Home » Military Personnel » First Female Enlisted Sailors to Serve Aboard Submarine USS Michigan Selected


First Female Enlisted Sailors to Serve Aboard Submarine USS Michigan Selected

Marines from the 3rd Marine Reconnaissance Battalion prepare to disembark the guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727) during a small boat exercise in Apra Harbor, Guam, on March 24, 2015. US Navy photo.

Marines from the 3rd Marine Reconnaissance Battalion prepare to disembark the guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727) during a small boat exercise in Apra Harbor, Guam, on March 24, 2015. US Navy photo.

The Navy selected the first 38 enlisted female sailors to serve aboard a submarine, the service announced on Monday.

Four chief petty officers and 34 petty officers were selected from a pool of applicants that spanned 31 different ratings both at sea and ashore, according to a Navy statement.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the amount of interest shown by enlisted women in wanting the opportunity to serve in the undersea warfare domain,” Rear Adm. Charles Richard, commander of Submarine Group 10 and of the Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force, said in the Navy statement.
“It’s an exciting time in the submarine force, as we continue to move forward in shaping the future of our force, drawing from the best pool of talent possible.”

The women who pass their medical screening will be sent to a tailored training pipeline – to include Basic Enlisted Submarine School in Groton, Conn., and technical training at “A” schools and “C” schools where applicable – before reporting to the Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727), homeported in Bangor, Wash.

The 38 women were chosen through a competitive process based on the sailors’ performance in their current rating, their desired submarine rating assignment, the needs of Michigan’s two crews, and the overall needs of the Navy for rating community health, according to the statement, along with “performance evaluations, warfare qualifications, commanding officer endorsements, sea service time, physical readiness testing, and similarity of current rating to desired submarine rating.”

“There were many exceptional candidates who we were unable to select in this rotation simply because we did not have enough positions open on the first two crews,” Capt. Rod Hutton, deputy commander for the Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force, said in the statement.
“These fully qualified Sailors have been placed on the alternate list and will automatically be considered when we select the next group in continuing to grow opportunities for women to serve in the submarine force. We look forward to reviewing their records again, as well as those of Sailors who want to add their names to the mix this summer and fall.”

The next round of applications will open next month. Sailors placed on the alternate list will be able to update their applications, and sailors who did not apply for the first round will be able to submit an application to serve aboard another Ohio-class sub, USS Florida (SSGN-729), homeported in Kings Bay, Ga.

In a blog post, Richard acknowledged the historic nature of the selection.

“I first want to thank you for your courage, initiative and interest to apply for the opportunity to join the submarine community,” he wrote. To those who were not selected, he said, “I want to encourage you to keep charging hard, as you are all hard-chargers for even considering this new, ground-breaking experience. There will be future iterations of enlisted female submariner selections made, so stay tuned for the announcement of the next application window planned for July of 2015.”

The Navy currently has about 50 female officers serving on submarines after the male-only policy was reversed in 2010. The transition was not without challenges, as late last year the Navy discovered that about a dozen male sailors on USS Wyoming (SSBN-742) had recorded and viewed video of female officers in the submarine’s shower.

The female enlisted sailors will join the Michigan crew in 2016, with two to four more crews welcoming female sailors each year through 2021.

  • best9rfan

    SSGN 729 is the USS Georgia, I know, because that was my 1st boat. USS Florida is SSGN 728, Georgia’s sister submarine.

  • Bush+Obama=Satans love child

    Thats great we can choose the best female candidates rather than the best over all candidate. P.C. diversity is awesome & surely will not cost lives, affect morale or cost extra money or space accomodating women to make the politicians happy. The free press & photo opps will make all the diffrence in time of war & ship breakdown or malfunction because we all know a women can do anything a man can except run as fast or lift as much but why would u need those skills in an emergency on a sub?

    • James Bowen

      It looks to me like these are well-qualified and in many cases experienced sailors who were selected. As far as upper body strength is concerned, that is not a big deal when it comes to serving on ships and submarines.

      • Dan

        Do you live in la la land? The Wizard Of Oz is make believe land, right?????

        • James Bowen

          As a matter of fact I am a submariner. Women do not have any physiological traits that limit them from serving on ships, submarines, and aircraft. Their physical endurance is every bit as good as it is for men. Upper body strength of course helps, but it is not necessary for them to be as strong as men to perform duties on naval combatant platforms. If we were talking about ground combat I would share some of your concerns, but this is largely a non-issue on ships.

