Michelle Howard: First Female Four-Star Admiral

During her extensive military career, U.S. Navy Admiral Michelle Howard achieved many noteworthy “firsts” in maritime transportation.

Howard, a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, was among the first female graduates of the Academy. She was also the first African-American woman to reach the rank of four-stars in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and the first African-American commander of a Naval ship. Howard is widely recognized for leading the 2009 counter-piracy task force that rescued civilian Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates – an event that inspired the movie Captain Phillips.

Throughout her career, Howard received many notable awards for her achievements, including the 2013 NAACP Image Award, 2011 USO Military Woman of the Year, and the 2008 Women of Color STEM Career Achievement Award. Howard retired from the Navy in December 2017 and currently serves on U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s commission to rename U.S. military installations that recognize Confederate military officers.

Source: African-American Transportation History: US Navy Admiral Michelle J. Howard – Transportation History


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