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NORFOLK (AP) -- The Navy says a Virginia-based sailor has become the first black woman to earn a three-star-rank in the U.S. armed forces.

Vice Adm. Michelle Janine Howard was promoted to deputy commander of U.S. Fleet Forces command in Norfolk on Friday.

Howard has a record of setting historic milestones.

Howard was also the first black woman to command a U.S. Navy warship, the first female graduate of the Naval Academy to achieve the rank of rear admiral and the first black woman to command an expeditionary strike group at sea.

Her last assignment was serving as chief of staff to the director for strategic plans and policy for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Her hometown is Aurora, Colo.

AP-WF-08-24-12 1937GMT

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