The Washington Post

The Navy appoints its first four-star female admiral

In a ceremony on Tuesday, Vice Adm. Michelle Howard became the first female four-star admiral in the history of the Navy. (Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

Our colleague Dan Lamothe, writing for Checkpoint, has this historic news.

The ceremony included a bit of comedy, but there was no denying the significance: For the first time in its history, the Navy promoted a woman on Tuesday to become a four-star admiral.

Surrounded by friends, family and peers, Adm. Michelle J. Howard was promoted to her new rank at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. She’ll take over as the vice chief of naval operations, the No. 2 officer in the service. She is not only the first woman to hold the job, but the first African-American.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, left, promotes Adm. Michelle Howard to her new rank on Tuesday with the help of her husband, Wayne Cowles. Howard is the first woman in the history of the Navy to be a four-star officer. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales)

It’s the latest achievement for Howard, who previously was the first African-American woman to serve as a three-star officer in the U.S. military and command a U.S. Navy ship. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said her promotion is a “representation of  how far we have come, and how far she has helped bring us.”

Read the full story.

Vanessa Williams is a staff writer at The Post. Contact her at



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