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Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, a trailblazer, visionary leader, and unwavering supporter of Black engineers passed away on April 28.

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Lt. General Stewart was pivotal in promoting the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA). This prestigious event recognizes the significant contributions of African American professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. He believed that he could inspire the next generation of Black engineers to pursue their dreams by acknowledging and celebrating these achievements.

He was known for his mentorship and guidance, always seeking to share his experience and knowledge. In addition, his dedication to fostering a more inclusive environment in the military and the wider engineering community was instrumental in breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for countless individuals.

Throughout his 38-year career, Lt. Gen. Stewart held numerous leadership positions. He was appointed the 20th Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, becoming the first Marine Corps officer and African American to hold the position.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Stewart immigrated to the United States with his family at a young age. His passion for serving his country and his dedication to furthering the cause of Black engineers led him to a life of distinction and achievement.

He began his military career by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, where he quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a decorated officer with numerous commendations for his service.

Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart became the first Marine Corps officer to become Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Stewart also took charge of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.

Senior leaders in the defense and intelligence communities at the pinning ceremony included Michael G. Vickers, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and James R. Clapper, Director of national intelligence.

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved Stewart’s nomination to lieutenant general. He is the first African-American and the first Marine to lead the DIA.

His previous positions included senior intelligence planner for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Director of Intelligence for Marine Corps Headquarters. Stewart recently served as commanding general of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace. On Wednesday, January 21, he relinquished that position to serve as Director of the Pentagon’s foreign espionage arm and commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.

Stewart entered the Marine Corps in 1981. He received his baccalaureate degree from Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL, where he majored in history (1981). He also earned master’s degrees in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island (1994) and National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. (2002).

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