Admiral Michelle Howard Becomes Highest Ranking Female in US Naval History

In a Photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Adm. Michelle Howard, center, smiles as Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, left, and Wayne Cowles, Howard's husband, put four-star shoulder boards on Howard's service white uniform during her promotion ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington Tuesday July 1, 2014. Howard is the first woman to be promoted to the rank of admiral in the history of the Navy and will assume the duties and responsibilities as the 38th Vice Chief of Naval Operations from Adm. Mark Ferguson. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Chief Mass Communication Specialist Peter D. Lawlor)
Navy Admiral, Michelle Howard, center, smiles as Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, left, and Wayne Cowles, Howard's husband, put four-star shoulder boards on her shoulders during the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.
PETER D. LAWLOR/ AP

Michelle Howard was promoted to four-star admiral yesterday, becoming the highest ranking female in the history of the United States Navy.

She was awarded four stars on her shoulders at a ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, according to the US Department of the Navy press release.

Adm. Howard became the 38th Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), replacing Adm. Mark Ferguson III the press release said.

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According to Forbes, Adm. Howard has received a couple “firsts” during her time in the Navy: She was the first African American woman to command a Naval ship (USS Rushmore) and the first African American woman to reach three stars for any branch of the military.

The Navy press release also said she received the 2011 USO Military Woman of the Year and the 2013 NCCAP Chairman’s Image Award.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, said in the press release:

“Michelle’s many trailblazing accomplishments in her 32 years of naval service are evidence of both her fortitude and commitment to excellence and integrity. I look forward to many great things to come from the Navy’s newest 4-star Admiral!”

Adm. Howard graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1982 and from the Army’s General Staff College in 1998, with a Masters in Military Arts and Sciences.

Adm. Howard may be the 2nd highest ranking officer in the US Navy, but don’t think she doesn’t have routines just like you. She told Forbes:

“I always get up from my desk and walk down to Dunkin’ Donuts, and get a large Dunkin’ Donuts with cream and sugar. It’s amazing what that walk can do for you. I run into people around the building, in the line, the Dunkin’ Donuts people know me–you learn a lot about the heartbeat of the building and what’s going on in people’s lives.”