A little piece of history
Howard's promotion ceremony was held Tuesday at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. At the event, Howard said that the "willingness to step up and contribute to a noble cause in your life is a sign of true selflessness."
"Our sailors and Marines are this legacy. They are volunteers," Howard said. "And with every mission, they demonstrate our core values, values our founders would have understood: courage, honor, commitment."
In 1982, Howard graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, where she was the first African-American woman to command a ship. She was also the first African-American woman in the armed forces to become a three-star officer.
Watch an ABC news report on Howard's achievements below. --Meghan DeMaria