Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Admiral Michelle Howard Talks about RMEF[1]

With a smile on her face and the internal drive to match her ongoing commitment to her country, Michelle Howard stepped to the front of the room at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, and had four-star shoulder boards pinned to her shoulders. That simple act made her the first woman to be promoted to the rank of four-star admiral in the 239-year history of the United States Navy.

(July 2014) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, left, and Wayne Cowles,
husband of Adm. Michelle Howard, put four-star shoulder boards on Howard
(US Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist
Peter D. Lawlor/Released)
“It’s a great Navy and a great opportunity for women,” Howard said immediately after the promotion ceremony. “My rank today lets them know that they can go from ensign to admiral.”

Michelle Howard grew up in Aurora, Colorado, before heading off to the U.S. Naval Academy.  She graduated from Annapolis and was commissioned an Ensign in 1982.  She now serves as the 38th vice chief of naval operations.

“I figured out a long time ago there are 168 hours in a week and you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to do with them, what you’ll focus on and make sure you cover everything,” said Howard.

(Sept. 2013) Aboard the Japan maritime Self- Defense Force
helicopter destroyer JDS Hyuga in Tokyo
(US Navy photo by Mass
Communication Specialist 1st Class
Joshua Karsten/Released)
Howard is obviously no stranger to brainstorming, formulating plans and executing those plans by successfully working with others. She and husband Wayne Cowles, a hunting guide for nearly two decades, are long-time members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation who joined in 1994. They also served alongside other RMEF volunteers as committee members.

“He heard about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and said ‘Hey, there’s a chapter here in D.C. Let’s go to a banquet.’ I said ‘Sure, I’m in.’ We were members and I bought Wayne’s life membership as a gift and then I bought my life membership as a gift to myself. I’ve tried to be a sponsor member every year. We sponsored a couple of rifles at banquets. I think it’s been 10 years I’ve been sponsoring.”

Wayne and Michelle fishing for Wyoming
trout in the 1990s
When asked whether she hunts, Howard answer is simple but impassioned. “No, I fish. And I don’t get to fish much anymore either which is exceedingly disappointing. I’m a big trout fisherman! With Wayne, there were a couple of times when he would go hunting and I would go along. He says, ‘You’re the perfect hunting buddy because you can tag along, keep up on the trail, help around camp and, of course, because you don’t hunt you don’t have as good as hunting stories as I do.’ Even the last two years, if he has a day to go bird hunting out locally, I’ll go out with him.”

Wayne and Michelle own a Weimaraner hunting dog that is both an amateur and field trial champion.

Greeting President Obama at
Naval Station Norfolk
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass
Communication Specialist 1st Class
RJ Stratchko/Released)
“It’s just fantastic to watch the dog work and Wayne’s a very skilled shooter watching him bring in the birds. And the pheasant is so good to eat as well. It’s always a good thing to be outdoors and see people in the sporting element and get to watch the dogs work, ride a horse, fish…those are great days when you can fish.” Howard added.

Looking ahead, Howard relishes opportunities to safeguard her country and serve her fellow Americans in her new position. She also appreciates those who serve by looking after America’s vital landscapes.

What appeals to me most about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is the purpose to make sure the wildlife that’s out there that we have today is still out there for generations to come. In pursuing that angle of making sure elk have a healthy habitat, have a place to breathe and thrive, we save so much of the country for other species and sporting endeavors whether it’s fishing, bowhunting or even taking photographs. By conserving this landscape we do so much more for this country, our fellow citizens and future citizens.”

Congratulations Michelle Howard. We salute you for your continuing service to our country and for your dedication to elk and elk country.

[1] The views expressed by Michelle Howard are offered in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or any other entity of the US Government.

(July 2009) As commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2, Howard visited with junior enlisted Sailors on
the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry stationed in the Red Sea 

(May 2009) Addressing Sailors and Marines assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Boxer on the Indian Ocean
(US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Laura A. Moore/Released)

(June 2010) Aboard the Royal Danish Navy command and support ship HDMS Esbern Snare in the Baltic Sea
(US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Jenniffer Rivera/Released)

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