          • IAF101

            Women have been serving in the Navy on surface vessels for what 4 decades now ? I guess submarines would be next naturally. However, there would be a period of transition, for existing crew to accommodate the “needs” of females and having women aboard.

    • Dan

      You are so correct.

    • 02144pomroy

      The transition was not without challenges, as late last year the Navy discovered that about a dozen male sailors on USS Wyoming (SSBN-742) had recorded and viewed video of female officers in the submarine’s shower.

      aw….heck….boys will be boys.

  • drjon4u2

    When the first sailor becomes pregnant, I hope they don’t have to make an emergency port call due to morning sickness.

    • Jodie

      FYI: women can be, and are, competent soldiers and sailors too. As well as competent doctors, lawyers, and whatever else they want to be, female bits notwithstanding. Women are more than baby machines and chattel. Join the 21st century, it’s nice here.

      • Dan

        Jodie, I don’t agree with men and women serving on the same ship of any class. I was in the fleet for 20 year’s-4 reserve and 16 active. In many aspects of training requirements, tests were revised to let women pass. Question for you- do you believe a average women could save a 200 lbs. man if needed? Soon, ships will have limited deployments because there probably is a daycare center on board. Here is a proposal for you-have a all women crew, what do you think? Then you will no longer need to try to be an equal to men you are not or ever will be equal too, When is the last time you saw a man try to be an equal to a women? Never, never, never. You need your own ship where most women are equal to each other in both size and strength. Bitch and complain all you want– it is a very valid compromise and it should be in a serious debate since you believe women are equal in witch I say you are clearly not.

        • Evolution of Devolution

          Dan I have said the same exact thing. Who knows, maybe women are born submariners. And with an all female crew, we can see a side by side comparison. The reality is, if they do that, then there is no way to fudge the numbers. Serving as co-ed, they can do a shell game with the facts. to justify their PC agenda. And I have used the 200lb man example too, you comment is spot on.

          • Eddie Coyle

            But if they all get on the “cycle” at the same time, on a boomer? Well it just might be a bad day for those above ground…

        • IAF101

          I agree – all women crews make FAR more sense. Less need to refit existing submarines, less change for the crew and less transition period for the crew and lesser inter-personal issues to deal with for the Navy.

      • CaptainParker

        Spare us the feminist propaganda. Anyone having the temerity to challenge the social experiment would find their career immediately ruined.

      • drjon4u2

        I have a female friend who was a US Navy chief petty officer on a tender and she was constantly being hit on by her fellow sailors and stopped a rape of a female sailor by three male sailors. I stand by what I wrote.

        • pismopal

          If your friend was a CPO and had trouble with saying no with command presence then she should not be a Chief. Aboard ship, CPOs have their own berthing..where do they put the females? Just another example of having to accomodate females and to heck with the males.

          • drjon4u2

            She was not always a CPO!

          • pismopal

            Your word was … “constantly”….words mean things. Being “hit on” is very annoying if the hitters are not your type…..hmmmm.

        • gillyking

          The key is…. by not having women on board navy ships.. in my case the submarines I spent most of a career aboard, the sexual harassment, pregnancy and emotional relationship issues go away! Hence a very very dangerous distraction from the mission is eliminated!! Plain and simple.

      • Don

        You EVER serve aboard a submarine Jodi?

      • IAF101

        The question isn’t IF women can be or are “competent”. There are 160lb women who can bench press close to 400lbs – with enought time and training anything is possible.

        A naval ship or submarine functions as a whole and as a unit, adding a new element to an existing team that has already been honed to perfection is always a moment to pause and take a hard look at the pros and cons.

      • pismopal

        And many doctors and lawyers are not suited for the military so that is apples and oranges. The “whatever else they want to be” depends on how far the qualifications are adjusted to accommodate the dreams of the marginally qualified and sometimes flatly unqualified. Facilities that are reserved for 3 people are denied to many more crew members who need the facilities at least as much as the 3. And this is the least of the issues.

    • Eddie Joe De Jesús

      Stop making bubbleheads look bad. These are sister shipmates as well. Get with the program

      • Evolution of Devolution

        Sorry Ed, but youve served on a boat, you can see where this will lead.

        • drjon4u2

          Yes, this isn’t Israel with boats on short missions and a homogeneous society with a universal draft. Bad times ahead and a stupid diversion from efficient and well completed missions.

    • Ruckweiler

      drjon4u2:
      Wonder what the pregnancy rate after deployment will look like in about a year.

