She's Breaking The Navy's Glass Ceiling

by Chris Tognotti

Another day, another glass ceiling broken. The Navy made history Tuesday, by making Admiral Michelle Howard the first woman to reach four-star rank. Howard is now the second-highest ranking officer in the entire Navy, according to ABC News, which is a fancy way of saying she's more determined and works harder than we can even imagine. And at just 54 years old, and with 32 years of experience, it seems a safe bet that she's still movin' on up.

There's actually more history in the making with Howard's promotion, as she's also breaking a barrier in American racial history — she's the first black woman to achieve this rank, and as such is the highest-ranking black woman in the Navy's history.

Now, you're probably wondering what the hell took so long. Which is a very good question, and very applicable to the other branches of the armed services, as well.

The Army hadn't promoted a woman to four-star general until Ann Dunwoody received the rank in 2008, and she retired in 2013. The Air Force's highest-ranking woman, four-star General Janet Wolfenbarger, only received the promotion in 2012. And as for the Marines, well, they've still never had one. The highest ranking woman in their history was the recently retired Major General Angela Salinas — just a three-star rank.

The promotion ceremony for Howard was held, as reported by the Washington Post's Dan Lamothe, at the Arlington National Cemetery's Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

In front of a crowd of attendees, she was hailed by Naval Secretary Ray Mabus.

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. 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.

If you ever find yourself lacking a little motivation, maybe a few of her tips on leadership will help get you going. All in all, it's a great day for the Navy, and a great day for Michelle Howard.