In the movie Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, the commanding officer of the Navy destroyer, Bainbridge, talks to his boss–a woman, over the radio. He and his crew are trying to stop the Somali pirates who took over the cargo ship, Maersk Alabama. The voice of that woman is Admiral Michelle Howard, the first African-American woman to command a Navy ship, the USS Rushmore, a dock landing ship, on March 12, 1999.
On December 20, 2013, after Senate confirmation, Howard became the Navy’s first female four-star in its 238-year history. She also holds the distinction of being the first woman graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to be selected for Admiral and currently the highest ranking female in the U.S. military overall.
A 1982 Naval Academy graduate, Howard is also a surface warfare officer who has a well-documented and distinguished career as a naval officer.
In addition to prestigious military accomplishments, Howard was recognized by the NAACP when she received the Chairman’s Award on Feb. 1, 2013. The award is given in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service.
Why is Howard’s history important to us? Because we are a part of that history.
Howard was born to retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nick Howard and his wife, Phillipa, at the former March Air Force Base, Calif.
As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”