Marines in Europe and Africa get new boss
STUTTGART, Germany — A two-star general took command Thursday of Marines in Africa and Europe, where the service has expanded its mission in recent years with a heavy focus on security in the Arctic region.
Maj. Gen. Tracy W. King, who previously served as director of expeditionary warfare in the office of the chief of naval operations, will lead Marines from his headquarters near Stuttgart.
“The commandant of the Marine Corps has clearly articulated a vision of how our service will confront the security challenges of the 21st century,” King said in a statement. “In close partnership with the Navy, we will work to implement that vision here, making us a more lethal and dynamic force, better able to support our allies and partners in this theater.”
King replaces Maj. Gen. Michael Langley, who arrived in Germany in November to command Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa.
Langley will return to his previous post as deputy commander of Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, in Norfolk, Va., a position that the Corps has used in the past to fill other command vacancies as the need arises.
Langley filled in after the previous commander, Maj. Gen. Stephen Neary, was relieved in October in connection with allegations he used a racial slur in front of Marines.
Langley, who was the first black general to command the Marine mission in Europe and Africa, said he was “humbled by the tremendous impact we’ve made in support of our allies and partners.”
“Regardless of the challenge, I have witnessed our Marines consistently rise to the occasion and represent our command with distinction,” Langley said in a statement.
A key mission for King will be moving forward with training in Norway. In April, the U.S. and Norway signed a revised defense cooperation agreement that will allow the U.S. to build facilities at three airfields and one naval base in the country.
Over the last four years, the Marine Corps also has expanded troop rotations to Norway, allowing Marines to gain cold weather experience in the Arctic, a region where the Russian military has stepped up its operations.