Navy History: Admiral Michelle Howard Becomes First Woman to Be Awarded Four Stars

Julissa Catalan, Diversity Inc, July 3, 2014

U.S. Navy history was made on Tuesday when Admiral Michelle Howard was officially promoted to Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), making her the first woman and first Black person in the Navy’s 236 years to become a four-star admiral.

Howard’s new rank makes her the No. 2 officer in the service.


While honoring Howard at the ceremony, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus called her promotion a “representation of how far we have come, and how far she has helped bring us.”

“She is also a great example of how much we as a nation and a Navy lose if we put artificial barriers in, if we don’t judge people based on their ability, based on their capability,” Mabus added. “I hope I have always been passionate about that, but I know the intensity has increased since I am the father of three daughters, and I refuse to believe that there are any ceilings for them, glass or otherwise. That they can get to wherever their abilities can take them. And with that, they and countless others in the Navy now have a wonderful role model in Michelle Howard.”

Michelle Howard

Michelle Howard

Howard is no stranger to making history. Before this milestone, she was the first Black woman to serve as a three-star officer in the U.S. military, and was also the first woman in history to command a U.S. Navy ship–the USS Rushmore, an amphibious dock landing ship, in 1999.

The admiral–who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 and went on to receive a master’s degree in Military Arts and Sciences from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998–served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and also took part in tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia before taking command of Expeditionary Strike Group Two in April 2009.

Howard is best known for leading Combined Task Force 151–which coordinated the rescue of the captain of the cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama, Richard Phillips, from Somali pirates.



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  • NotTooSwift

    Like it or not, she seems pretty squared away to me, according to her profile.

    • Michigan Patriot

      I would agree .But we still have to buy the haystack to find the needle on all societal issues when it becomes finding qualified blacks .Ben Carson for president in 1016.

      • Carolyn Joseph


        ✪✪✪ ✪✪�✪ ✪✪✪ ✪✪�✪ ✪✪✪

    • propagandaoftruth

      Pro me-and-mine doesn’t mean anti-other. Sometimes minorities excel even with AA.

      • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

        But it most often does and AA is based on getting gains based on depriving whites. Where have you been for the past 40 years?

        • propagandaoftruth

          I guess it happens some times. I can’t prove it though.

          • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

            Try tuning in on the past 40 years of social history.

          • propagandaoftruth

            OK I’ll try that.

      • Lt. Greyman, NVA

        And they should excel. In their own Countries. Think of the talent we are depriving Africa! It’s not fair. She could lead them to a bright future instead of being here having to compete with evil Whitey.

        • propagandaoftruth

          Yeah, why not? She seems VASTLY more capable than the VAST majority of the natives. Should float to the top considering the competition.

    • Diversity Fatigue

      She got a long way on affirmative action and the military’s promote-blacks-at-all-costs attitude. Kinda’ like a community organizer becoming president.

      • coco bongo

        See Obama’s Executive Order 13583 — “Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce”

        It could not be clearer. You will promote lesser qualified blacks for the sake of diversity and inclusion, or else!

    • connorhus

      Rear Admiral Lower (One Star) to Admiral (Four Star) in seven years? That strikes me as an affirmative action path just waiting for the minimum time in grade to happen.

      It looks like a cake walk career from what I read. Designed all the way.

      • David Ashton

        All that commendable long service under fire in front-line warfare and her remarkable books on Pacific strategy obviously forced the Navy Secretary’s grudgingly racist hand.

      • tlk244182

        One star is commodore, no? Rear admiral is 2 stars, not that it matters much.

        • connorhus

          I thought they got rid of the Commodore rank and started calling them Rear Admiral lower half during the 60’s?

    • D.B. Cooper

      You seem to have forgotten Obama’s memo from his FIRST year of office. Minority officers were to be identified and groomed for promotion to higher levels. This little 5’2″-5’4″ petite quota has never seen combat, yet she can surpass all of those men who outperformed her academically, and have real combat experience? WE saw a lot of this in big city police departments for decades, now it has become common in the military. Her Russian and Chinese peers must be drooling over this.

