After 238 years of operation the U.S. Navy has promoted Vice Adm. Michelle Howard to admiral, making her the first four-star officer in the military branch's history, according to a White House report. A 1982 graduate from the United States Naval Academy and a member of the Army's Command and General Staff College class of 1998, Howard's long career has encompassed 32 years of military tours.

During her induction ceremony, held at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus affirmed that Howard was ultimately the best pick for the job.

"The Navy picked the best officer to be the [Vice Chief of Naval Operations]," Mabus told an audience of roughly 100, according to an article in the Military Times. "That's what happened here today. We should not make decisions based on anything other than how well you perform in the Navy."

This is not Howard's first time making Naval history. According to her Naval biography, she became the first African-American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy in 1999 when she took command of the USS Rushmore.

According to Howard, the promotion can be a source of inspiration for women aspiring to join the Navy.

"This Navy has come tremendously far." Howard told reporters. "Women can become fighter pilots. We have a woman who is a carrier air group commander now … It's a great Navy and a great opportunity for women."

According to Navy Personnel Command numbers, women currently make up 18 percent of the Navy's total service with over 67,000 active duty and reserve servicemembers.

Aside from the historic promotion, Howard is well known for her duty with Task Force 151, which conducted counter-piracy operations in 2009 after a U.S. cargo ship was overtaken by Somali pirates. The coordinated efforts of Howard and Task Force 151 eventually saved abducted officer Capt. Richard Phillips.