October 22nd, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Women to begin serving on U.S. submarines


Women will serve on the USS Wyoming and three other U.S. Navy submarines.

Women will begin serving on four U.S. submarines in December 2011, the U.S. Navy announced Thursday.

Twenty-four are in training to be the first women to serve aboard U.S. submarines, the Navy's Submarine Group 10 said in a statement. The subs on which they will deploy are the USS Wyoming and USS Georgia, both homeported in Kings Bay, Georgia, and the USS Ohio and USS Maine, homeported in Bangor, Washington.

The Navy said it will not identify the women until they have completed their submarine training. The 24, chosen from graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy, ROTC programs and Officer Candidate School, began their training in July, the military said.

Three women will serve aboard each sub at any one time, two as submarine officers and one as a supply officer. The subs have crews of 154. The Wyoming and Maine are ballistic-missile submarines and the Ohio and Georgia are armed with cruise missiles. Each of the submarines has two separate crews - known as the blue and gold crews - that rotate duty time so the subs can spend the maximum amount of time at sea.

The submarine force is the last of the Navy's surface forces to allow women to serve. They have served on noncombat surface ships since 1973 and combat surface ships since 1993.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Congress in February that the Navy would take steps to put women aboard submarines.


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Filed under: Military • U.S. • U.S. Navy
soundoff (443 Responses)
  1. NPeterson

    Jesus F'ing Christ, women hadn't been able to until now? Between no women and no gays, the US armed services should be ashamed. I am a US citizen however I am not patriotic in the least. This country sucks! I was born and raised here, but I have no national pride. We treat women and gay so poorly in the military there's no reason that ANYBODY should feel patriotic. It's shameful and unamerican. The US was built on freedom, equal rights, and liberty for all. Look at slavery, the treatment of women and blacks, now gay people. I am not proud to be American! I HATE this country as it is right now.

    October 23, 2010 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Army female officer

    It suprises me how simple minded Americans can be. I am a female Army Officer and I work hard as hell. I work with my Soldiers. We are so easy to judge but I have seen plenty of male Officers that are lazy as hell.
    Congrats to the NAVY. Congrats to these 24 females. They will kick and take names later!!

    October 23, 2010 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Army female officer

      my fought!! They will kick ass!!

      October 23, 2010 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      You're right, I saw a lot of mens hearts break when women were getting out of deployments because of the pregnancy card. They were also getting out of the combat zone ...guess who had to pick up the slack? What a waste of taxpayer money, these bimbos should have been court martialled.... Idiot....

      October 23, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • campana

      I believe you work hard, but what kind of hell job you choose ! It will be nauseating to me.

      October 23, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      I BEG TO DIFFER!!!!!

      You never registered with Selective Service.

      You have lower physical fitness standards on the APFT.

      You so much as even insinuate that a male officer, NCO or Solider was in any way not "tolerant," they are gone so fast their heads spin.

      You can avoid deployments by the simple act of being pregnant, while I look my wife in the eye knowing I won't see her or the newborn, as I get on a bus to the airfield.

      When people complain there aren't enough women getting CAB's, then commanders and platoon leaders have to go back and water down the award to people who were simply "shot at," your freaking job description!

      Spare me the "I am an Army officer and work hard." YOU just might do that as an individual, but ancedotal evidence should not be POLICY! You want equality? Register with Selective Service, meet the same APFT standards that I do, and meet the same WRITTEN criteria for awards that I do.

      October 26, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. mastersam2000

    Women gay in subs would be hitting two bird with one stone no question asked

    October 23, 2010 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. Hotrodchopper

    I served aboard fast boats in the Indian Ocean. 7 month runs with over half of that being port and starboard. It was the early to mid '80s and the Navy ran their boats hard back then with a crew of 100. To accommodate a crew consisting of men and women the boat has to have provisions for separate heads, berthing ect. I've gone through the sub trainers and dive schools and it's going to take an exceptional female to complete the rigors of qualification. When it comes to damage control every one has a part and is relied upon to be able to perform physically demanding tasks.
    Maybe things have changed over the years and the "Sub life" has gotton softer, but, from what I remember there is no room for indivualality. One Boat-One Crew!!
    I'm sure the Navy has screened their candidates so their "pilot" program will go off without a hitch but one has to wonder when "the rubber meets the road" what will happen then.

