The Navy has made history with the promotion of Michelle Howard as its first female four-star admiral.
According to the Huffington Post, the honor comes in the 236th year of the Navy’s history.
At the ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday morning, Howard paid tribute to the nation’s service members saying their “willingness to step up and contribute to a noble cause in your life is a sign of true selflessness.”
“Our sailors and Marines are this legacy. They are volunteers,” she continued. “And with every mission, they demonstrate our core values, values our founders would have understood—courage, honor, commitment.”
Howard was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 and was the first Black woman to command a ship. She was vocal about obstacles that she has encountered along the way saying, “there were individuals that didn’t want me there or wanted to undermine what I was trying to do.”
Rear Adm. Sonny Masso spoke out about any criticism of Howard, “Do I think she’s a token female, a token African-American, or anything like that? I would say absolutely and emphatically not,” Masso said. “[With] her performance and critical jobs across the spectrum … she has brought an extraordinary amount of experience that is equal to any of her peers.”
Howard says that the changes in the military are “significant” and that there are many more opportunities for women.