Female Four-Star Admiral: Michelle Howard Makes U.S. Navy History
On Tuesday, Michelle Howard became the first woman to become a four-star admiral in the Navy’s 236-year history. She was promoted to the title at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial held near the Pentagon. She will now be serving as the vice chief of naval operations.
During the ceremony, Howard said, “If you don’t believe today was a first, when I called to order four-star shoulder boards for women, they didn’t exist. You folks are seeing the first set in the United States Navy,” she said.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said that choosing Howard to serve as the vice chief of naval operations was a simple choice, as she was the best officer.
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Adm. Jonathan Greenert said, “She will bear the burden of a role model and she is ready to bear that very well. And I am very excited about that because we need lots more women in the Navy.”
Since she was a young girl, Howard aspired to become a military officer. After high school, she joined the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
Becoming a four-star admiral is not Howard’s first big success in her 36-year career. In 2006, Howard became a rear admiral lower half. She was the first female graduate of the Naval Academy to reach the rank. She was also the first in her 1982 class to reach the admiral rank.
In 2012, Howard became the first African-American woman to be promoted to a three-star rank in the U.S. armed forces. In 1999, she was the first African-American woman to command a Navy warship, the USS Rushmore, at sea.
In addition to all her achievements, Howard also played a big role in rescuing Capt. Richard Phillips who was the commanding officer of the Maersk Alabama, which was held by Somali pirates.
Vice Admiral Michelle Howard Promotion Ceremony
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