*The U.S. Navy has promoted Vice Adm. Michelle Howard to admiral, making her the first female four-star officer in the Navy’s 236-year-history to receive the service’s highest rank.
Howard was also the first African-American woman to command a Navy ship.
She is perhaps best known for leading Task Force 151, which saved merchant marine Captain Richard Phillips when he was captured by Somali pirates in April 2009.
According to her online Navy bio, Howard will become vice chief of naval operations, which makes her the No. 2 admiral in the Navy behind Gen. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations.
“Her historic career is taking a next step today,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
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, and made history when she commanded the amphibious dock landing ship Rushmore in 1999.