Congratulations Vice Admiral Howard! You are blazing a path that all women in the US Navy might follow. President Obama nominated Vice Admiral Michelle Howard for a fourth star Friday, becoming the first woman in Navy history to attain the rank—assuming Senate approval—of full Admiral.She currently serves as deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans, and strategy. She has been tapped to serve as vice chief of naval operations, the Navy’s second-ranking officer, and a single step below the chief of naval operations, the service’s top officer.“Someday, sure, there’ll be a woman CNO,” she presciently told Time nearly 14 years ago, when she was commanding the USS Rushmore, an amphibious dock landing ship, out of San Diego. “It will happen of its own accord.”Howard steps up during a demanding time for the Navy, trying to pivot to the Pacific amid a funding crunch that has the service scrambling. “The best ambassador,” she likes to say, “is a warship.”Her promotion comes in the wake of the Army’s decision to tap Ann Dunwoody for four stars in 2008, and the Air Force move to promote Janet Wolfenbarger to its highest rank in 2012. Time interviewed them together last year, shortly before Dunwoody retired.According to the Pentagon’s latest demographic report, 14.5% of active-duty military personnel are women. They represent 13.5% of the Army, 16.4% of the Navy and 19% of the Air Force. Women account for only 6.8% of the Marine Corps, whose highest-ranking woman achieved three stars before retiring earlier this year.

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