Vice Admiral Michelle Howard has become the first black woman in the U.S. armed forces to reach the rank of a three-star officer. Howard is based in Norfolk, Virginia and graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

In 1999, Vice Admiral Howard became the first black woman to command an American warship. She is also a survivor of the September 11th attacks on the U.S. Pentagon. She was inside the building when the commercial plane hit.

In 2009, Howard led a U.S. command warship against Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea. The job became a rescue mission for Richard Phillips, the Captain of the Maersk Alabama, who was taken hostage on the ship’s lifeboat. It was up to Vice Admiral Howard to save the captain before the boat hit shore. She, along with the assistance of Navy SEALs, captured the ship, killing all three pirates and bringing the Captain out safely.

The Vice Admiral has felt discrimination as she climbed up the ladder. Some people tried to undermine her authority as she rose up the ranks and didn’t think she had a place as a commanding officer. Despite, she pressed forward, with a dedication that led to her historical appointment as a three-star officer.


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3 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Vice Admiral Michelle Howard

  1. FTSMITH on said:

    Another high profile Black American, in the rescue of the Captain of the American cargo ship. I’m sure that the media kept her part under wraps, because the Repubs wanted everyone involved, to be lily-white.

  2. Navy Chaps on said:

    Trust, everyone in the Navy knows about her and when she spoke at the Sea Services Leadership Association women’s conference every Black woman in the Navy had her surrounded when she was done trying to get a picture with her. And she stayed and took pictures with all of us and it was hundreds of us! Love that lady! I have my picture with her on my wall to keep me motivated!

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