NOAA Ship Leaves Woods Hole with All-Female Crew

L-R: OIC Anna-Liza Villard-Howe, outgoing OIC Carl Rhodes, Rear Admiral Jonathan Bailey, and new Jr OIC Shannon Hefferan. Photo by Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA

CapeCodOnline: With boats milling about the calm water behind her, Anna-Liza Villard-Howe stood with all the rigidity of her white officer’s military uniform as she saluted the flag during the singing of the national anthem.

Ensign Shannon Hefferan and Lt Anna-Liza Villard-Howe with Captain Jack Moakley (ret.), a former Gloria Michelle skipper. Photo/Anne O'Brien, NEFSC/NOAA

So began a traditional change-of-command ceremony for a vessel manned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps. But the 50 people gathered at the flag plaza on Water Street Friday witnessed a historical event for NOAA.

“It will be the first time we’ve had an all-woman crew,” said retired NOAA Corps Capt. Jack Moakley, who first commanded the Research Vessel Gloria Michelle, the ship of which Lt. Villard-Howe, 32, of Martha’s Vineyard, assumed command.

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