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While the facts surrounding the kidnapping and rescue of the Maersk Alabama Captain Richard Phillips have been widely reported, less well-known is that ship which saved him was commanded by a black woman, Rear Admiral Michelle Howard.

Howard received the assignment of leading the U.S. Navy’s counter-piracy task force just three days before the Maersk Alabama was attacked by Somalia pirates.

“It’s probably one of the most exciting missions the Navy has been on in for a long while,” Howard told the Navy Times.

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