WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy has its first female four-star admiral. She is Michelle Janine Howard, promoted July 2 to the service’s highest rank. The ceremony was held at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at the Arlington National Cemetery, near the Pentagon.
She will serve as the vice chief of naval operations, which makes her the No. 2 admiral in the Navy behind Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations.
Howard has served 32 years in the Navy. She is a 1978 graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, Colorado. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982.
Among her many distinctions, Howard in 1999 became the first African-American woman to command a Navy ship.
Her appointment was another significant job being made available to blacks. In Washington, the White House said President Barack Obama will nominate a lawyer with a history in aviation and transportation safety to head the National Transportation Safety Board.
Christopher Hart joined the board as vice chairman in 2009 and became acting chairman in April. That’s when former NTSB chief Deborah Hersman resigned.
Hart has held high-level posts in the FAA, including deputy director for air traffic safety oversight and assistant administrator for system safety.
He served as deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before moving to the FAA in 1995.
Hart is a licensed pilot with commercial ratings. His great uncle is James Herman Banning, who, in 1926, became the first African American to receive a government-issued pilot’s license.