Vice Adm.

Michelle Janine Howard, center, has her shoulder boards replaced by her husband, Wayne Cowles and her sister, Lisa Teitleman, during an Aug. 24, 2012 promotion ceremony at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia. Howard is the first AfricanAmerican woman to receive a third star in flag rank and became deputy commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command and commander of Task Force 20. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rafael Martie)

First African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy warship First female graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to achieve rank of rear admiral First African-American woman to command an Expeditionary Strike Group at sea

Waves of Change: Lifelong "Trail Blazer" Makes Naval History Again in 2012
The first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy warship, Vice Admiral Michelle Janine Howard now is first AfricanAmerican woman to receive a third star
(Norfolk, Virginia) - In the fall of 2012 Vice Admiral Michelle Janine Howard became the first AfricanAmerican woman to receive a third star in flag rank and serves as deputy commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command and commander of Task Force (as of Dec. 2012). Prior duties entrusted to Howard include chief of staff to the director for Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, Joint Staff (August 2010 to July 2012). In 1978, Howard enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy – her first stop in a round-the-world voyage in a

career that would make history in port and on the seas. Howard became "the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy warship, the first female graduate of the Naval Academy to achieve the rank of rear admiral, and the first African-American woman to command an Expeditionary Strike Group at sea." "When you look at where society was at the time, this was before there was even a woman on the Supreme Court, before Sally Ride was an astronaut, and it was also only five or six years after we became an all volunteer force in the military, so our society was still going through a lot of changes, Howard told Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Phil Beaufort, U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs. With a self-deprecating laugh Howard said that the Academy wasn't easy, Navy reporter Beaufort wrote in his August 2012 story. In retrospect, she's realized that expecting a smooth sail wouldn't have been very realistic, Beaufort wrote. Credited with putting Howard's experiences in context was Wesley Brown - the first black Naval Academy graduate in 1949. They met when Howard was a lieutenant commander. "He talked about how great this country is and how much it has changed; that as the country changed, people changed," Howard said. "Even though he was the only African-American to attend Annapolis in the 1940s, when he attended reunions he was a member of that class," Howard said. "What I really learned from him was that he was a man who could forgive and go on with his life. There is a lot of strength in that." Howard is among the 17 people who were inducted into the 2010 Career Communications Groups (CCG) Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2009, Howard assumed command of Navy Counter-Piracy Task Force. As the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, Howard was in charge of several U.S. 5th Fleet task forces known as Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, an international maritime coalition created to disrupt, deter and thwart piracy. Among Howard's duties was "bridging cultural and international gaps," according to Navy press coverage of her appointment aboard the USS Boxer (LHD 4) in a story written by John Fage, Expeditionary Strike Group 2 Public Affairs. "My top priority right now is to deter piracy here in the Gulf of Aden," said Howard, adding she would "continue the extensive international coordination Admiral Terence McKnight started." "That 's the true key to defeating piracy," Howard said. "Piracy is a problem that affects all maritime nations and requires an international solution." Vice Adm. Howard has been honored many times for her naval service (see links to ceremonies and bios below).

The Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, Rear Adm. Howard was honored in Oct. 2008 as a 2008 Women of Color Career Achievement Winner. Howard was recognized her career-long achievement in technology and her commitment to the Navy. Everyone "at the award gala stood up and applauded for Rear Adm. Michelle Howard," said Lt. Kathryn Wijnaldum, Navy Recruiting Region West. "It made me very proud to wear the same uniform as she does." Named a 2008 Technology All-Star, Howard was honored in Woman of Color magazine published by CCG. Howard has "blazed-trails" her entire life including becoming the first female Naval officer named as a combatant. In 1996 Howard was the number two in command of the amphibious ship USS TORTUGA while on a Mediterranean deployment that "was unique in several ways," she said in a July 2007 speech titled "Federally Employed Women National Training Program." As the Executive Officer of one of four ships in the Amphibious Readiness Group, Howard was the highest ranking woman on a ship that was (uncommon at the time) "mixed-gender." "The combat exclusion law had been repealed in December 1993, and the Navy was in the early stages of integrating combatants," Howard said in her speech. "I was the first woman assigned to a combatant as XO," Howard stated adding about "10 percent of the crew was female." www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=69192

Rear Adm. Michelle Howard, a 2008 Women of Color Career Achievement Award winner, was among the 17 people inducted into the 2010 CCG Alumni Hall of Fame www.public.navy.mil/surfor/Pages/SurfaceWarfareOfficersHonoredatNationalWomenofColorTechnolo gyConference.aspx www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=40618

Rear Adm. Michelle Howard Assumes Command of Counter-Piracy Task Force CTF 151, ESG 2 (Sunday, April 5, 2009) www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=394 www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/bio.asp?bioID=394

Earlier bios of Michelle Howard: www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=356 www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/bio.asp?bioID=356 www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=69192 www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=69194 "Office of Naval Intelligence Celebrates Women's History Month" (3/29/2012) by Office of Naval Intelligence Public Affairs www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=66162

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