      • CourtneyfromAlabama

        It is sickening.

    • CourtneyfromAlabama

      I don’t think women should be in these positions at all, whether 1% of them are qualified or not. There are so many reasons here that I go by: 1) having to pay for extra infrastructure to accommodate them (separate sleeping quarters and bathroom facilities), 2) men don’t work well as a group when you throw a few women into the mix, and in a profession like this, that can be a matter of life or death, 3) the sex that gives birth shouldn’t be in certain professions…etc….etc….

      • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

        Do you then think that it is fair that women can vote to go to war? The imbalance of all this goes to the basics and perhaps the Founding Fathers had a reason for disallowing the female vote?

        At 18, men still must register for a draft to theoretically be led by women who choose a career in the military because it has become a great place for AA style advancements, etc. It’s a good thing that warfare is becoming more and more a “push button” affair, but “boots on the ground” is likely to come up again in a big way, eventually.

        • CourtneyfromAlabama

          I think your second paragraph is spot on. It is actually a sad situation.

          In regards to your first paragraph, I have never said on here that women should vote, Whiteplight, so I guess I don’t understand the tone of your question. You tend to see the worst in me instead of the good, so I am not sure if I even want to bother responding to most of your post. I am not in the mood to argue.

          My argument on here has always been that women are emotionally and physically weaker than men. I state on here all the time that there are a lot of things women shouldn’t be allowed to do. But because I believe that, I also think that women shouldn’t be getting blamed for our civilization’s failings as much as they do on here. We should be upset with the people who gave women the right to vote and not the women themselves. Fair enough?

          Seriously, Whiteplight. I am not in the mood to argue. Please just take my post for what it is. We agree on enough.

      • Magician

        There is rarely an “absolutely superior” or “absolutely inferior” solution to the issues in the real world. There are definitely things that a woman can do better than a man can.

        There can be some benefits of having a woman in this position but I agree that there are more pros than cons to not having a woman for the position.

    • So CAL Snowman

      How many White men were passed over for this position so that the Navy could celebrate diversity? The only upside is that with africans like her in charge, most Naval personnel won’t know in which direction they are supposed to shoot.

      • connorhus

        Another question is which Admiral retired or what slot are they going to shift her into where she doesn’t count against the limit? I am unaware of a four star retiring recently but that doesn’t mean much it isn’t like they contact me to let me know however I think the cap is only 6 four stars for the navy and one of them is the Coast guard commander.

        At 54 she is a young admiral as well which means she has 10 years more of service with the Secretaries approval and 12 more if the President let’s her. That is almost twice as long as it took her to make Admiral from Rear Admiral.

        • Jack Whistler

          If I recall correctly all 3 and 4 star ranks in the modern military are temporary ranks which serve for a specific length of time at the end of which the person in question either retires or takes a rank reduction back to a 2-star position. Likely when her time expires they’ll move her back to 2-star and use the slot to ‘celebrate’ another minority.

          • connorhus

            Actually moving them back to two stars has not been done in a while supposedly to make room for up and comers, it used to be a common move however but for the last couple of decades all the four stars have just retired as I understand it.

            Four Stars are required to retire after they have served 38 years in service (I think) or they reach age 62. Whichever comes first. However the Secretary of the Navy can extend that to 64 and the President can extend it to 66.

            She graduated from Annapolis in 82 and they don’t count the years before graduation as service so you are correct in one regard her service years may force them to retire her in 2020. Not sure if that can be extended.

    • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

      She’s a perfect military bureaucrat, yes. But can you imagine her in Admiral Halsey’s place, or Nimitz at the Battle of Midway or WW2?

  • Diversity Fatigue

    Our diversity not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.

    ~ General George Casey, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, commenting on the Fort Hood massacre.

    This is the new military. Any loss of diversity is worse than mass murder.

    • Whirlwinder

      When we get rid of Obammy, we will get rid of his friggin pantywaist generals.