      • drjon4u2

        Higher!

      • Eddie Coyle

        No need to wonder. The numbers for the surface fleet have been and stayed horrendous since women were placed on ships, and it spikes right before deployments (as it also does in the Army & Marines.)

  • Evolution of Devolution

    Yet another bad idea, from the Bad Idea factory. PC will be the ruination of years of traditions. Actually already is. And battle readiness will never be the same.

    • 02144pomroy

      Capt. Rod Hutton. First name says it all.

  • CaptainParker

    Just remember what happened on the USS Norton Sound. Our military is being crippled by the radical PC/diversity/inclusion fanatics – and our brass have absolutely no backbone to call the fanatics bluff.

    • Capt Woody Sanford

      Tell us about the Norton Sound.

  • 02144pomroy

    A floating brothel….cool. Throw in a couple of gays, lesbians and transgenders and you’ve got one really cool fighting machine…..hope they won’t be too busy playing and miss the war.

    • IAF101

      I bet there are already plenty of closet gays on submarines we don’t know about.

  • Hugh

    My father was a British Army Officer fighting in northern France in WW1 and WW2. Certainly not a place for women in combat. My mother almost got killed driving ambulances in WW2 in northern France before capitulation after which she joined the Resistance. I heard horrendous stories from both of them, which were certainly not their worst experiences. Accordingly I have been brought up to believe as a deeply moral issue that women surely have places behind the front lines but definitely not in direct combat, and that menfolk are to protect their women. In all other ways I have always strongly supported women applicants.

  • Jim Valle

    In his famous play Captain Brassbound’s Covversion, George Bernard Shaw has a notable scene between Captain Kearney of the United States Navy and Lady Cicily Wainfleet, an early feminist:
    Lady Cicily: “Captain, are there no women on board your ship?”
    Captain Kearney: “Why no ma’am”.
    Lady Cicily: “How ever do you get along without them?”
    Captain Kearney: “Well ma’am, sometimes we feel that deprivation most keenly”.
    Not any more, apparently!

  • pismopal

    Women are a distraction in the military. As much as I love them as women and as much as they do to smooth the sharp edges of life, I am glad I served without them aboard. You mileage may vary so save the lectures please.

  • Jay Miller

    I remember in the first Desert Storm. One girl had a nice kush job (basically a secretary with all the perks) at camp Pendleton; and when her company was in line to ship out and serve, she says: I can’t go and serve like all you guys, who is going to watch my kid, he needs his mother. I did’t sign up for that. I just want the good S.

  • James P. Munn

    I was the Indoctrination Officer on board the USS FRANK CABLE AS-40 in 1980 when we received 139 enlisted women and 5 officer women on board. Prior to their arrival all the men were required to complete training in coexisting with women on board ship. As with the men all the women had to retake firefighting and damage control training as well as shipboard living in general before being assigned to their divisions.
    Needless to say, major adjustments in behavior had to take place by all hands. All in all the transition to a 10% women crew went smoothly.

    • gillyking

      Sorry but I ain’t buying it James P. The unnecessary extra (beyond the shipboard mission) training, just to integrate ships company was just that. Expensive and wasted energy just for PC. Also you’re talking about a F’n Tender where basic living is no where near the tight restrictive quartered lifestyle that is demanded on submarines. Also, betting my submarine haz. duty pay that there were problems.. maybe not made public, but there were.. So I call BS to your post Mr. Skimmer..
      Gillyking TMCS/SS (Cold War era)

  • gillyking

    Added unnecessary distractions to the submarine mission. Shipboard accommodation refitting in already tight spaces, obvious unnecessary possible sexual harassment distractions, bringing relationship issues into the mission, interrupting the families (wives) at home’s feelings of security that their husbands are at sea for 60 plus days in extremely close quarters with other females. These are but a few of the distractions that cut into the already demanding nature of the mission. Missions that I spent a career undertaking.
    I love women, I love and appreciate their service, even in surface warfare situations, but the dangers and complexities of the missions in submarines do not need additions of this subject, especially to simply fulfill Political Correctness agendas!
    If the US Navy feels the needs and demands for by such a dangerous theory for the sake of Political Correctness,by adding females into our already very dangerous submarine fleet, then let them have the guts to outfit an entire boat crew with women. They would never do that because they know that the boat’s chances of completing the rigors of a patrol and returning would be too risky.
    Gillyking TMCS/SS (Cold War Era)