President Obama nominated Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Howard for the appointment to the rank of admiral, making her the first woman in Navy history to achieve a fourth star.

Howard, 53, was also nominated for the assignment of vice chief of naval operations, which is the second-highest ranking officer in the U.S. Navy, and one step below the Navy’s highest rank, chief of naval operations.

But this isn’t Howard’s first. In 1999, Howard was the first black woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy.

In an interview with TIME Howard was asked if it was tougher dealing with sexism or racism in the service. “Sexism within the service, and racism outside the service,” she said.

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