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United States navy gets its first four-star female admiral

Published on Jul 2, 2014 12:53 PM
US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus (left) gives Vice-Admiral Michelle Howard (right) the oath of office before promoting her to the rank of admiral at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial on July 1, 2014 in Washington, DC. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Navy has promoted a woman to the rank of a four-star admiral for the first time in its 238-year history, a milestone for females in the American military.

In a ceremony on Tuesday, Michelle Howard was promoted to vice chief of naval operations, the number two job in the service, after having already shattered barriers in previous posts in the navy.

Howard, 54, is known for commanding a counter-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden that oversaw the 2009 rescue of a commercial cargo ship skipper, Captain Richard Phillips, who was abducted by Somali pirates.

The rescue involving Navy SEALs was later depicted in a film starring Tom Hanks.

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