Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rear Adm. Michelle Howard Assumes Command of Counter-Piracy Task Force CTF 151, ESG 2

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GULF OF ADEN (April 5, 2009) Rear Adm. Terence McKnight shakes hands with Rear Adm. Michelle Howard after she assumed command of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 and Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). McKnight served as Commander, ESG 2 since November, 2007 and Commander, CTF 151 since January, 2009. Boxer is the flagship for CTF 151. CTF 151 is a multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) area of responsibility to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John J. Siller.)

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GULF OF ADEN (Apr. 5, 2009) - Rear Adm. Michelle Howard relieves Rear Adm. Terence McKnight as commander of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 and Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4), April 5. Boxer is the flagship for CTF 151. CTF 151 is a multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) area of responsibility to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore.)

Dispatches from the Front:
NOTE: Here is a related news item of interest:

The U.S. Navy will christen its newest Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Gravely on May 16, 2009.

Vice Adm. Gravely was the first African-American to be selected to the rank of Admiral and the first to command a Navy warship. He died in 2004.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/od82bm
USS BOXER, At Sea, April 5, 2009 -- Rear Adm. Michelle Howard assumed command of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 during a ceremony held on board USS Boxer (LHD 4) today and relieved Rear Adm. Terence McKnight, ESG 2’s commander since November 2007.

In addition to relieving McKnight as the ESG 2 commander, Howard assumes command of several U.S. 5th Fleet task forces, including Combined Task Force (CTF) 51 and 59, as well as CTF 151, an international maritime coalition created to disrupt, deter and thwart piracy.

“I’m very fortunate to follow behind Admiral McKnight,” said Howard. “He and the staff have done a terrific job in standing up CTF 151. His leadership will be missed on the waterfront.”

As commander of ESG 2, McKnight was responsible for all of the amphibious assets based on the U.S. East Coast and upon deploying to the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations in January 2009, he assumed command of CTF 151.

McKnight said commanding ESG 2 has been an incredible experience and one he will never forget.

“This has definitely been one of the more exciting assignments of my career,” he said. “Not only did I never think I’d be sailing the ocean chasing pirates, I certainly never thought I’d be doing it alongside the navies of so many different countries, especially Russia and China.”

“My time at ESG 2 has been amazing,” McKnight continued. “In addition to all the exercises and contingencies we were involved with before we deployed, I was privileged enough to have hosted a Great White Fleet event in New York City along with my staff and we also played a big part in the grand re-opening of the Intrepid museum during Veterans Day Weekend 2008. Those two events will certainly remain cherished memories when I look back at my career.”

As the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, Howard said she understands the magnitude of bridging cultural and international gaps.

“ESG 2 has executed the three missions they’re responsible for without missing a beat,” she said. “My top priority right now is to deter piracy here in the Gulf of Aden. I want to continue the extensive international coordination Admiral McKnight started. That’s the true key to defeating piracy. Piracy is a problem that affects all maritime nations and requires an international solution. I’m looking forward to working with naval professionals from around the world on this vital mission.”

CTF 151 is a multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the CMF area of responsibility to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations.

Howard previously served as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy.

(Report by Lt. John Fage, Expeditionary Strike Group 2 Public Affairs.)

NOTE: Updated April 24, with two images.

U.S. Navy Bio: Rear Admiral Michelle Howard

NOTE: Story Update, May 3, 2009: Turkish Navy Assumes Command of Counterpiracy Task Force CTF 151
During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Caner Bener relieved Rear Adm. Michelle Howard as commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151. Howard was unable to attend the ceremony as she was conducting operations at sea.


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46 Comments:

Blogger STLGCP said...

I am so proud of you. The first black woman commanding a Navy vessel, un heard of. I commend you for all your efforts. Thank you for working so hard to help this country.

