The United States Navy has announced that 38 female non-commissioned officers – Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers – will be the first women to serve aboard submarines. This announcement gels with a previous announcement from the Navy that women would be serving on subs by 2016.
There was an "overwhelming response" from women looking to join the silent service, Rear Admiral Chas Richard, the head of Sub Group Ten and commander of the Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force, wrote on the Navy's official blog. Applications came in from across the fleet, and included sailors in the aviation branch, Seabees, and fleet reserves. The 38 women who made the cut will eventually report to the USS Michigan (shown above), an Ohio-class, nuclear-powered, guided-missile submarine stationed out of Bangor, WA, but first, each sailor needs to earn their dolphins – in other words, they need to train and pass their qualifications in order to serve on a sub. As for the women who were turned down for this initial call up, all is not lost.
"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." said Captain Rod Hutton, the deputy commander for the Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force said as part of a Navy press release. "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."
"As the Commander for the Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force, I want to welcome the selected Sailors to our community, and take the time to congratulate you on this momentous accomplishment," Rear Adm. Richard finished, adding, "I look forward to serving with you, shipmates!"
Check out the official press release from the Navy.
From Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force Public Affairs
KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- With the release of NAVADMIN 142/15 "FY16 Enlisted Women in Submarines Selections", the first group of enlisted female Sailors from across the Navy has been chosen to serve in the U.S. Navy's submarine force.
Rear Adm. Charles "Chas" Richard, commander, Submarine Group 10 and Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force Commander, said the interest to apply was impressive.
"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. 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."
A strong response fleetwide was received in the call for enlisted female Sailors applying for conversion into submarine force ratings. Applications from women representing 31 different ratings from shore and sea commands worldwide were received for the initial application period to fill four chief petty officer (E7 paygrade) and 34 rating conversion positions in the paygrades of E6 and below across the two crews of the USS Michigan (SSGN 727). Michigan is one of the Navy's Ohio-class guided-submarines homeported in Bangor, Washington.
Sailors from nearly every community throughout the Navy applied and the selections represented this diverse group of applicants, including junior Sailors who enlisted under the Professional Apprenticeship Career Tracks (PACT) program. The skills and experience they are bringing with them into the submarine force will set the foundation for excelling in their new ratings.
Based on the number of applications, the selection process was competitive and used an objective review and scoring of each application. Selections were made based on the Sailor's performance in their current rating, the Sailor's desired submarine rating assignment, the needs of the ship to fill billets of planned rotations where appropriate, and lastly the needs of the Navy for rating community health, both in the old and new ratings. 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.
"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." said Capt. Rod Hutton, deputy commander for the Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force, "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."
Each Sailor will be contacted and provided the opportunity to update their application as they continue to excel in their careers today. For example, a Sailor selected as an alternate may have received her best evaluation of her career after submitting her initial application for the first cohort. She will now have the opportunity to add that stellar evaluation to her existing application.
With the Sailors having been identified, they will now undergo the standard submarine medical screening process. After they have cleared medical screening, they will begin the training pipeline with Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS) in Groton, Connecticut. Sailors who applied to change ratings will also be provided the technical training through "A" schools and possibly "C" schools to prepare them for their new assignment.
These selections are only the first step in a long-term plan approved by the CNO to integrate the submarine force and provide opportunities for women in the Navy to serve in all types of submarines in support of all missions in the undersea warfare domain. The next window for applications will open in July 2015, and will be announced via a separate NAVADMIN. The second group of enlisted female submarine conversions will be assigned to another Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, USS Florida (SSGN 729), homeported in Kings Bay, Georgia.