The Navy has just announced the first (in 2014 – how sad is that?) female four-star admiral. Michelle Howard, has been promoted from vice admiral to admiral, making her the first in its 236-year history.
At Howard’s promotion ceremony held at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, she paid tribute to the nation’s service members, stating, “”willingness to step up and contribute to a noble cause in your life is a sign of true selflessness.”
“Our sailors and Marines are this legacy. They are volunteers,” she said. “And with every mission, they demonstrate our core values, values our founders would have understood — courage, honor, commitment.”
“She is also a great example of how much we as a nation and a Navy lose if we put artificial barriers in,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told a crowd of about 150 people at her ceremony. “If we don’t judge people based on their ability, based on their capability. I hope I have always been passionate about that, but I know the intensity has increased since I am the father of three daughters, and I refuse to believe that there are any ceilings for them, glass or otherwise. That they can get to wherever their abilities can take them. And with that, they and countless others in the Navy now have a wonderful role model in Michelle Howard.”
In a recent Navy Times interview, Howard talked about how there is way more opportunities for women in the military today than there were before.
“Now I think about it all these years later, the combat exclusion law was repealed and women can serve on all classes of ships, all types of aircraft. And then the last couple of years, opening up the submarines to women — it’s significant,” she said.
Howard is best known for leading Task Force 131, which oversaw counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. After a cargo ship was attacked by Somali pirates, (the story behind the movie Captain Phillips) she created the plan that eventually got Phillips back to safety.