8:13 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The talent, perseverance, level-headed judgment and assurance is necessarily demanded of anyone at the highest levels of military command. I congratulate a leader who can assume sure direction in the face of such urgency and diplomatic sensitivity. That she is the first African American woman to do so (it's 2009!) is both sad and cause to celebrate.
She was in the position, but why has it taken until now? That the commander-in-chief is a black man and in whom the country and the world has placed its trust and safekeeping is a signal moment in the history of black survival and achievement. And I'm glad--it is a huge step forward and is the major hurdle needing to have been broken down in America's history. A long line of "firsts" but in no way the last. Congratulations and much success to you, Admiral Howard.

12:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Ralph Browne said...

If the Rear Admiral has the occasion to visit Boston, MA we most sincerely would lkije to welcome and congratulate her.

Thank you,

Ralph F. Browne, Jr,
President. Org. of AAV
617 288 0722

12:53 PM EDT  
Blogger Steven Moyer said...

Blog admin here:

Comment moderation is enabled only for articles over seven days old to help tame comment spam.

Comment moderation is off by default for new articles.

Thanks for reading.

Respectfully,
Steve Moyer

1:01 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that she was a ship doctor. She was not recognized at all. Why are some of us not good enough to be recognized for who and what we are? We are still being left out of the equation. Why not give the lady what she is due?

9:31 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the interest of clarity, she is not in command of the ship. She is in command of the strike group. The Navy does not place Flag Officers in command of individual units. The actual CO of the Boxer is likely a CAPT (Colonel equivalent). Still, she has attained a high level of command. I just don't want people to get the facts wrong when spreading the word about her. The first racist that gets the word on this will attack the credibility on the most minor detail.

10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Steven Moyer said...

Blog admin here:

Details of the admiral's command are fully discussed within the context of the article.

Also of interest is the recent U.S. Navy announcement that the Turkish navy will assume command of counter-piracy task force CTF 151 on May 5, 2009.

URL: http://tinyurl.com/dykvpp

10:58 AM EDT  
Anonymous Elizabeth Teagle said...

I am proud of you. You have made the country very proud of the great work that you do in your position. Thank you and continue to be yourself doing this important work for our country.

5:38 PM EDT  
Anonymous Alicia V. Guyton said...

Admiral Howard, you are truly a part of history we all as African American women and people are proud . You are respected and congratulated on your successful career in the Navy. We will be highlighting you from now on for Women's History and Black history months.If you come to DC in the future, we would love to have you at the VA Medical Center.

10:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Donnad3713 said...

Adm. Howard you are awesome! When I saw you on the news with the Capt. of the Maersk, I wondered who you were. Why hasn't the media given you and your sharp shooters the recognition you deserve? It would be so wonderful for all Americans to know how great you are, how great all of us are that we as a country have come so far. Know we have you in our prayers, enjoy and be safe on the high seas chasing down pirates!

10:23 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hats off to you Admiral Howard. Women have come a long way according to the Virgina Slims Ad. I am so proud of you and your accomplishment as a woman. As the great writer stated. " Lives of Great Men ( I now say women) reach and kept.Were not attain by sudden flight.But,they while their companions slept. Were toilng upwards through the night. So you have achieved through determination and hard work. May God continue to cover you and your fellow men on high seas as you serve your country faithfully..One other thought, " I never saw this on CNN..Hmm"

11:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I salute you and your achievements. I, a black man, served on the original Boxer with missions to Viet Nam also pick up space capsules. It was exciting to me, but your commission truly makes me proud to have served on the old Boxer. The new Boxer will do exploits under your command. Your time has come and I know your excellent service to this country will prevail in this new assignment. God Bless You.
M.G. Hagans

11:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I salute you and your achievements. I, a black man, served on the original Boxer with missions to Viet Nam also pick up space capsules. It was exciting to me, but your commission truly makes me proud to have served on the old Boxer. The new Boxer will do exploits under your command. Your time has come and I know your excellent service to this country will prevail in this new assignment. God Bless You.
M.G. Hagans

11:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done, my sister, well done.

12:37 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a shame that in this great nation of ours we now have to make notable mentions of the specific pigmentation of people that do great things. Kudos to the Admiral she has worked hard to attain her position and it is to be commended. Her ship though did not save that ships Captain, SEALS did and what color was their skin? They are the Heroe's that took the very amazing 3 shots. Oh and Obama's Mother is what? Oh that's right she's white, but who really cares? Let's all hope and pray he makes us all proud to say we are American. Thank you Admiral Howard for your Leadership and greatness.

6:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outstanding job, we would love to have you for a Black History month program in New Jersy Bobby Nichols

8:32 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank God for you and your courage. You are such a blessing to your country and your race, God bless you.

9:34 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am greatful for everyone that played a part is the successful return of the ships Captain..although I am not surprised that Rear Adm. Howard was not recognized by any media official covering the story for the role she played at sea. I would like to thank her for doing what she does! Change is Now!

10:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Irvin said...

I am a Vietnam veteran, a very proud one. I take great honor in having served the country.It moves me profoundly that we have come this far. I commend you for your accomplishments.

12:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALL I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS I THINK GOD FOR THEM BEING WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY DID,BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT DON'T KNOW THE REAL TRUTH
BUT THIS OPEN MY EYES AND MANY MORE TO KNOW THAT WOMAN LIKE ME AN BLACK DOSES DO WHAT THEY HAS TO DO FOR THERE COUNTRY ,I'M PROUD THAT THE TWO OF THEM REALLY PUT THERE LIFE ON THE LINE FOR OUR COUNTRY AN WAS RECOGNIZES OVER THERE,AN NOT HERE.

5:14 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please find out if its true that the Somali "pirates" are not actually trying to stop European ships from dumping nuclear waste in their waters, which is also being reported. They have had a massive upsurge of birth defects that they relate to this cause.

5:16 PM EDT  
Blogger Willie Richardson said...

I am not at all surprised by the lack of recognition accorded to Commander Howard for her role in this rescue mission. The US government has always been stingy when it comes to honoring African American military heroes. African Americans played a prominent role in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. We could have been another British Territory if not for those brave soliders. Refer to Kareem Abdul Jabaar's and Alan Steinberg's book "Black Profiles in courage" for details.

9:35 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the steps of "la femme buffle" (Soundjata Maria Djata's Mother) and the queen Nzinga of Matamba. We were on the move and are still on the move. We keep you in our hearts, mind and spirit. May our ancestors bless U! Tundanonga

8:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Go, Girl !!!!!

5:33 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great news. I wish that President Obama would recognize Admiral Howard's accomplishments. I believe that young children, no matter what their race, should know that women are heros too.
The world, especially in these times, needs to know that African American women, love and are fighting for this country and all of the people that live in it.
Much R-E-S-P-E-C-T Admiral Howard.

BJ

9:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Steven Moyer said...

Blog admin here:

I just want to say thanks to the 100,000-plus who have visited this blog post.

9:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My eyes have seen the glory of the Lords work. Our prayers are with you. chaplain VVA CHAPTER 892

10:33 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame on the media for not reporting on this newsworthy event. In spite of it all, we are still able to overcome the roadblocks put in our way. God bless our President Obama and God bless Rear Adm. Michelle Howard.

12:01 PM EDT  
Anonymous bism@juno.com said...

Dear Admiral Howard,
I too am so very proud of you. I am an old WWll and Korean War African American sailor. I remem-ber shedding several tears of joy when I saw my first Black naval officer. God bless you and protect you in your very vital contribu-tion to our world.

2:52 PM EDT  
Blogger Lorna said...

Hi Michelle,
I must say congratulations for doing a magnificent job not only for the USA, but for the world. You have shown once more that Nothing Is Impossible when God is on our side. I followed the entire event on CNN but did not know that my cousin (the first black woman to command a Navy Vessel)was the mastermind behind it all.

Your families and friends are very proud of you and we hope that very soon we will be able to meet in a Family Reunion.

May God's richest blessings and protection be with you and your crew as you sail the troubled seas.

