The National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA, the museum for America’s Surface Navy located aboard the historic Battleship USS Iowa Museum, today announced retired Navy Admiral Michelle Howard will receive the VADM Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. Leadership Award at the inaugural Freedom of the Seas Award Gala on October 23, 2021. The award recognizes leaders who exemplify the trailblazing, courageous service of the late U.S. Surface Navy Vice Admiral.
Admiral Howard was a trailblazing leader throughout her 35-year career in the U.S. Navy. In 1999, she assumed command of USS Rushmore to become the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy. Admiral Howard was the first African American to achieve two- and three-star rank and became the highest-ranking African American and woman in Navy history when she was promoted to Admiral and appointed Vice Chief of Naval Operations in 2014. She also became the first female four-star admiral to command operational forces when she assumed command of United States Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa.