U.S.), and nearly 19,000 miles of coastland. AFRICOM began initial operations Oct. 1, 2007, and became fully operational Oct. 1, 2008.
Langley is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington. He commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in 1985 as an Artillery Officer. Langley has commanded Marines at every level from platoon to regiment, serving in Okinawa, Japan and Afghanistan.
As a General Officer, Langley has held billets including Deputy Commanding General for II Marine Expeditionary Force, Commanding General for 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Commander for Marine Forces Europe and Africa, Deputy Commanding general for Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, and Deputy Commander for Marine Forces Command and Marine Forces Northern Command.
Lt. Gen. Langley’s formal military education includes the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School and College of Naval Command and Staff. He holds multiple advanced degrees including a Master’s Degree in National Security Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
— Sources and photos: Headquarters Marine Corps and U.S. Africa Command
The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Arleigh Burke-class (Flight-IIA) destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121), May 14 in Charleston, South Carolina.
CHARLESTON, SC—Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro attended the ceremony. He began by thanking the Petersen family for their lifetime of service to the nation. “All of us join you in honoring Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr.” Del Toro also recognized the plank owners for bringing the ship to life.
The principal speaker was The Honorable Carlos Campbell, Naval aviator and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, who served alongside Petersen and relayed stories exemplifying the general’s strength and dedication. Recalling Petersen’s ethic, Campbell said “He received a frag wound, he was treated in the field, and returned to combat.”
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday also attended the ceremony. General David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, also attended the ceremony. “General Petersen was a man of many firsts,” said Berger. “There’s a saying that ships take on the characteristics of their namesakes, and if that’s true, then God help any adversary to ever confronts the Frank E. Petersen, Jr.”
Ms. Gayle Petersen, Lt. Gen. Petersen’s daughter, expressed thanks on behalf of her family and made a special recognition. “We would not be having this ceremony today if not for a gentleman named Robert Adams. When my dad was shot down in Vietnam he was rescued by Robert Adams.” Gayle continued, “I would like to thank all who had a hand in building this ship, from stem to stern.”
Guest speakers for the event included The Honorable Nancy Mace, U.S Rep. from South Carolina’s 1st District; The Honorable John Tecklenberg, Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina; Mr. George Nungesser, Vice President of Program Management, Ingalls Shipbuilding.
The ship’s sponsors are Mrs. D’Arcy Ann Neller, wife of former Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert “Bob” Neller, USMC (Ret.), and the late Dr. Alicia J. Petersen, Lt. Gen. Petersen’s wife at the time of his passing in 2015. Dr. Petersen passed away in September 2021. Both sponsors participated in the keel laying, mast stepping, and christening ceremonies.
Mrs. Neller thanked the families. “Our service members can’t do what they do without you and your love and support. To the officers and crew. A ship without a crew is like a body without blood. You will all make this ship come alive.” She continued. “The namesake of this ship was a warrior. He always went to the sound of the guns; he was always prepared and smart about the risks he took. You all need to be the same. Always be prepared. Work hard and when the time comes, you will be ready to go into the jaw of the tiger.”
During the ceremony, USS Frank E. Petersen’s commanding officer Cmdr. Daniel Hancock, reported the ship ready. Assisted by Lt. Gen. Petersen’s daughters, Gayle Petersen, Dana Petersen Moore, Lindsay Pulliam, and Monique Petersen, Mrs. Neller gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”
“Our incredible crew takes a great deal of pride in their work. I can find no better warrior namesake than General Frank E. Petersen Jr. None of us who know his story have ever forgotten that we are the heirs of that powerful legacy, and like the General, we have committed ourselves to owning the fight and carrying his torch proudly forward,” said Hancock. “I wish to express gratitude and pride. It is my greatest professional honor to serve with each of my crew. I am proud beyond measure. “
Lt. Gen. Petersen continues a family legacy of service begun by his great grandfather. Private Archibald (Archie) Charles McKinney enlisted in 1863 and served in the Mass 55th Company E during the Civil War. McKinney’s trip home included traveling aboard a steamship, disembarking at the Port of Charleston.
The future USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. honors Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (USMC Ret.). Petersen was the first black USMC aviator and the first black Marine to become a three-star general. Petersen served two combat tours, Korea in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968. He flew more than 350 combat missions and had over 4,000 hours in various fighter and attack aircraft. Petersen passed away in Aug. 2015 at the age of 83.