  • Dave4088

    Given the rich and illustrious history of mulatto seafarers, I would have the utmost confidence in her ability to conduct battle if I were on her ship and in the heat of battle with the Russian or Chinese navies.

    • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

      Didn’t you know that John Paul Jones was black?

      • Michael Whalen

        Whiteplight: I took that comment seriously and looked him up on Wikipedia!

        • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

          Really? You mean that you didn’t know who John Paul Jones was???

          Is it any wonder we’re in decline?

          • CourtneyfromAlabama

            I knew who he was, and I was going through most of my schooling years when Clinton was in office.

  • Cecil Broomsted

    I am still waiting for affirmative action to kick in for the NBA. Far too many black players.

    • LACountyRedneck

      Yes. That will happen when qualified White men are allowed into the LAFD and LAPD.

  • David Ashton

    “Black, to boot”. But not as soot.

  • Oh yeah, when our enemies see this Affirmative Action hire, they’re going to tremble in their boots . . . either that, or laugh their asses off. I suspect it’s going to be the latter.

  • MekongDelta69

    “Howard is best known for leading Combined Task Force 151–which coordinated the rescue of the captain of the cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama, Richard Phillips, from Somali pirates.”

    “Best known”?
    Our ‘next generation’ Teammates were “best known” (and anonymous as always) for tapping out the three ‘forever oppressed’ Somali pirates.

    Can you spell, a-f-f-i-r-m-a-t-i-v-e a-c-t-i-o-n?

  • JohnEngelman

    The purpose of the military is not to provide opportunities for women and minorities. It is to defend the United States.

    • So CAL Snowman

      The purpose of the United States military is to enforce predatory globalization and to act as the foot soldiers for the IMF, World Bank, and the international corporate empire that runs planet earth.

      • Einsatzgrenadier

        The US military is the praetorian guard of the totalitarian regime in Washington. They allow the totalitarians to use their policy of genocidal third world immigration to wipe out the historic American people, without having to risk their jobs or their lives.

    • connorhus

      I am afraid that just like NASA diversity and opportunities for Women and Minorities is exactly what the military is being mandated for. Until we get into a real standup fight the Femocrats will make sure it stays that way too.

    • Peter Connor

      Not any more…

    • MekongDelta69

      When I was in – Yes.

      Starting the last four decades (plus) and getting worse each year – No.

    • Alexandra1973

      That was true a long time ago. Today, not so much.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    U.S. Navy history was made on Tuesday when Admiral Michelle Howard was officially around.promoted to Vice Chief of Naval Operations

    Isn’t it funny how race is just a “social construct,” but when a black gets promoted for the first time to this or that position, it’s always “history making?”

    So now history is made not by winning great battles or finding a cure for this disease or that one, but by promoting a figurehead in a racial category that doesn’t exist to an affirmative action position?

    It’s the watering down of achievement to the mere act of playing musical chairs, or shuffling people around.

    Also, note how, under this new definition of “history making,” how much easier it is to “make history.” Just appoint a black, hispanic, asian or woman to any position and you are automatically “making history.”

    Eventually, this could be extended to the openly gay, disabled or any “downtrodden” category and the “history making” will be able to continue indefinitely.

    This is especially true when you add in the fact that these categories can be mixed and matched for an endless number of “history making” opportunities, such as appointing the first disabled, black, lesbian transvestite to this position or that one.

    Thus, the illusion of endless progress can be achieved while real progress actually stagnates.

  • D.B. Cooper

    Can you imagine this…thing protecting us from THEM?

    • So CAL Snowman

      The only thing I can think of is that Americans are stupid but hey we know how to pull the trigger.

    • Rhialto


  • I suspect she’ll be as competent as the average female police officer I’ve worked with – which isn’t saying much. Having retired from a long police career, I can’t remember even one female officer who was better physically and tactically than the male officers I worked alongside.

