Julius W. Becton, Jr.

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Julius Wesley Becton, Jr.
Becton.jpg
Born(1926-06-29) June 29, 1926 (age 88)
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
FEMA (1985–1989)
Years of service1944–1946
1948–1983
RankUS Army O9 shoulderboard rotated.svg Lieutenant General
Commands heldUS VII Corps SSI.pngVII Corps
1st Cavalry Division - Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.svg1st Cavalry Division
Battles/wars

World War II
Cold War

AwardsCIB2.png
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svgDistinguished Service Medal
Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit ribbon.svgLegion of Merit (2)
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star ribbon.svgBronze Star (2)
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal (2)
with V Device
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svgArmy Commendation Medal (2)
Purple Heart BAR.svgPurple Heart (2)
Cp2j.jpg
Other workDirector, Federal Emergency Management Agency
 
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Julius Wesley Becton, Jr.
Becton.jpg
Born(1926-06-29) June 29, 1926 (age 88)
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
FEMA (1985–1989)
Years of service1944–1946
1948–1983
RankUS Army O9 shoulderboard rotated.svg Lieutenant General
Commands heldUS VII Corps SSI.pngVII Corps
1st Cavalry Division - Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.svg1st Cavalry Division
Battles/wars

World War II
Cold War

AwardsCIB2.png
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svgDistinguished Service Medal
Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit ribbon.svgLegion of Merit (2)
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star ribbon.svgBronze Star (2)
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal (2)
with V Device
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svgArmy Commendation Medal (2)
Purple Heart BAR.svgPurple Heart (2)
Cp2j.jpg
Other workDirector, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Julius Wesley Becton, Jr. (born June 29, 1926) is a retired United States Army lieutenant general, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and education administrator.

Early life and education[edit]

Becton was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on June 29, 1926. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in July 1944 and graduated infantry Officer Candidate School in 1945 and served with 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.

Career[edit]

The South Korean ambassador to the United States Yang Sung-chul, Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White, and Becton at a July 2001 wreath-laying ceremony for African-American veterans of the Korean War.

Becton went on to serve in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, eventually rising to the rank of 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, and two Purple Hearts, along with the Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany.

While in the service, Becton graduated from Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University (Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics in 1960), 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, after nearly 40 years of service. However, his public service career was far from over. 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 FEMA from 1985 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan.

In his mid-60s, Becton began a new career as an education administrator. From 1989 to 1994, Becton was the fifth president of Prairie View A&M University (his alma mater). President Becton was the first graduate of Prairie View A&M University to attain flag rank in the military.

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," and 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.

Personal life[edit]

Becton and his wife Louise reside at The Fairfax in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The couple has five grown children, 10 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Decorations[edit]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
V
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Combat Infantryman Badge with one star
1st RowArmy Distinguished Service Medal
2nd RowSilver Star with Oak Leaf ClusterLegion of Merit with Oak Leaf ClusterDistinguished Flying CrossBronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster
3rd RowAir Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and "V" DeviceArmy Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf ClusterPurple Heart with Oak Leaf ClusterMeritorious Service Medal
4th RowAmerican Campaign MedalAsiatic Pacific Campaign MedalWorld War II Victory MedalArmy of Occupation Medal
5th RowNational Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf ClusterKorean Service Medal with one service starVietnam Service Medal with one service starPhilippine Independence Medal
6th RowUnited Nations Korea MedalVietnam Gallantry Cross with PalmVietnam Campaign MedalGrand Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

References[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Louis O. Giuffrida
Federal Emergency Management Agency director
1985-1989
Succeeded by
Robert H. Morris (acting)

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