Retiring in 1988 after 38 years of service, Petersen’s awards included the Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit with Combat “V”; Distinguished Flying Cross; Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V;” and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
WASHINGTON ―The wait is finally over for the very end of 2020. The latest lists from Industry of top stories in tech, cyber, and STEM likely will loom much larger in the fog of 2021. Topping the charts for 2020 during National BDPA’s 45th Anniversary year were stories directly and indirectly related to COVID-19, Big Tech, Cybersecurity, and Social Unrest amidst a wider and much deeper ‘Digital Chasm‘ connecting underserved communities with their respective populations during a pandemic.
The Top 25
Most of the top 25 stories highlighted below for 2020 previously were shared with Industry, communities of color, traditionally marginalized communities, and underserved communities inside or on the covers of weekly and monthly publications.
25.Earth Day Tech Summit: BDPA and UDC Earth Day Summits go virtual due to COVID-19. [April 2020 edition of bdpatoday]
24.Digital Divide: 51,000 laptops with Internet services were provided to students in Detroit, MI. [bdpatoday.com]
23. U.S. Naval Academy: Midshipman First Class Sydney Barber becomes the first Black female to lead Brigade of Midshipmen. Upon graduation in May of 2021, MIDN Barber will receive her commission as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. [bdpatoday 11.14.20 ICYMI edition]
22. Zoom: In order to meet exponential growth and unprecedented demand, Oracle is selected as a cloud infrastructure provider for Zoom meetings. [bdpatoday 05.02.20 ICYMI edition]
21. U.S. Navy: LTJG Madeline G. Swegle becomes the U.S. Navy’s first Black female Tactical Air (TACAIR) jet pilot. [July 2020 edition of bdpatoday]
20.NIST: The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Privacy Framework Version 1.0 was released to help organizations identify and manage privacy risk for building innovative products and services while protecting individuals’ privacy. [ bdpatoday 01.18.20 ICYMI edition]
18. COVID-19: Apple and Google partner on contact-tracing technology. [bdpatoday.com]
17.Tesla: Headquarters and Gigafactory moves are heading to Austin, TX. [bdpatoday.com]
16.HPC: Lewis Hamilton wins 7th FIA Formula One championship powered by edge-to-core analytics with high-performance computing (HPC) from HPE. [bdpatoday 11.28.20 ICYMI edition]
15.COBOL: Federal, State, and Local governments call for more COBOL programmers to assist staff with stimulus, relief, and unemployment checks. [bdpatoday 04.04.20 ICYMI edition]
14. Exascale Day!: October 18th is Exascale Day. HPE, JEF, and BDPA welcomed “10 to the 18th power” or “10^18” during Exascale Day Weekend launching a series of supercomputer, HPC, and artificial intelligence (Ai) webinars. [October 2020 edition of bdpatoday]
12.BDPA2020: National BDPA’s 45th Anniversary, Annual Technology Conference, Diversity Career Fair, I.T. Showcase, Mobile App Showcase, and the annual National High School Computer Competition (HSCC) collectively go 100-percent virtual for the first time in the Association’s history. #BDPA2020 was successfully delivered across all mobile platforms. [August 2020 Special Edition of bdpatoday]
11. USASMDC: The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and BDPA Huntsville launch a new Cyber Workforce initiative with the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC.) [bdpatoday 10.31.20 ICYMI edition]
10. Digital Divide: Microsoft awards $15 million in Community Skills Grants, an investment over three years to fifty (50) Black- and African American-led nonprofits that are working to increase skill development and economic opportunities. The H.O.P.E. Project DMV in partnership with National BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter (bdpadc.org) are one of Microsoft’s grant recipients for 2020. [bdpatoday.com]
9.AFRL: In fiscal year 2021 (FY21), the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program seeks to ink new and innovative deals with emerging small businesses and HBCU mission partners to meet or exceed the Department of the Air Force’s (DAF) priorities. [bdpatoday May 2020 edition]
8. Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin’s latest rise in 2020. For the first time in its history, Bitcoin reached $20,000. According to CNBC, the world’s most-valuable virtual currency traded 5.6% higher on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, to a new price of around $20,600, taking its year-to-date gains north of 180%! [bdpatoday.com]
7. SpaceX: The launch of two NASA astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) marked the first private spaceflight company to send a crewed spacecraft into space. [bdpatoday June 2020 edition]
6. SolarWinds: Government agencies ‘hacked’ again ― stories from Federal, State, and Local agencies are still unfolding as we venture deeper into 2021. [bdpatoday.com]
5.Wall Street: Nasdaq advances “diversity” as stocks in 2020 across most major indices reached record highs. Nasdaq soon may adopt new listing rules related to board diversity and disclosures. [bdpatoday.com]