    Female officers are generally good when it comes to the non-physical aspects of the job, but if they’ve got to fight a man who is larger than themselves or who actually knows how to fight, they don’t do as well (an understatement). If they get in over their heads, they’ll often scream and run away. Don’t think so? I’ve personally witnessed it on more than one occasion.

    Also, a good many of the women are cowards; they’ll often look for excuses to avoid the nasty parts of the job. The female officers rarely, if ever, command respect from thugs and most have got no command presence about them. They’re little girls trying to do a man’s job . . . just like this little Michelle Howard. Most of the sailors under her command will roll their eyes when she walks by and our enemies will roar with laughter at how stupid Americans are.

    • CourtneyfromAlabama

      I would hate to be rescued by a female police officer if I was in a sticky situation.

    • Tim_in_Indiana

      Plus, according to Ann Coulter, female cops are much more likely to use their firearms than males because it’s their only recourse in a physical situation.

    • ncpride

      I saw a dash cam video once of a female officer who pulled over a large black guy. He nearly beat her to death right there in front of a small child he had with him. It was one of the most disturbing, violent videos I’ve ever seen. That would never have happened to a male officer. Women have NO business playing at what is clearly a mans job.

      • CourtneyfromAlabama

        Is that the story that happened out of Atlanta?

        • ncpride

          Might be, I just remember it happened several years ago. I remember talking to a local cop here in town about it, and he knew exactly what I was talking about because he said they showed that video at the Academy during his training as an example of what NOT to do. The female officer made the mistake of turning her back on the thug that literally re-arranged her face. It was a hard video to watch.

  • Tarczan

    If the Navy gets in a real slugfest with an able adversary, the AA Navy will be exposed.The naval battles with Japan were brutal, men burned alive, survivors floating in the ocean for weeks. If you want heroics, look up the Battle of Midway; and there are many others.

    It makes me sick, Obama and his fellow America hating communists spit on the memory of these brave men. I would bet that Obama has almost no knowledge of American history, particularly anything military.

    • D.B. Cooper

      Don’t be mad at the diversities. Blame the weak white men who allow them to do this, as well as the white men who keep voting for more of the same.

  • r j p

    amphibious dock landing ship?

    I floated a rubber raft down a creek, that should at least qualify me for one star.

    • connorhus

      Only if you are a Black Female.

    • Whitetrashgang

      I would give you two if you were with a fat white woman who had a tramp stamp on her leg.

  • Luca

    She looks like she has about 75% White DNA, but that’s okay, lately mulattoes are all the rage in positions of power and everyone buys the line that they are black, African or whatever.

  • So CAL Snowman

    “She is also a great example of how much we as a nation and a Navy lose
    if we put artificial barriers in, if we don’t judge people based on
    their ability, based on their capability,” Mabus added”

    Oh yes where would the Navies of majority White nations be without primitive africans leading the way? How did the Bismarck sink the HMS Hood without an african in charge? Remind me again Ray Mabus about all of those legendary african navies, and all of the contributions africans have made to modern naval warfare. This is beyond sickening. How many highly qualified White men were passed over so that we could celebrate diversity?

    • 1gravity

      Does anyone know how this is playing in the ranks, or the wardroom?

  • D.B. Cooper

    Which one doesn’t belong?

    • r j p

      Pat (Sajak) is it “The Navy Image Awards”?

    • MekongDelta69

      I’m gonna go with Number Three for a Thousand Alex…

  • r j p

    Anyone ever notice blacks in the military or leading PDs wear bars of service things larger than the bone and bead vests Amerinds are wearing in old TV shows.

  • Guest

    Why should America be surprised . . . . ?

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    ’She is also a great example of how much we as a nation and a Navy lose if we put artificial barriers in,’ Mabus told a crowd of about 150 people. ‘If we don’t judge people based on their ability, based on their capability.

    Yeah, right.

    Is this promotion due to affirmative action?

    She appears to be a two-fer, possibly a three-fer.

    This is a legitimate question because PC and AA have forever poisoned the well and a question will always remain whether a female or non-White rose on his or her own merits, leaving the more qualified and worthy destroyed.

