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Julius Becton Jr.
*Julius Becton Jr. was born on this date in 1926. He is a Black retired United States Army lieutenant general and education administrator.
Julius Wesley Becton Jr. was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in July 1944, graduated from infantry Officer Candidate School in 1945, and served with the 93rd Infantry Division. He separated from the Army in 1946 but returned to service after President Harry S. Truman's executive order to integrate the U.S. Armed Forces in 1948. Becton served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, eventually rising to lieutenant general in 1978 and command of VII Corps in Europe during the Cold War.
Among his decorations were the Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merit medals, two Purple Hearts, and the Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany. While in the service, Becton graduated from Prairie View A&M University (bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1960) and the University of Maryland (master's degree in economics in 1966). He also graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the National War College. Becton retired from the U.S. Army in 1983. From 1984 to 1985, he served as the Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in the United States Agency for International Development (US AID). He then served as the Director of F.E.M.A. from 1985 to 1989.
In his mid-60s, Becton began a new career as an education administrator and was the fifth president of Prairie View A&M University. In 1996, he became the Superintendent of the Washington, D.C. public school system. Becton now serves as a director to several corporations, academic institutions, and associations. His many honors include being named several times by Ebony magazine as "One of the 100 Most Influential Blacks in America," He has also received the Distinguished Service Award Association of the U.S. Army and the Boy Scouts of America's Silver Beaver Award.
His autobiography, Becton: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant, was published in 2008 by Naval Institute Press. Becton resides at The Fairfax in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Becton and his late wife, Louise, have five grown children, ten grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.