Michelle Howard: Navy’s first African American four star admiral

Adm. Michelle Howard, flanked by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, left, accepts her new rank during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. (photo courtesy of U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales)
Adm. Michelle Howard, flanked by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, left, accepts her new rank during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. (photo courtesy of U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales)

According to the White House, yesterday The U.S. Navy promoted Vice Adm. Michelle Howard to admiral, making her the first female four-star officer in the Navy’s 236 year history.

Adm. Howard, who will be the first African American woman to command a Navy ship, will become deputy chief of naval operations, plans and strategy, according to a White House spokesman.

It’s the latest achievement for Howard, who previously was the first African American woman to serve as a three-star officer in the U.S. military and in 1999, she became the first African American woman to command a Naval ship, the USS Rushmore. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said her promotion is a “representation of how far we have come, and how far she has helped bring us.”

The Army and Air Force each have named four-star female officers in the past. The first one in the military, Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody, retired in 2012, after serving as a four-star general for nearly four years.

“One of the things I’ve thought about is how different companies harness innovation and engender creativity. Some of it is how you bring together a team, when you look at the importance of diversity and creating diverse ideas,” said Howard.



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