Julius W. Becton Jr., a three-star Army general who retired as one of the military’s highest-ranking Black officers, then led the nation’s disaster-relief agency and D.C. public schools, died Nov. 28 at a retirement home in Fairfax County. He was 97.
The cause was complications from dementia, said his daughter Joyce Best.
Raised in the Philadelphia suburbs, Gen. Becton was 17 when he volunteered for service in the still-segregated Army, viewing the military as a way out of poverty. He went on to become a decorated veteran of three wars, receiving the Silver Star in Korea and Vietnam and serving as the first Black officer to lead what was then the Army’s largest basic-training program, at Fort Dix in New Jersey.
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