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U.S. Navy: Enlisted Females to Serve on Subs Starting in 2016

USS Michigan (SSGN-727) in Guam in 2012. The boat will be the first US submarine with female enlisted sailors by 2016. US Navy Photo

USS Michigan (SSGN-727) in Guam in 2012. The boat will be the first US submarine with female enlisted sailors by 2016. US Navy Photo

The Navy has released the outline for its plan to have enlisted women serve onboard submarines starting in 2016.

In a series of messages administrative messages released Wednesday afternoon, the service outlined its plan to incorporate enlisted females into the force starting with the Blue and Gold crew of the Ohio-class nuclear guided missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727) in 2016 and new Virginia-class nuclear attack boats starting in 2020.

“Initially, sailors will be selected and trained for rating conversion to serve aboard SSGNs and nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) previously integrated with female officers. The first two crews will be integrated in 2016, with an additional two to four crews added each year through 2021,” read the message.

The Navy rescinded its males-only policy on submarines in 2010.

“Today, many of the people who have the technical and leadership skills to succeed in the submarine force are women. We will need them,” said Vice Adm. Michael Connor, commander, Submarine Forces in a Wednesday Navy statement.
“Integrating female officers into the submarine force has increased our talent pool and subsequently the force’s overall readiness, ensuring that we will remain the world’s most capable force for ensuing decades. Following our successful and smooth integration of women officers into the submarine force, the Navy’s plan to integrate female enlisted is a natural next step.”

To date, about 50 female officers have been integrated onboard both types of Ohios.

Since the restrictions were lifted, the two barriers were qualified female submariners and physical limitations of the boats.

The Navy has expanded its pipeline for qualified officers and is now expanding its efforts for female enlisted.

“Our plan presents an opportunity for female Sailors in selected ratings and from pay grades E-1 (seaman recruit) to E-8 (senior chief petty officer) to convert into submarine force ratings,” said Rear Adm. Charles A. “Chas” Richard, commander, Submarine Group 10 and leader Women in Submarine Task Force in a statement.

The Navy will also work to modify submarines to include female enlisted crew.

“Supporting the integration of submarine crews will require modifications of the SSBNs, SSGNs, and new construction Virginia-class SSNs,” Richard said.

The revelation of the plan follows reports of a Navy criminal investigation into alleged video taping of female sailors undressing onboard USS Wyoming (SSBN-742).

  • old guy

    Talk about “hot bunking”

  • Hugh

    My father served as a British Army officer in France in both world wars, and my mother was in the French Resistance. Later I tried to join up but my eyesight was too poor. I have always held that in civilised societies females should be protected by their males, that is, no front line fighting for women unless as an absolute last resort. The politicians are wrong to have forced through allowing women in direct combat.

  • CaptainParker

    PARTY! This misguided social experiment foisted upon the services by gutless politicians to appease a handful of middle-aged feminist harpies with fat behinds will backfire – big time. Any male taking an officer’s commission is walking into a professional Valley of Death.

  • Jim Valle

    That female officers and enlisted personnel can technically “qualify” for service on a nuclear submarine is not at issue. The real question is wether or not the power of naval discipline can trump the laws of human nature within the tight confines of any class of submersible. I suspect there’s going to be a long period of adjustment here and I wouldn’t want to be the shore side spouse of any person serving on a gender integrated sub crew.

  • OLDNAVYVET

    I don’t think this is one of their better ideas.

  • pingjockey

    As a past sailor, I can tell you that somehow, somewhere—man will connect with woman or vice-versa. We have pulled into ports and had “open houses” for cities that we visited and there were tales of these excursions with the females in just about every corner of the ship. The Navy is asking for trouble. I go along with the old mariners that claim that women will bring bad luck to a ship. The Navy has plenty of places ashore that women can excel in for a career. Why place women in harms way?

    • James Bowen

      Why not? Women are citizens just the same as men, and therefore have the same civic responsibilities such as stepping up for national defense. If females are inherently limited in performing military duties, I can understand the concern. However, that is not the case with regard to serving on ships, submarines, and aircraft.

  • USNA Dad

    Welcome aboard maam, I salute you, thanks for serving your country.

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