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Navy Nominates First African American Woman For Fourth Star

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Vice Adm. Michelle Howard. US Navy Photo

Vice Adm. Michelle Howard. US Navy Photo

Vice Adm. Michelle Howard has been nominated to serve the second in command of the U.S. Navy, making her the first African American female to be nominated for the rank of admiral, the service told USNI News on Friday.

Howard, if confirmed, will replace current Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), Adm. Mark E. Ferguson, for the position serving directly under CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

Ferguson, in turn, has been nominated to command the U.S. Navy’s forces in Europe, Africa and lead Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy.

Howard is a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and was the first African American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship — USS Rushmore (LSD-47) — in 1999.

She has also commanded the Amphibious Squadron Seven, Expeditionary Strike Group Two and Task Force 151 — the U.S. led multi-national anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia.

Howard is currently the Deputy CNO for Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5).

If confirmed by the Senate, Howard will be the first female four star in the Navy. In 2008 U.S. Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody became the first female officer in U.S. military history to earn a fourth star.

Howard’s nomination is following a trend from the Obama administration to place more women in higher defense positions.

Earlier this month the administration nominated Christine Fox as the acting deputy secretary of defense — the Pentagon’s number two civilian official.

  • Marcd30319

    Admiral Howard was in command of CTF-151 during the Maersk Alabama incident.

    No knock on Admiral Howard but isn’t it typical that a flag officer commands a numbered fleet before get a fourth star?

  • Aaron T. Starks

    It’s the first woman, period.

  • Linda Walker

    Carl Brashear was the first African American diver in the Navy in 1968. What in the world has taken for long for a female to be nominated??? It’s a little late!!

  • The_Usual_Suspect61

    The only thing that anybody should care about is that she is competent. Period. All I see is a Navy officer.

  • Pierre Lemare

    The real question is when was the first Franco American promoted to Admiral?

  • Andrew Klein

    We care about race and gender why? A good officer, is a good officer. Race and gender not withstanding.