The US Navy has selected 38 female sailors to qualify to serve aboard a submarine. It happens for the first time in the US Navy sea service and comes as part of a plan to integrate women into the undersea military force.
The US Navy News Service announced in a statement that the plan was approved by Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral. The new policy includes women’s integration in the US Navy’s submarine force and providing opportunities for them to serve in all missions.
Image: US Navy
“Applications from women… were received for the initial application period to fill four chief petty officer… and 34 rating conversion positions…across the two crews of the USS Michigan (SSGN 727),” the statement said.
The Michigan is one of the US Navy's Ohio-class guided-missile submarines based in Bangor, Washington.
According to the statement, all 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 USS MIchigan to fill billets of planned crew rotations where appropriate, and the overall needs of the Navy for rating community health.
Sailors’ applications were scored on performance evaluations, warfare qualifications, commanding officer endorsements, sea service time, physical readiness testing, and similarity of current rating to desired submarine rating.
Capt. Rod Hutton, deputy commander for the Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force commented:
"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. 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."
US Navy News Service informed that the second group of female sailors will be assigned to another Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, USS Florida (SSGN 729), based in Kings Bay, Georgia.
Pentagon lifted the ban on employing women in combat jobs back in 2012 and allowed the military services to use a gradual process of women's integration in male-only positions.