WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2010 — Two dozen women will begin reporting to four submarines by the end of next year, marking a new milestone in the 110-year history of the submarine force, Navy officials announced today.
Six female officers each will join the crews of the USS Wyoming, USS Georgia, USS Maine and USS Ohio, Navy Submarine Group 10 officials announced in a news release.
Three female officers will be assigned to each of the subs’ two crews.
The Wyoming and the Maine are nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, and the Georgia and Ohio are nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines. Submarines of these two classes are assigned two full crews, known as blue and gold crews, which rotate between sea and shore duty to maximize the time a submarine can spend in its assigned area.
Two of the women in each crew will be submarine officers, and the third female officer will be a warfare-qualified supply officer. They will be assigned to their first submarine duty station after nuclear power school, prototype training and the Submarine Officer Basic Course. They are expected to report to their assigned submarines beginning in December 2011.
Navy Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, the submarine group’s public affairs officer, said today the new submarine officers were commissioned through the U.S. Naval Academy, ROTC programs and Officer Candidate School. All 24 women have been identified and will join their new crews at about the same time, but the Navy is not releasing their names while they undergo training.
“We want them to be able to focus on what they’re doing while they’re in training,” Rebarich explained. “Today’s announcement is part of the process of integrating women into submarine crews. This is just another step.”
Submarine Group 10 is commanded by Rear Adm. Barry Bruner, who leads the Navy’s Women on Submarines Task Force.
The Navy’s integration of women into submarine crews has been under way since Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates notified Congress in February the service wanted to add women to its submarine crews. Following a congressional review, Navy officials announced April 29 they would begin accepting women’s applications for submarine officer training.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a former Navy surface warfare officer, declared his goal of integrating women into the submarine forces soon after taking office in May 2009. Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, seconded Mabus’s initiative. The admiral said in a statement released in September 2009 that his experience commanding a mixed-gender surface-combatant ship makes him very comfortable integrating women into the submarine force.
The Navy first allowed women to serve on surface noncombatant ships in 1973 and on surface combatant ships in 1993.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)