News From Terre Haute, Indiana


April 18, 2009

STEPHANIE SALTER: In a generation, a sea change has come to the U.S. Navy

TERRE HAUTE — It was one of those “driveway moments,” in which the contents of the car radio broadcast keep you from turning off the engine and going on into your house, office or social engagement.

On National Public Radio’s evening news show, “All Things Considered,” Robert Siegel was about to interview the U.S. Navy commander of a new multi-national counter-piracy task force in the waters off Somalia. Said Siegel:

“Rear Admiral Michelle Howard … at sea on the USS Boxer.”


For a split-second, I thought, “Oh, right. Some French-American guy named Michele.” But, no. Clear as a ship’s bell, a woman’s voice greeted Siegel.

Creaky old feminist that I am, I nearly wept. And not for the first time in my life did I give thanks for the context, for all the years and experiences that allowed me to appreciate the size and weight of a Michelle in command.

Young women and girls take such things for granted, which is fine because that is what youth always does. But I know Adm. Michelle Howard did not happen in a vacuum. Nor did her slow, steady rise through the ranks of the United States Navy occur because a bunch of men woke up one morning in a good mood and said, “You know, females probably can command ships and their crews just as well as guys can. Why don’t we give them a try?”

Michelle Howard graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982. That was only six years after the first female midshipmen in academy history had been admitted — which took Congressional legislation. Passage of that law required the efforts of countless American women who were branded as everything from “bitches” to “subversives” because they demanded equal opportunity and pay for equal work, education levels and capabilities.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Obama Advisor Skips House Hearing Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010