    I have no doubt she is on the same level as Bull Halsey, Chester Nimitz, Arthur Radford and David Farragut.

    No doubt at all.

    • Whiteplight sees the Emperor N

      I’d say that question has been implied since the 1970s. It’s just been that it gets shouted down when it comes up, so it’s not been pronounced lately. But I have no doubt that a majority of people, even the ones mouthing these ridiculous platitudes, know in their honest minds that this is a superficial jester, done for appearances and current protocol.

  • italian guy

    She is not “black” though, she is clearly mulatto g.e part White…
    Real Sub-Saharan Africans look like the picture i linked.

    • Dave West

      I wish every white libtard was forced to have that picture as their computer desktop background.

      • LHathaway

        There you go, THAT will be what sends race realism to the top (sarcasm). Another brilliant idea and the sound use of superior intellect! (more sarcasm)

        Personally, I don’t even see what’s wrong with the picture and I’m far from a libtard.

    • Ringo Lennon

      Part black = damaged goods.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    As the US gets browner and more diverse, it gets weaker and more corrupt. Because of the current totalitarian regime’s iron grip on power, more blacks and third world immigrants in governmental positions is actually a good thing. While the nonwhites are too busy fighting each other for salaries and plum jobs in government — which will only worsen as the country gets browner — they’ll be easily disposed of when the time comes for whites to take their country back.

  • CallahanAuto

    Wait, Diversity Inc is the name of a real publication, one that values diversity? The title oozed sarcasm when it hit my eyes.

  • dd121

    She was appointed by Obama. He and Holder are black supremacists who hate whites and put a finger in our eye at every opportunity. I knew what kind of president he’d be when he sent the bust of Churchill, a gift of the British government, back to England. Could he have possibly been more in our collective white faces than that?

    • Dave West

      I don’t see how someone can claim to be a black supremacist with a straight face. At least white supremacists have a case.

  • 4321realist

    Good lord.
    With the ongoing deterioration of the military it won’t be long before the US military, with its social engineering program, will be the laughing stock of the world.
    Can you imagine that they’ve fallen so deeply into delusional fantasies they’re sabre rattling about a war with China and Russia?

  • meanqueen

    Well, I honestly have no idea if she merited this promotion – I’ll yield to those who have more military knowledge – but obviously she is very accomplished and that’s nice to see. On the other hand, I’m personally a bit uncomfortable with women in the military (and I’m a woman). I probably shouldn’t be, but, I guess when it comes right down to it, I’d rather have a lot of very large alpha males with greying hair in the leadership positions.

  • meanqueen

    Well, I honestly have no idea if she merited this promotion – I’ll yield to those who have more military knowledge – but obviously she is very accomplished and that’s nice to see. On the other hand, I’m personally a bit uncomfortable with women in the military (and I’m a woman). I probably shouldn’t be, but, I guess when it comes right down to it, I’d rather have a lot of very large alpha males with greying hair in the leadership positions.

  • IExpatinWarsawO

    According to her bio at Wiki; she is the daughter of a retired USAF master sergeant and his British wife Phillipa. Most likely a salt and pepper marriage with daddy being the pepper, which explains Howard being a mulatto. She is married to Wayne Cowles, USMC, retired.

    • Dave West

      “She is married to Wayne Cowles,” I wonder what her flavor is?

  • Dave West

    It amazing, since the 1970’s there have been small numbers of affirmative action hires at certain levels of the federal government. Since flaming Kenyan took office there has all the sudden been a title wave of “well-qualified” blacks and hispanics given high level jobs.

  • gregCall

    I’m certain she’s completely competent and not just an affirmative action appointee. I mean the military wouldn’t put “diversity” above competence and endanger all the service men under her command, would they?

  • July 10th, 2024
    The Pentagon

    a staffer reporting to Secretary of the Navy Toussaint Louverture.