4.White House: As the daughter of two immigrants from Jamaica and India, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’ historic election breaks several barriers. “All eyes are on Georgia” as the next President of the Senate awaits Georgia’s runoff election results to determine control of the U.S. Senate. [bdpatoday November 2020 edition]
3.Big Tech vs. Uncle Sam: On October 6, 2020, bdpatoday.com featured a story about the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee’s release of findings of its more than 16-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy, especially the challenges presented by the dominance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook and their business practices. On October 20, 2020, bdpatoday.com shared a story from the Department of Justice (DOJ.) DOJ — along with eleven state Attorneys General — filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets and to remedy the competitive harms. In 2021 and the foreseeable future, “Big Tech” will have its day in Congress and the Courts from at least two branches of government. In the pipeline will be renewed battles over Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (at 47 U.S.C. § 230). “Section 230” provides immunity for content providers and website publishers from third-party content. [bdpatoday.com]
2. COVID-19: “All Hands On Deck” for scientists, engineers, physicians, logisticians, STEM technicians, and I.T. professionals. “Digital divides” and “heath desert” challenges across the globe in underserved communities are hampering vaccine distributions as 2020 fades away. [bdpatoday December 2020 edition]
Number 1. Digital Divide and Social Unrest: Black Data Matters, Black Tech Matters, Black Consumers Matter, all lives matter, every student ― #BDPAfuture ― really matters. Founded by Earl A. Pace, Jr. in Philadelphia, PA as Black Data Processing Associates, BDPA was established in 1975 to promote and share awareness across traditionally underserved or marginalized communities of new “Data Processing” careers with related technical job openings in “Computer Science” fields. Today, BDPA’s mission has not waivered.
The pandemic of 2020 coupled with civil unrest across several U.S. cities revealed widening ‘digital chasms’ with news deserts, health deserts, and food deserts in every corner of America leading up to our top stories for 2020. Systemic racism, cultural biases, social discord, oppression from deep within our society’s soul, and gerrymandered redlining transgressions still are shrewdly perpetuated today through outdated laws, discriminatory policies, algorithmic bias, obsolete technology, and dilapidated infrastructures. To this end, our lead success stories feature BDPA, its ICT Industry partners, major corporations, and local BDPA Chapter mission-partners making impact investments to help eliminate “deserts” within digitally divided communities as millions of students, teachers, and parents where forced home; many with little or no access to high speed Internet services. [bdpatoday.com]
Last October, National BDPA celebrated the life of Vivian C. Wilson, the first women elected to the Association’s chief executive role of National BDPA President.
BDPA Nation also said goodbyes in 2020 to iconic Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman;Dr. George Robert Carruthers, an inventor, physicist, engineer and space scientist; Roderick “Rod” Wesley Flakes, former President, BDPA (Boston) Mass MetroWest Chapter and engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; one of NASA’s “Hidden Figures” Katherine Johnson; U.S. Representative John Lewis; Norman Shakespeare, former Vice President of Strategic Planning, BDPA (Boston) Mass MetroWest Chapter; model and restaurateur Barbara “B” Smith; and Charles “Chuck” Yeager, World War II ace fighter pilot and U.S. Air Force quintessential test pilot.
2021 has arrived! In May 2021, bdpatoday (ISSN 1946-1429) launches its 15th year to proudly serve more I.T. technicians and cybersecurity professionals, new HBCU Chapters, new student members, and new consumers in every industry. To add your team’s success stories in tech, cyber, and STEM along with new campaigns or press releases, contact our team directly at: email@example.com – or – firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. ― The Commandant of Midshipmen announced the spring semester midshipman leadership positions, Friday, Nov. 6, which includes the selection of the Naval Academy’s first African American female brigade commander, Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber, of Lake Forest, Ill.
The brigade commander is the highest leadership position within the brigade, and is the only “six striper”– a reference to the collar insignia worn on the midshipman uniform, the rank of midshipman captain. The semester-long position is currently held by Midshipman 1st Class Ryan Chapman and is selected through an application and interview process by senior leadership from the Commandant’s staff.
The first female brigade commander was then Midshipman 1st Class Juliane Gallina from the class of 1992, who served in the position during the fall of 1991. Barber will be the sixteenth woman selected for brigade commander in the 44 years women have been attending the Naval Academy.