Love,
Lorna (Cayman Islands)

6:37 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a shame that this was not reported in the mainstream media! Now if she had let the ship be captured by the pirates...you know that would have been reported and used as validation for keeping "them" out of positions of authority. Congratulations, Admiral Howard. You are an inspirational role model and the ancestors, on whose shoulders you stand, are rejoicing!

12:28 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a black woman I am absolutely thrilled to learn of the accomplishments of Adminiral Howard However, many news sites reported the events as follows:
"Following the rescue, Phillips was initially taken aboard the Norfolk, Va., based guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96). Phillips was subsequently flown to the San Diego based amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) where he contacted his family, received a routine medical evaluation and is resting comfortably. "

As an earlier poster mentioned, it is important that we have even the minor facts correct in order to lessen the ammunition used by racists against us.

2:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous MoJo said...

I've seen some comments in this thread regarding how racists would view this news.

I know the person who admins this blog.

He is a middle-aged, white male, conservative, who I have noticed sometimes supporting Republican candidates. He is everything liberals and biased reporters characterize as racist. The Department of Homeland Security has now said his profile fits that of an extremist.

Yet, here is this news that was ignored by the mainstream media.

In Latin under the title header of the blog is the phrase 'veritas vincit.' It means 'truth conquers.'

It's funny how that works....

2:32 PM EDT  
Anonymous Bruce Packman said...

R. ADM Howard is the first woman from the Naval Academy to to become an Admiral. She is the first Black woman to command a warship USS Rushmore. I love this woman!!! CNO in her future!!! We served on the same ship me as a plankowner (Hunley AS-31) 1962. Michelle in 1984. I wrote a term paper about her life in 2008 in community college, Fair winds Adm. Howard!!!! Bruce Packman Navymusician@yahoo.com

4:24 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

REAR ADMIRAL MICHELLE HOWARD,
CONGRATS!!!!!!.....I'M EXTREMELY PROUD AND HONORED BY YOUR SUCCESS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS. I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR FUTURE ACHIEVEMENTS, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT IMPACT THE "GREEN SIDE" AND THE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO HAVE SACRIFICE SO MUCH FOR US AS CITIZENS TO REMAIN FREE.

RESPECTFULLY,
CDR MILTON A. ROBINSON DC (RET)

8:40 PM EDT  
Blogger Flo said...

Oooh, this is the best news I've heard so far today. Congratulations! We're all so proud of you!

9:15 AM EDT  
Blogger Flo said...

Oooh, this is the best news I've heard so far today. Congratulations! We're all so proud of you!

9:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Steven Moyer said...

5/7/2009

Blog Admin here:

I have a few more pictures of the admiral that I can include in a USS Boxer photo essay.

If there is any interest, just reply here in the comment thread to let me know.

5:51 PM EDT  
Blogger florencenraegan said...

Hi Steve,

Actually, that would be great!

8:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Steven Moyer said...

Alright then... I'll have something up tomorrow.

I always title these kinds of Navy photo sets referencing a vessel; in this case it will be aboard USS Boxer.

9:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Steven Moyer said...

Here's a new one ... just a couple of pix, though:

Combat Camera: Aboard USS Boxer, May 8, 2009; Rear Adm Michelle Howard

9:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Carlos said...

All I can say is that I wish that all black people of considerable talent would focus all of their efforts to fighting injustice and inequality all over the planet. What a waste of talent!

2:02 PM EDT  
Blogger Chris Tucker said...

Well Done, Admiral Howard!

5:32 PM EDT  
Blogger Steven Moyer said...

Blog admin here:

Here is a news item of interest:

US Navy will christen its newest Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Gravely on May 16, 2009.

Retired Vice Adm. Gravely passed away on Oct. 22, 2004. He was the first African-American to be selected to the rank of Admiral and the first to command a Navy warship.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/od82bm

10:20 PM EDT  
Anonymous Elizabeth Teagle said...

I would like to thank you for all you have done for our great country.

Elizabeth Teagle
Houston, Texas

9:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great job shipmate(pensacola fl)

12:16 AM EDT  

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