    “Sir, some extremely bad news. We’ve just been informed that two of our Megacarriers in the West Indian Ocean have been hit by Chinese hypersonic anti-ship-missiles.”

    The secretary replied without hestitation but with gravity. “Well, son, that’s bad news but we were kinda specting that, seeing hows those carriers wus outclassed and outgunned by that fancy stuff the Chinks now field. Xactly how bad is it?”

    “Well the Hillary Clinton was sunk and the Barack Obama is nearly dead in the water and flight ops are definitely out.”

    “Shoot, shame about the Clinton, but I’m glad the Bama’s still afloat. Did you know I got my 1st step up in this here Navy, serving as a young staffer for the President that that ship’s named fer?”

    “I’m afraid it’s worse sir. See it seems that the Clinton sunk because the black crew abandoned ship quickly, without closing many of the watertight doors.”

    “You mean the black crew of the Clinton is just being left to float in that sea?”

    “Actually yes, well actually both crews abandoned ship and are floating in the ocean. Only the Bama didn’t sink. Her officers, almost all white, stayed aboard and got some functioning back to the ship. She can barely move but needs a power tap from the 2 Hydrofoil Flying Cruisers: Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner to make it out of the area.”

    “Well what’s the problem with that?”

    “Sir, the area is flooded with life rafts holding the crews from both Megacarriers. Fleet Ops speculates that in approximately 39 and ½ minutes a Chinese hypervelocity concussion missile will turn that whole piece of ocean into foam.”

    Secretary: “You mean eliminating both black crews as we save the hulk of the ‘Bama with her all white officers?”

    “Staffer: Yes sir, but if we use those 2 Flying Cruisers to do rescue work, pulling the crews outta the water, Fleet Ops thinks the Chinks, I mean Chinese, will take this token and send a hypervelocity missile into the Obama, sinking it of course, but won’t take any further action against our crews in the water.”

    Secretary “Well at least our diversity will be preserved! Do we have anything concrete
    from the Chinks that they’ll do this?”

    Staffer: “Nosir they are their usual inscrutable selves, but this is what Fleet Ops thinks.”

    Secretary: “Well let’s do it. Save the crews. I can take it if we lose the ‘Bama, at least I
    can sleep at night knowing we did the right thing. Sides, I think we’ve too many of them
    arrogant honky white SOB’s in the officer corps. Time to make this here Navy’s a whole lot more diversified!”

  • Alex Dihes

    I do not agree! She must be made a AA* and PC* 10 (ten at least) star Super Admiral. Glory for her. Alleluia for us.
    *AA – aff. action
    *PC – polit. correct.

  • HJ11

    Affirmative action. She is not the best and brightest.

  • HJ11

    Look, the military bosses are forced to do these sort of PR things. Oftentimes, it’ll be to reward some non-Whie for bravery, over questionable facts, just because the politicians want to make the public think a certain way.

    Watch as an openly gay gets a high promotion and then a transgender.

    It’s all political theater, folks. Don’t buy it. And, if you’re in the military just pray that you aren’t sent into combat by one of these PR promotion phonies.

    • Good points, but why would any self-respecting white man or white woman want to join the U.S. military today?

      • Bobbala

        I think that is the plan.

  • teaisstronger

    Looks like Affirmative Action really works. If Obama hadn’t been President she would still be a JGO.

  • DiversityIsDeath

    Glorified social worker.

  • DiversityIsDeath

    Sure this is affirmative action fantasy nonsense, and this black woman is not the 4-star equal of Nimitz and Halsey, but I have mixed feelings about this issue of Whites serving in the military nowadays. Look, I do not want our White European Christian men engaged in stupid, immoral wars against Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and maybe Iran next. (I have come to believe that fighting against Germany may have been a mistake too.) I want to weep when I see images of our White men (and women) returning with missing limbs, brain trauma, psych issues. For WHAT? For WHO? I say let the minorities go fight for the chosen ones, the race traitoring white elites, the bankers, the corporations. Let non-white Americans be “military heroes” and get the “glory” for these invasions, pfft.