Lieutenant General Julius Wesley Becton, Jr., USA (ret.) is also the former director of FEMA and
an education administrator. Julius Becton joined the Army Air Corps in July 1944 and graduated infantry Officer Candidate
School in 1945. During his career in the Army, he served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, eventually
rising to the rank of lieutenant general. Among his decorations were the Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, two
Legion of Merit medals, and two Purple Hearts. Lieutenant General Julius Wesley Becton completed his autobiography: Becton:
Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant.
According to the book description of Becton: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public
Servant, “This autobiography, published in cooperation with the Association of the United States Army
(AUSA), highlights Lt. Gen. Becton's remarkable career and reveals the influences that contributed to his success. Becton's
autobiography reflects on his youth in the suburban Philadelphia area, his parental and family influences, and his almost
forty years of service in the U.S. Army and in subsequent civilian appointments. His devotion to leadership, education, service,
race, and his spiritual upbringing are all central themes in the book.
After finishing high school, Becton entered a segregated Army at age eighteen and over nearly forty
years rose to the rank of lieutenant general. Two years after enlisting in the Army Air Corps Enlisted Reserve, he was commissioned
a second lieutenant of infantry and subsequently fought with distinction in the Korean War. Integrated into the Regular Army
in 1951, he went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics and economics and held combat commands in the
101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He commanded the legendary 1st Cavalry Division in 1975-76. Promoted to lieutenant general
in 1978, he served as commanding general of the U.S. VII Corps in Germany and deputy commander of Training and Doctrine Command
and the Army Inspector of Training before retiring in 1983.
Following retirement he entered fields of international disaster assistance, emergency management,
and education. Becton joined the Reagan administration in 1984 as Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for
the Agency for International Development. From 1985 to 1989 he was Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Over
the next six years, he was the COO of American Coastal Industries and president of Prairie View A&M University. His final
civilian post was as CEO/Superintendent of public schools in the District of Columbia.
Becton was listed several times by Ebony magazine as 'One of the 100 Most Influential
Blacks in America.' In 2007 he was selected to receive the George Catlett Marshall Medal, the highest award presented
by the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) for being a 'soldier, combat commander, administrator, educator, public servant,
government leader, and role model.”