#Michelle J. Howard has achieved many first in the U. S Navy. She is the first African-American woman to command a U.S Navy ship, the USS Rushmore. She is also the first admiral selected from the U.S Naval Academy class of 1982 and the first female graduate of the U.S Naval Academy selected for flag rank. Howard was born on April 30, 1960. She is the daughter of former U.S. Air Force master sergeant Nick Howard and wife Phillipa. Howard graduated from Gateway High School in Aurora, Colorado in 1978. She later attended the U.S Army’s Command, and General Staff College in 1998 where she received a Masters in Military Arts and Sciences.
Howard encountered difficult times while in the Navy, there were times people would undermine what she was trying to do, and there were people who just didn’t want her in the services. However, Howard never let that stop her from accomplishing what she set out to do.
On July 1, 2014, Howard received yet another high achievement, she became the first woman to become a four-star admiral. She began her post the same day as Vice Chief of Naval Operations, and she is the first African-American to hold the post as well. Howard has also received several recognitions, and awards. In 2008, she received the Women of Color Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Career Achievement Award. She has also been honored with the “Chairman’s Award” at the 44th NAACP Image Awards.