Michelle Howard

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RADM Michelle Howard

Michelle Howard is a rear admiral of the United States Navy, who, as of July 2010, is Director of Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5) for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[1] In April 2009, she commanded Expeditionary Strike Group TWO and Task Force 151, a multinational naval force responsible for active counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. She flew her flag in USS Boxer (LHD-4) when the task force rescued Captain Richard Phillips of the hijacked Maersk Alabama.

In 1999, she took command of USS Rushmore (LSD-47), the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy. She commanded Amphibious Ready Group 7 during tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia and maritime security operations in the North Arabian Gulf. Prior to TF 151, she was Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy.

Early career

During the Gulf War, she was Chief Engineer of the ammunition ship USS Mount Hood (AE-29). In 1996, she was the Executive Officer of USS Tortuga (LSD-46), a Landing Ship Dock, during peacekeeping for the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, and then on a West African Training Cruise with the naval services of seven African nations.

Her first sea tours were on the submarine tender USS Hunley (AS-31) and training aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-16). On Lexington, she received the Secretary of the Navy/Navy League Captain Winifred Collins award, given for outstanding leadership to one female officer each year.