    October 23, 2010 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. Doud

    The United States is one of the only nato allies that does not allow its female members to serve with the same equality and respect, when my brigade went down to the national training center U.S soldiers were surprised that we had females in our infantry not only that but they were in leadership positions leading squads and attacks, my point is females are just as capable as males if not sometimes even more capable and professional.

    October 23, 2010 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. aseeley

    i am a women & very proud of it. i do not think that all the man hating liberal women should be able to get any job they want to bully their way into. women should not be on subs or on the front lines. we make decisons based on emotion & that has no place in either of these jobs. stop trying to be men. we are not equal that is why there are different pt requirements for us. i am happy to be a women & do not need to try & show up a man or take their jobs to show how much of a women i am. get over it Bad Obama & all you other liberal idiots

    October 23, 2010 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • campana

      Thank you aseeley, we love women like you. I do not understand how a man can deal with a military woman.

      October 24, 2010 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. What is Next?

    Outstanding! Now there on subs... the only next stop is!!! Navy SEALs!!! *sigh*

    October 23, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Marquis

    This has got to be the worst naval idea ever . Hey guys think back to when you were 19 , now just imigine if you were in a ship for or say 30 days with one half way decent youngish female , how would you even be able to think properly ? Come on people get real , younger men think about women all the time , their not going to be able to focous on doing their jobs as well with women on board.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Parlemort

      You mean their job of killing people? Perhaps with women aboard we'll think twice or thrice about pushing that button, hmm? Let me get the door for you, ma'am. Nice to have you aboard. Another thought – our women in our armed forces are just as capable of doing their job as our men. Good day.

      October 23, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. oldbubblehd

    It's about time. Every ship needs a few women onboard to wash dishes and do laundry.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Parlemort

    Allowing women to serve on our submarines is a positive step towards world peace. It's difficult to think of any woman as the enemy, not even my ex-wife. Good day.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. sagewy

    I wish this would have happened twenty years ago! I was absolutely fascinated with subs as a young women. This is exciting and shows progress!

    October 23, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Umbra1980

      Don't choke on your excitement...

      October 24, 2010 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • ListenUp

      @Bubba: Keep your immature comments to yourself.

      October 24, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Mario

      Might as well add maternity wards to....BANG

      October 24, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • raph

      A woman is bad luck on any ship or boat. They should not be allowed on any sub. I'm retired navy and on my surface ship, one woman reported for duty. She was so terrible (she was a Lieutenant) that the officers removed her from the ship to shore duty in Bahrain.

      October 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. b boy

    Let one sub sink because of females and the navy will start thinking about taking them back out

    October 23, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave Barak

      What makes you say that?

      October 23, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Uh huh

      If three women in a crew of 154 people could make a sub sink. I would be highly impressed. Women deserve to have the same opportunities as men. I'm sure they will be great

      October 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Foster

      Subs are supposed to sink moron.

      October 23, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      How incompetent would the rest of the crew have to be to let one person sink the sub?

      Why do you think so badly of our servicemen and women?

      October 24, 2010 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
    • databank

      There is always a learning curve. And that means there will be unfortunate mistakes, as a result ("we learn from our mistakes"). If a woman (or a man she's jilted) is driving the boat, and makes a bad choice, the boat could be lost. Many commands are made during fast-paced operations and casualty situations. While women do not bring any individual "critical flaws", the creation of a more volatile mix does. It's biology and basic psychology. So the hazard to the ship & crew is raised. Whether that is acceptable or not is the dice-throw that our political leaders make on our behalf.

      October 24, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • kris

      So, please explain to me the sin kings of the Thresher and the Scorpion...should we remove all men from subs too? I cannot believe that in the year 2010, that men are so insecure...

      October 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • finwar

      Subs are supposed to sink genius.

      October 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      How many Navy ships have sunk due to women being on board?

      October 25, 2010 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. US Citizen

    Norway, Australia, Canada and Spain have each had a policy of allowing women to serve on submarines. Norway first, then Australia in 1998. This is not new and it is necessary. The physical requirements of the job are well within the abilities of appropriately trained women. A crew of appropriately trained, disciplined, well-led men will handle the situation well. I can't believe we would place a nuclear deterrent in the hands of anything, or anyone, less. If this is transpires to be a problem it will point to a deeper issue in the Navy that would need to be addressed regardless.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Blue Water

      Norway, Australia...how long are their cruises? The US Navy and it's subs go out for months.....Very different

      October 23, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • crewjobs

      Those other countries including Canada do not have nuclear submarines. Put a pregnant sailor on a nuclear sub and find out what ionizing radiation does to a developing fetus. It is a tragedy waiting to happen.

