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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Eric Fanning to become the next secretary of the Army, the White House said on Friday, paving the way for the first openly gay leader of a military service branch in U.S. history.

Fanning is currently serving as acting Army undersecretary, and previously worked as Air Force undersecretary and chief of staff to U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Jeff Mason; Editing by Eric Beech)

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives on Marine One at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit wounded service members who are being treated at the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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