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In the 100 years of its existence, U.S. Army base Fort Benning has never had a Black commanding officer. On Monday, Maj. Gen. Gary M. Brito changed that distinction after being named the commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, which caps his three-decade and counting career.

Brito, a native of Hyannis, Massachusetts, served as the commanding general of Fort Polk in Louisiana before obtaining his current post. Brito, a graduate of Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning,  began his military career in March 1987 after he was commissioned via ROTC as an infantry officer.

The fifty-something Brito also has a Master of Science in Human Resources degree from Troy University, and a Master of Science in Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy from the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.

In the transfer of command ceremony earlier this year when he left Fort Polk, Brito gave credit to his wife, Michelle, for enduring the many moves of his career. During his speech, Brito incorrectly assumed the family has moved 10 times during his time with the Army but she corrected him that it was actually 15.

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