Melissa Ziobro on “Women in the US Military”
“If you really want to do something, go for it … even if it doesn’t come to fruition, when you’re in that rocking chair on the porch, you’ll be like, ‘I don’t have any regrets. I went after it.’”
–Admiral Michelle Howard
On July 1, 2014, Admiral Michelle Howard became the first female four-star Admiral in the United States Navy’s history. She assumed her new rank at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. With this rank also came assignment as Vice Chief of Naval Operations, making her the number two officer in the naval service. She is not only the first woman to hold the job, but also the first African-American to do so. Why was this day so long in the making? Who are some of the trailblazing military women that helped pave the way for her throughout our nation’s history? And just who is Michelle Howard, the woman who earned this remarkable distinction? While there have been short, popular media articles written about Admiral Howard, and she is mentioned in several compilation volumes on notable military leaders, African Americans, and women, this talk is based on will be the first in-depth, scholarly piece dedicated to her biography and her place in history.
Melissa Ziobro is currently the Specialist Professor of Public History at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, teaching courses to include Introduction to Public History, Oral History, and Museums and Archives Management. Her service to the University includes coordinating the Monmouth Memories Oral History Program and her Department’s social media and newsletter. Melissa serves on the Executive Board of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region; as a Trustee of the Parker Homestead in Little Silver, NJ; and as the editor for New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, a joint venture of the NJ Historical Commission, Rutgers University Libraries, and Monmouth University. She has worked with public history organizations such as the Monmouth County Park System, InfoAge Science History Learning Center and Museum, Monmouth County Park System, Monmouth County Historical Association, Monmouth County Historical Commission, Middlesex County Office of Culture and Heritage, National Guard Militia Museum of NJ, and more. She served as a command historian at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, NJ from 2004 to 2011.