Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, left, and Wayne Cowles, husband of Adm. Michelle Howard, put four-star shoulder boards on Howard's service white uniform during her promotion ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, July 1, 2014 PETER D. LAWLOR/U.S. NAVY

Michelle Howard becomes first female admiral in U.S. Naval history.
She receives four-star shoulder boards from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, left, and Wayne Cowles, husband of Adm. Michelle Howard, during her promotion ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, July 1, 2014
PHOTO: PETER D. LAWLOR/U.S. NAVY

ADMIRAL MICHELLE HOWARD was the first African American to command a ship in the U.S. Navy and now is the highest-ranking female officer. On July 1 she also became the first female admiral in U.S. Naval history.

From Jon Harper of Stars and Stripes:

“Her accomplishment is a direct example of a Navy that now, more than ever, reflects the nation it serves “” a nation where success is not borne of race, gender or religion, but of skill and ability,” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said during a ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, according to a Navy press release.

[…] She has also commanded Amphibious Squadron Seven from May 2004 to September 2005; Expeditionary Strike Group Two from April 2009 to July 2010; Task Force 151, a multinational counter-piracy effort, and Task Force 51, Expeditionary Forces in 2009; and the Maritime Task Force for the BALTOPS multinational exercise in 2010.

Howard served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as the chief engineer on board the USS Mount Hood ammunition ship. She was executive officer of the USS Tortuga landing dock ship while the vessel supported Operation Joint Endeavor, a peacekeeping effort in the former Republic of Yugoslavia.

..She has received several prestigious awards given to women and minorities, including: the Navy/Navy League Captain Winifred Collins award; 2011 USO Military Woman of the Year; and NAACP Chairman’s Image Award.

One can only imagine what Admiral Michelle Howard had to endure to reach the very top of U.S. Navy command.