Barber, a graduate of Lake Forest High School in Illinois, is a mechanical engineering major and aspires to commission as a Marine Corps ground officer. As a walk-on sprinter and hurdler of the Navy Women’s Varsity Track and Field team, she has lettered all three years of competing and is a USNA record holder for the outdoor 4x400m relay. She is the co-president of the Navy Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club, secretary for the National Society of Black Engineers, and a member of the USNA Gospel Choir and Midshipman Black Studies Club. Barber served as the 13th company’s executive officer this past Plebe Summer and currently serves as the brigade’s 1st regiment executive officer.
“Earning the title of brigade commander speaks volumes, but the title itself is not nearly as significant as the opportunity it brings to lead a team in doing something I believe will be truly special,” said Barber. “I am humbled to play a small role in this momentous season of American history.”
The brigade striper selection board receives records of the top ranked first class (senior) midshipmen across the brigade for consideration for the most senior midshipman leadership positions each semester. The board’s composition is made up of the deputy commandant of midshipmen, the six battalion officers, the brigade master chief and the current brigade commander.
Records are reviewed in detail and 30 midshipmen are selected for board interviews. Each member of the board utilizes an objective assessment tool to assess each midshipman and then rank them in order. Individual board member scores are combined and a resultant consolidated ranking is generated; Barber was the top-ranked midshipman out of this semester’s board process.
“She is a catalyst for action, a visionary, a listener, a doer, and a person driven by compassion, by faith, by a fierce sense of passion and heart full of love,” said Chapman. “Sydney is the perfect person to lead the brigade.”
Barber completed a 7-week internship with the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory two summers ago, where she was instrumental in doing breakthrough research on bio-electrochemical uses for carbon nanotubes. Her research in developing legislative strategies to address education disparities in minority communities earned her selection as a 2020 Truman Scholar national finalist.
“Sydney stands out amongst her peers, for not only her exemplary record, but for her clear vision of how she intends to make the world a better place and her accompanying bias for action. We were incredibly proud to have Sydney represent the Naval Academy in her Truman Scholarship interview this year,” said Lt. Cmdr. Darby Yeager, a member of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Truman Scholarship selection committee.
Barber also initiated a STEM outreach program that leverages mentoring, literature, and service lessons to serve middle school-aged girls of color, and led a team to organize the inaugural USNA Black Female Network Breakfast to bridge the generational gap between current black midshipmen and alumni. She most recently mobilized a team of more than 180 midshipmen, faculty, and alumni to develop the Midshipman Diversity Team to promote greater diversity, inclusivity, and equity within the Brigade.
She was recently invited to speak at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Visitors, the academy’s congressional oversight committee. Barber discussed how she has negotiated her time as a midshipman in the COVID-19 environment, her activities as a midshipmen striper, leadership in Bancroft Hall, balancing activities over the summer and her experience at Leatherneck, the Marine Corps’ summer training in Quantico, Va.
Barber was also featured in a Naval Academy Founder’s Day video recently produced by the Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation, and discussed how the legacy of midshipmen who came before her is one of her motivations. [Barber can be found in video at minute marks 2:50-3:24 and 4:39-4:56.]
The announcement of next semester’s leadership team was made to the Brigade of Midshipmen during the noon meal “anchor announcement,” which is currently being held virtually due to the COVD-19 environment. Other brigade-level striper position billets announced Friday include Midshipman 1st Class Ashley Boddiford, of Oviedo, Florida., as the brigade executive officer; Midshipman 1st Class Tristan Anderson, of Ventura, California, as the brigade operations officer; Midshipman 1st Class Evelyn Berecz, of Downingtown, Pennsylvania., as the brigade training officer; Midshipman 2nd Class Taylor Forrester, of York, Pennsylvania., as the brigade sergeant major; and Midshipman 2nd Class Quin Ramos, of Lafayette, Colorado, as the brigade training sergeant.
“We are the architects of our future, and every day we earn the right to carry the torch that was once lit by the heroes, pioneers, and giants who came before us,” said Barber. “I owe everything to every person who paved the way for me, so I now pour my heart and soul into blazing the trail for the generations to come.”
Word of Friday’s announcement spread quickly this past weekend after a social media post by the first Black female to graduate from USNA, Janie Mines. Mines shared a photo of Barber and commented, “This brought me to tears. This young woman, Midshipman Sydney Barber, will be the first Black Female Brigade Commander at the U.S. Naval Academy. 40 years later. Thank you, Sydney! Love you!” Mines graduated from the academy in 1980 with the first class of women, who were inducted in 1976.
For more information about the United States Naval Academy, please visit: www.usna.edu.
This special edition Veterans Day Weekend sizzle reel salutes BDPA’s Veterans with a few highlights of key milestones and marquee events featuring senior Pentagon officials, BDPA Veterans, and mission success stories.