Navy Promotes First African-American Woman Four-Star

Navy Promotes First African-American Woman Four-Star

Vice Adm. Michelle Janine Howard added Tuesday to the long list of firsts in her naval career — first female four-star Admiral in the 238-year history of the Navy.

“There’s no news here today,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus joked in promoting Howard to admiral. The Navy had simply “picked the best officer to be the VCNO,” or Vice Chief of Naval Operations and No. 2 officer in the Navy, Mabus said.

“Her accomplishment is a direct example of a Navy that now, more than ever, reflects the nation it serves,” Mabus said at the promotion ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.


“She is also a great example of how much we as a nation and a Navy lose if we put artificial barriers in,” Mabus said.

In her remarks, Howard said that in preparing for the promotion ceremony she was told that “four-star shoulder boards for women didn’t exist.”

The Army and the Air Force have previously promoted women to four-star rank. The first female four-star, Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody, retired in 2012.

Howard was also the first African-American woman to rise to three-star rank in the active-duty military.

The 54-year-old Howard, a 32-year Navy veteran, currently is the Deputy CNO for Operations, Plans, and Strategy. She will replace Adm. Mark Ferguson III as the 38th Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO).

Ferguson is scheduled later this month to relieve Adm. Bruce Clingan as commander, Allied Joint Force Command, Naples, and commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe.

Howard graduated from the Naval Academy in 1982 and became the first African-American woman to command a Navy ship in 1999 when she came aboard the dock landing ship Rushmore.

In April 2009, she commanded Task Force 151, a multi-national counter-piracy effort off the Horn of Africa.

Three days after coming aboard her flagship, the amphibious assault ship Boxer, Somali pirates attacked the cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama and captured its top officer, Capt. Richard Phillips.

Howard helped devise a plan to rescue Phillips and dispatched the destroyer Bainbridge to assist. Navy SEAL snipers were brought aboard the Bainbridge and later opened fire on a small lifeboat carrying Phillips and three pirates, killing the pirates and freeing Phillips.

Howard later told “Power Players,” an outlet of ABC News and Yahoo News, that “we found out that the life raft was heading to the Somali coast, so very quickly the focus of the mission became — don’t let the life raft touch land.”

“We wanted to bring Capt. Phillips back safely to the U.S., but we figured out that if that life raft got ashore before we could rescue him, that would probably be the last we’d see of him,” Howard said.

Tags:

Join the Conversation

OUTSTANDING! CONGRATULATIONS!

Bravo Zulu Admiral Howard. I had the opportunity to serve with her on the USS Flint. Even then it was easy to see she was destined to achieve great things. Her boundless patience and tutelage made all around her better sailors. Brilliant and incredibly hard working she has earned her success. I can think of no one more deserving than Admiral Michelle Howard.

This is a proud moment 4 our great nation! Lets all “branches” salute & wish the Admiral “smooth sailing” & good luck!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS, ViceADMIRAL HOWARD!!!!! You are a HERO!! You are a woman for AMERICAN women, and girls, of ANY RACE!!! THANK YOU for service!! GOD BLES YOU, in all you do!!!

Bravo Zulu Admiral Howard,fair weather and smooth seas

Congrats Admiral..cheers.!!

Just another puppet.

” Keep up the “Good Work” ViceAdmira Howard.……Right On.….Good Luck with your new job…

Congratulations Admiral Howard!!!

Man , it’s really nice that you’re all so happy about this. Smooth sailing Admiral.

Considering the vitriol extended to SECAF in defensetech I am indeed surprised as well.

She has a good mix of ship command and task force experience, plus shore duties. It’s not that she lacks experience in any particular part of the establishment.

Her promotion is historically significant. However, with respect to her background and experiences, I cannot see justification for this promotion. There are hundreds of other Naval officers with experience that would cause her’s to drastically fail in comparison. Thank God for support officers and “vice” positions. However, you never know when you have tripped across a brilliant leader and I wish her the best.

There shouldn’t be any confusion at all.

The Admiral has served her country with distinction.

The SECAF is a ladder climbing, careerist, political appointee with zero miltary experience, and as such is hardly qualified to make important defense decisions, as evidenced by her apparent lack of appreciation for a useful weapon system like the A-10. That is not going to win her a lot friends on boards like this one or defensetech, and nobody’s going to have any sympathy regarding her health after taking an F-16 joyride at taxpayer’s expense.

Fair winds and following seas Admiral!!!

Don’t hate! LOL!!! Of course some man would make such a senseless comment!!!

I feel like anyone with a political appointment regardless of military experience gets grilled more aggressively. Shinseki at the VA, or Hagel as SecDef. Though historically SecDefs seem to get pilloried more often than not. Cohen under Clinton, Rumsfeld under Bush, Gates under Bush and Obama, Hagel; Cheney under Bush Senior…

I am not agreeing or disagreeing but…

At what point did he point that she got the promotion due to her race or gender? You are in fact the first to point that out.

Based on performance?

That is outstanding! Its about time the military starts promoting female 4 stars!

I WANT TO LET IT BE KNOWN AS A RETIREE FOR (43)YRS. NOW I WANT IT SAID AND KNOWN THAT THIS PROMOTION HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH “RACE” BUT QUALIFICATIONS SHE JUST HAPPENS TO BE BLACK. I AM VERY PROUD AND FILLED WITH JOY THAT AMERICA CAN FULFILLED IT’S “CREED THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL,LADIES TOO..GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!

And the reason for mentioning she is “African-American” is?

It’s apparent that “Race” was made a Part of the News???????

BZ Admiral Howard… clearly the glass ceiling is very thick in the USN, if one considers some of the comments … how many men have been promoted through the good-old-boys networks, not due to merit but because of who they knew?

Congratulations to Admiral Howard, The first African-American female four-star Admiral in the 238-year history of the Navy. Now that is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my years in the Marines Corps and working for the Department of the Navy for the past 35 years. Admiral Howard your are a role model to many and an inspirations that hardwork and dedication you can achived great things in life. God Bless you and your family.

*required

NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2014 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.