General Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, also known as Alexandre Dumas. Dumas shared the status of the highest-ranking black officer in the Western world only with Toussaint Louverture (who in May 1797 became the second black general-in-chief in the French military) until 1989. Born in Saint-Domingue, Alexandre Dumas was of mixed race, the son of a white French nobleman and a black slave mother. He was born into slavery because of his mother’s status but was also born into nobility because of his father’s. His father took the boy with him to France in 1776 and had him educated.
The Marines in the photo—from the Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit—were detonating an expedient charge during a multilateral training exercise on May 14.
Expand this stunning photograph to see the too-close-for-comfort explosion’s shockwave blowing off the dust from their uniforms.