First black woman to command Navy missile destroyer is from Greensboro

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Cmdr. Monika Washington Stoker

NORFOLK – A Greensboro woman has become the first black woman in history to take command of a U.S. Navy missile destroyer.

Cmdr. Monika Washington Stoker was given the honor during a ceremony Friday morning at a naval station in Norfolk. She will helm the U.S.S. Mitscher and her crew of 300.

Stoker, a graduate of Grimsley High School, had served as the ship’s executive officer since June 2011.

Stoker was commissioned in 1995 after graduating from the Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in ocean engineering.