Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Honoring one of the Navy's Most Highly Professional Leaders, Vice Admiral Michelle Howard reported, Aurora native and Navy leader receives NAACP Image Award.  Navy Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, a 1978 graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, was honored during an NBC television special Friday night, "The 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards."

Howard, deputy commander of the United States Fleet Forces Command, received the Chairman's Award, selected by the leader of the NAACP board of directors, Roslyn M. Brock, as a leader who has promoted diversity and community involvement in his or her profession.

In August, Howard became the first African-American woman promoted to a three-star rank in the U.S. armed forces.

She also was the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy warship, the first female graduate of the Naval Academy to achieve the rank of rear admiral and the first African-American woman to command an expeditionary strike group at sea.

In a statement on the NAACP website, Howard said, "I am sincerely touched and honored that the NAACP would choose to recognize me with the Chairman's Award. I have been privileged to serve with our nation's sons and daughters who remain my greatest inspiration."

Before her promotion last year, Howard was as chief of staff to the director for strategic plans and policy for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

Last August, she credited Chuck Woodward, her sociology teacher at Gateway High, as a major influence on her professional life."

Monday, he called Howard, "Dynamic, funny, challenging and exciting."

"She was the kind of student teachers dream about and always hope will be in their class," he said in an e-mail.

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