Navy makes history by promoting its first female four-star admiral

Posted at 2:43 PM, Jul 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-07 10:10:29-04

Arlington, Va.- Family and friends gathered Tuesday at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery as Michelle Howard was promoted to her new rank as admiral.

Adm. Michelle Howard is the first four-star female in Naval history to fill the position. She will take over as vice chief of naval operations and serve as the No. 2 officer in the service. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus presided over the ceremony and administered the oath of office. Mabus said, “She is a great example of how much we as a nation and a Navy lose if we put artificial barriers in.”

Howard is no stranger for first; she also made history in 1999 when she became the first African American woman to command a Naval ship. She may be best known for her Task Force 151 leadership where she oversaw the counter-piracy operations in which Capt. Richard Phillips was rescued after Somali pirates attacked MV Maersk Alabama.

In her Forbes magazine interview, Howard shared her thoughts on innovated teams and how to help employees stay committed.  “An appreciation for the lessons of the past will help you better craft the future” and “Create an environment where employees can meet personal goals and they’ll strive that much harder for the professional ones too.” Those are two of the beliefs that have shaped the leader Howard is today.

Howard told Forbes, “The sailors get me up in the morning. I am pretty darn proud to serve with this group of people, and I’m at the point in my career where I feel a heavy obligation to make the Navy a place they want to continue to stay in and become the leadership themselves. Whatever goals we set for ourselves we know we can go higher–I’m obligated to help set that legacy.”

By Shakedra Knight