Women to serve aboard U.S. Navy submarines

Women to serve aboard U.S. Navy submarines

Summary: Secretary Gates informed Congress in a written submission sent Feb 19th his intention to allow women to serve aboard U.S. submarines.

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For the first time since submarines came into service in the U.S. Navy (1776), Defense Secretary Gates informed Congress in a written submission sent Feb. 19 of his intention to allow women to serve aboard U.S. submarines. The press release was released yesterday by the Office of Secretary of Defense.

Gates signed a letter Feb. 19 informing Congress of the Navy's plan to lift the policy, which it intends to do through the phased-in assignment of women to submarines, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell confirmed today.

The secretary endorsed the plan, the brainchild of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Morrell said.

No change can take effect until Congress has been in session for 30 days following the notification, Navy Lt. Justin Cole, a Navy spokesman said.
Mabus, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and other Navy leaders have looked closely at the issues involved with integrating women into the submarine force, including close working conditions and accommodations, he said.
The U.S. Navy has two types of submarines: Attack submarines, known as Los Angeles, Seawolf and Virginia class submarines (SSN) which are designed to hunt other submarines and  launch cruise missiles;and Ballistic missile submarines,  the Ohio class (SSBN) which can carry up to 24 nuclear ICBMs or up to 154 Tomahawk non-nuclear cruise missiles.

Crew sizes vary between 14 to 15 Officers, 18 Chief Petty Officers (senior enlisted men), and 105 to 125 other enlisted men. The Ohio class submarines have two crews for each submarine which rotate manning the submarine. It is not known when the first  women will earn their dolphins. Congress has 30 days to respond to the Secretary's new policy. It is not expected to meet any resistance. There are 71 submarines in the U.S. Navy, and five more are under construction. Opportunities for women to serve aboard submarines will be available despite the fact that it is expected that several submarines will also be decommissioned over the next several years. Women have served aboard surface combat ships since 1993.

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11 comments
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  • Foolish mistake

    Nothing like politically correct to make a bad
    bed partner...
    tux_engineer
  • Gonna be interesting on those long missions under the polar ice caps...

    If woman are going to serve, they should make sure they are not on board ships with potential super long missions. It could be disastrous for the rest of the crew.
    Let?s say a woman is 2 months pregnant before deployment and the mission is 6 months under radio silence below the polar ice caps and the kids a eager beaver... Then what? ?Run Silent, and shut that baby up!? That?s a slim scenario ? but would you risk it?

    They will have to add gyno to the medical area. Need to add to the training of the doctors. Segregated sleeping areas. More segregated showers in an already crapped area.

    Political Correctness in the military is fine unto the point were good men STOP enlisting because they think policy could unreasonably increase their odds of dying. I don?t mind dying for my country as long as my country isn?t asking me to jump from a plan without a parachute.
    Fark
    • Wouldn't a pregnancy test the day before the mission starts

      prevent that?
      Michael Kelly
    • It's complicated

      There are no easy answers.
      doug.hanchard@...
      • "No" is a pretty easy answer. nt

        nt
        T1Oracle
        • Congress is far from agreeing

          on any kind of answer, yes or no....

          The U.S. last bastion of arms that women are not integrated are the Submarine service, Special Forces and Marine Corp combat units.
          doug.hanchard@...
  • Sounds like a bad idea

    My views on women in the military tend to be traditional. Combat should be considered hell, and I'm not sure why we are sending women into these situations. In civilian society, women gravitate towards safe situations and implore politicians to pass laws to make society safer. Every woman I've ever seen in high pressure situations, starts crying and becomes psychologically unravelled. It's simply in the nature of women to behave this way. I think including women in combat is going endanger missions, and is going to result in a lot of psychologically damaged women. I'm all for equal rights and opportunities, but women are not the same as men, and I don't see how throwing them into the most brutal sitiuations known to man, is going to benefit anyone.

    Also cramming women into close quarters with a bunch of hormone crazed guys for months at a time, sounds like a really bad idea to me. I guess we all have to live and learn.
    P. Douglas
  • RE: Women to serve aboard U.S. Navy submarines

    USS Eisenhower, which was the first combat vessel opened to female crew members, where pregnancies grew from five to 39 in just a couple of months. "In all, 13% of the female crew became pregnant." And, needless to say, in each case, the "sailor" had to leave her shipboard duties.

    This was on an Aircraft Carier which has wide open spaces.

    As a former Submarine Sailor "ETC Retired" and after sailing on MANY deploymnets, the Design structure of the submarine is not practical for co-mingling of the sexes.

    The only way that this may be suscessful is perhaps, a totally 'manned' submarine of females..
    NAVYSUBS
  • RE: Women to serve aboard U.S. Navy submarines

    This is from my wife: (former ombudsman)
    Deployments are hard enough for the family, the added stress of 'two members of the opposite sex are sealed together in a tin can' for six months or more. Would add undue stress to already fragile marriages (deployments are already marriage killers), and months of questions for those that are not..
    NAVYSUBS
  • RE: Women to serve aboard U.S. Navy submarines

    Damn politicians. Placing opposite sexes in a very small space for
    that long of a time is plain stupidity. There is no private space on
    subs - none. But then I'd expect nothing less from the morons in
    DC and from those who're wearing stars and no longer have a
    clue of operation onboard a submarine.

    MT1(SS)
    nthused
  • RE: Women to serve aboard U.S. Navy submarines

    I was in the U.S. Navy in a nuclear fast attack submarine for two years back in 1977-1978. I was awarded submarine pay above my E-5 standard pay. Submarine pay was considered "Hazardous Duty Pay", because it was assumed that you may be under attack at anytime. We had to get all of affairs in order before we were underway. Life insurance, car storage, any other personal business had to be completed for the 3 months that we were gone. If that doesn't scare you as a woman, than you may qualify for submarine duty. But, you have to remember, the wives and girl friends of those male sailors are going to be really tough on those waves. They don't need the competition of those waves out to sea with their man out there 24-7 for three months. Anyway, some single sailors wouldn't mind much. But there can be no hanky-panky out at sea or you're busted! If Defense Secretary Robert Gates thinks women need to serve on submarines, maybe he should ask his daughter or his wife what she thinks. Would you want your daughter or wife to be gone for 3 months without knowing if they are alive or dead?! I thought men were the protectors as well as the providers of their "better halves". I'm not a sexist, just believe in the old fashion relationship ideals.
    knowledge1870