February marks Black History Month, an annual remembrance of events as well as celebrating African American culture and people who have made contributions in American History. Today, we want to honor Admiral Michelle Howard, a present-day woman who has changed history in the United States and in the U.S. Navy.
On December 13, 2013, the U.S. Senate confirmed Vice Admiral Michelle Howard’s nomination for promotion to Admiral, making her the first female four-star Admiral in the 238-year-history of the United States Navy, and the first African-American female to achieve four-star rank in the history of the military. Vice Admiral Howard graduated from U.S. Naval Academy in 1982, becoming the first female graduate of the Naval Academy selected for admiral. In 1999, she became the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy.
Her career highlights include assuming command of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 and Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer in 2009, which was the flagship for a CTF 151, a multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations. Vice Admiral Howard was the commander of the ship which responded to piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden and off the eastern coast of Somalia in 2009, from which Captain Phillips was rescued. Yes! The same Captain Phillips from which the movie is based off. You can read more about her career here.
Howard is the recipient of the Women of Color Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Career Achievement Award, Dominion Power Strong Men and Women Excellence in Leadership Award and USO Military Woman of the Year (2011). In 2013, she was honored with the “Chairman’s Award” at the 44th NAACP Image Awards.