One Marine will make Corps history by becoming the first Black woman to serve as a two-star general in the service.

President Joe Biden appointed Brig. Gen. Lorna Mahlock to the grade of major general, the Pentagon announced on Dec. 6, and the Senate confirmed her Thursday. Mahlock is the deputy director of cybersecurity for combat support at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Mahlock immigrated to Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 17 in 1985, according to a biography written by Marquette University. She enlisted in the Marine Corps three months later and became an air traffic controller.

She received her commission through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program in December 1991 after graduating from Marquette, according to a biography by the Women Marines Association. She has amassed multiple higher degrees, including two master’s degrees in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College and the Naval Postgraduate School, Marine Corps Times previously reported.

Mahlock was nominated to the grade of brigadier general in 2018, and she became the first Black woman to achieve that rank.

She has since served as the Marine Corps’ chief information officer and director of command, control, communications and computers.

One of the smallest military branches, the Marine Corps has the lowest percentage of women among its troops at 9%. Only three women in the Corps’ history have picked up the rank of lieutenant general, and all of them are retired.

Gen. Michael Langley, now head of U.S. Africa Command, in August became the first Black Marine four-star general.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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