WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Navy is getting its first black four-star admiral, 20 years after the Air Force and 14 years after the Army promoted the first blacks to the top peacetime rank. The Marine Corps has never had a four-star officer.

The Pentagon announced Monday that President Clinton has nominated Vice Adm. J. Paul Reason, 55, for promotion to admiral and assignment as commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk, Va. Reason is a native of Washington, D.C.

Clinton also nominated Rear Adm. Patricia A. Tracey for promotion to vice admiral, making her only the second woman to rise to three-star ranking in any service. The first was Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter, whose promotion and assignment as deputy chief of staff for manpower was announced two months ago.

Tracey, 45, of New York City, will be chief of naval education and training.

There has never been a female four-star in any service.

If confirmed by the Senate as expected, Reason will replace Adm. William J. Flanagan as head of Atlantic Fleet. Flanagan is considered a candidate to replace Marine Gen. John J. Sheehan as commander in chief of U.S. Atlantic Command.

Reason currently is deputy chief of naval operations for plans, policy and operations, in the Pentagon.

The first black to rise to four-star rank in the U.S. military was Air Force Gen. Daniel ``Chappie'' James, who was promoted in September 1975 and retired in 1978. The only other Air Force four-star was Gen. Bernard Randolph, who gained the promotion in August 1987 and retired three years later.

The only black four-star in the active-duty military currently is Army Gen. Johnnie E. Wilson, whose promotion took effect this month. He was the third black in the Army to reach four-star rank. The first was the late Gen. Roscoe Robinson Jr., in 1982, and the other was Gen. Colin Powell, the retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who was promoted to four stars in 1989.