      October 23, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicky

      The reason why those countries allow women on their submarines because they have SSK Submarines. They are AIP subs, that don't have nuclear power and AIP subs are starting to rival nuclear subs.

      October 24, 2010 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. stevie68a

    Women do not want equal rights, they want everybody's rights. If women want to be on submarines, the navy can give them
    their own.
    Why would a woman want to join a men's club? Men have become complete wusses not being able to stand their ground.
    Excuse me, but I'm a man who is going to an all female meeting to discuss menstrual cycles. This is very important to me.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Little Tommy

      Whatever does it for ya!

      October 23, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave Barak

      So many idiots posting today, so little time to mock them...

      October 23, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Ean

      I concur with this comment. Where were all the studies on the adverse affects on crew moral when this issue popped up? We got folks grandstanding about gays in the military yet it does not costs the services nothing to accommodate gays yet they spend millions to accommodate putting a few females on subs?

      I do not have any issues with females serving in the armed forces but there should not be any double standards when it comes to performance and evaluations. If a man has to do 40 push ups to be fit to serve then a female should have to do the same, right? why the difference if they all get paid the same, right?

      Subs are a close quarters highly isolated place of duty. There are only a few bathrooms to begin with on the subs. So you are telling me that you will either build and/or refit a few ships in order to accommodate a few females? For what political points? If you wanted females to serve on subs then you should have designated a few subs as female only subs and that would have made more sense.

      P.S. I rode subs for 6 years.....So I have first hand knowledge of what it would take to accommodate females and the effect it would have on moral.

      October 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • ok then

      Are you really using the term "men's club"? All of business used to be a men's club. Why do women want to join? Because they want to contribute something to society other than babies.
      You can certainly join a menstrual cycle club if you want, but that isn't even the same argument. That is a physical difference between men and women, based in biology. Serving aboard a submarine has nothing to do with biology or physiology and everything to do with cultural differences which are created, updated, and made obsolete by society. This is one that is becoming obsolete. You're being left behind!

      October 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • HMS Pinafore

      To Ean, if the "effect on morale" is so important, why not use that logic to keep African-Americans out of the submarines? I'm all for Navy brass standing up to whiny sailors and doing the right thing. Boo hoo hoo for your morale. You have to serve with African-Americans for 60 years and it hasn't hurt anyone. Now you have to serve with women, and if having less bathrooms on the sub is your biggest problem, you'll do fine. Let them prove themselves. I bet a few capable women sailors just may surprise you. The real issue is that you don't want to take orders from higher ranking women officers. Get over it.

      October 24, 2010 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      "I'm a man who is going to an all female meeting to discuss menstrual cycles."

      This is amazing, just fantastic. Tell me Stevie, have you ever had a non[r conversation with a woman, who wasn't family,

      October 24, 2010 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Bosco Bustemante

      "the navy can give them their own." Gives new meaning to the term "Sardine Can".

      October 24, 2010 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • David2u

      You Sir, are brain dead.

      October 24, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  15. ahhfunny

    Yeah women want the same rights, but why don't they have to sign up for the draft...or in bootcamp they have their own women platoons,,dont get me wrong I know some hard charging women in the military but its only about 10%, the rest are lazy, get pregnant so they dont have to go on deployments etc...If we had more hard chargers then hell yeah,,hoooo rahhhhhhhhh......

    October 23, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave Barak

      You don't hate women much, do you?

      October 23, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • missj756

      Um the reason those women get pregnant is because men CAN'T. Did you ever stop to think for one second that those women wanted to be mothers. Would you call a female surgeon lazy because she got pregnant and took maternity leave. IGNORANCE is clearly alive and well in America.

      October 23, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      The reason women don't sign up for the draft is because our politicians think they would never get re-elected if they LET women sign up for the draft. It has nothing to do with women. I am a woman veteran and think every woman should serve in the military. It was the best decision I ever made. And, BTW, it's not that women don't want to get deployed to a war zone. It's our politicians that are stopping us.

      October 23, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Women aren't drafted due to them not being allowed in front-line combat. For this reason, the supreme court held that they should not be required to register. (with this restriction in place, women would be of little use in a draft.)

      Once this rule is repealed, and it will eventually be, it's only a matter of time before women are required to register.

      October 24, 2010 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
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