The Navy has its first female four-star admiral. In a photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Adm. Michelle Howard smiles as Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus (left) and Wayne Cowles, Howard's husband, put four-star shoulder boards on Howard's service white uniform during her promotion ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington on Tuesday. Howard is the first woman to be promoted to the rank of admiral in the history of the Navy and will assume the duties and responsibilities as the 38th Vice Chief of Naval Operations from Adm. Mark Ferguson. She is the No. 2 admiral in the Navy behind Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations. Howard has served 32 years in the Navy. She is a 1978 graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, Colo. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982.