Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Skimmer CJCS Supports Women On Submarines

According to this Fox News article, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ADM Michael Mullen (a known skimmer) has come out in support of women on submarines in written testimony to Congress:
Female sailors can broaden their role in the Navy by serving on submarines, an activity currently prohibited by the Armed Service, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has advised the Senate Armed Services Committee...
..."I believe we should continue to broaden opportunities for women. One policy I would like to see changed is the one barring their service aboard submarines," he added... reported that Mullen, a former chief of naval operations and a surface warfare officer, wrote his endorsement of women serving in subs in his response to questions submitted by senators preparing for Mullen's confirmation hearing for a second term as chairman of the JCS. That hearing was held Sept. 15...
...Mullen spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby told the Web site that the chairman had previously asked the Navy to look into overturning the rule, but did not want to get too involved in managing the force.
More on ADM Mullen's comments can be found here. My thoughts are that it's a change that's going to happen eventually, but with the submarines we have now, it's not the right time. Due to berthing constraints, you'd really need to design a whole new class of submarine to handle female berthing, and you'd have to go into it knowing that you'd be reducing combat effectiveness in order to do it. (Because, no matter what, the extra space you'd need for extra berthing compartments could be better used for combat or survivability systems.) And, for those who say we need it to keep "manning" numbers up, being co-ed sure hasn't helped our Aussie allies in that regard.

What do you think? Will we see women serving as permanent crew members aboard U.S. submarines before January 2013?

Update 1641 24 Sep: The new SecNav is also supporting women on submarines, according to this Navy Times article. He doesn't know yet that he has no actual power to make policy in the face of opposition from Naval Reactors. He'll soon learn.

Update 0916 26 Sep: There are several more news articles on this controversy, including this one in the San Diego Union-Tribune that mentions the comments in this thread.

Update 2322 05 Oct: Here's an article in the Honolulu Advertiser that says the change is a done deal, and that women will start showing up on Ohio-class boats in 2011. Not sure I believe it.


Anonymous LT L said...

ADM Mullen is a skimmer. He can have any opinion he wants, but it doesn't count for much.

If you want to get my (worthless) opinion: we need to get the skimmer lap-dogs out of the big leadership positions.


9/24/2009 4:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact remains that a very powerful lobby, in this case submarine wives, will never support this. Can you imagine the chief's wife's reaction when the 23 year old female JO is calling the house? Talk about setting up DC central.

9/24/2009 5:18 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

It is going to happen. In some extremely limited form for awhile, and maybe not this year...but it will happen, if only for the political win vice any operational gain.

SSGN's can easily be modified at low cost to support females. Four 9 women bunkrooms w/ some kind of habitability door w/ the push-button cipher solves beds & making one of the ML heads Female only for hygiene needs and you are there. A 15-20% female contingent on a few boats (starting with 1 and adding another co-ed hull every year or so) placates the politicos & violent fems.

Senior (& jr) female YN, CS, & SK's could readily transfer over after going through BESS. There's one bunkroom filled.

Another bunkroom of mixed nukes and then a third for forward rates (Radiomen & NavET's should be able to cross over from skimmerland w/o too much trouble.)

Bring back the crappy SS undesignated program and there's your co-ed deck div.

FT/ST A school is so short now that they could add females into the mix & in about 3-4 months have them in the fleet. Filtering the female accessions (pinned ESWS E3 or E4's who volunteer) would give us a better quality female SU and weed out alot of the crap the surface Navy has to deal with.

A-gangers could transfer over too. TM "A" school is also short enough to put them in on non-regen boats.

Would there be problems? Invariably. Would we overcome them, of course. It has been in my opinion only a matter of the willpower to spend the $ on the mods to make it happen on the BN/GN platform.

I'd keep it to the GN's for now because of the whole rad health issue for possible prego gals in the MC on a BN.


9/24/2009 5:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice write up STSC. I was on a couple boats with some very questionable sexually oriented guys. If we are able to change the way we percieve gays in the military I don't see any reason why females could not survive on submarines. Without a doubt there will be issues, but there is no way that a female will be able to hook up underway since there will probably be two to three dudes around her at all times.

9/24/2009 6:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i remember being on the Alex in 1993 on its first deployment (a Northern/Med run). we pulled into La Maddalena/Santo Stefano 3 or 4 times that deployment. after having a look around the Tender over the course of that deployment, we were glad women weren't on the sailing list of Submarines.

it came down to this.
we thought it was nothing more than being at High School all over again. the blue shirts (males and females) were the students that were always playing grab-ass with each other. the Chiefs were the so-called teachers trying to maintain control of said students. and then the Officers were nothing more that the administration of the high school. we were damn glad to get out of there and on our way each time.
you could say that we felt we, as Submariners, were much more professional than that mixed skimmer crew.


9/24/2009 6:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Berth the gay guys with the women. Problem solved. :)

9/24/2009 6:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

they could do it right now on a 688i without any modifications. just have the Chiefs move to foward berthing and give the Goat Locker to the girls. you could then call it the Vagina Vault.

and there would be areas for 'hooking up'. one that i could think of would be the TB-16 space all the way up in forward berthing on the right. yeah it would be a little cramped. you'd have to be very quite too since there is that little louvered vent that you can see and hear into the Goat Locker.


9/24/2009 6:30 PM

Blogger ronaldsteed said...

The issue hangs on more than just Justice (it IS the right thing to do), it really hangs on SAFETY. Women approach problems differently than men. We have so many ISTJ Engineering men onboard that every problem looks the same and the solutions never vary. We need a different way to look at issues of complexity and problem solving. Women are bright, intellectual, and will see our problems differently. (additionally, they TEAM naturally... men tend to hunker down in their staterooms... alone) If we are serious about reducing the mishap rate, we will bring women onto the team....

9/24/2009 6:34 PM

Blogger Jarrod said...

"He doesn't know yet that he has no actual power to make policy in the face of opposition from Naval Reactors. He'll soon learn."

Come again? I could have sworn we had civilian control of the military.

NAVSEA(08) = O-10
SECNAV = Senate-approved cabinet level official.

Are you saying that NR's advice would be taken very seriously or are you saying that uniformed personnel would (justifiably) ignore a lawful order from the civilian leadership?

9/24/2009 7:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The issue hangs on more than just Justice (it IS the right thing to do)..."

It has not a thing to do with justice, civil liberties or anyone's percieved right to have the job they want. Either submarines will be made more effective warships by the change, or they will be made less effective. If the argument is to be made that women should serve on submarines, it should be about deepening the talent pool and putting the best available person in a given job. It shouldn't be about women's rights.

With enough money and effort, we could make submarines compatable with colorblind people, too.

9/24/2009 7:23 PM

Blogger phw said...

Naval Reactors won't matter. It'll be the wives.

It will happen if there is a big political payoff for the Navy. I am not sure the payoff is there, so we will see.

It will be interesting. Perhaps the duck will comment on the command aspects of dealing with integration of women in submarines and the sexual tensions it will create.

9/24/2009 7:51 PM

Blogger phw said...

And yes, I am a skimmer, so I am uniquely unqualified to comment.

9/24/2009 7:58 PM

Blogger Roni said...

As a sub wife I just have tyo say thet Im thankful my husband has retired!

Enough said?

9/24/2009 8:21 PM

Blogger Alicia said...

As another subwife...I don't think that the FRG meetings can handle the much rational thinking there. We should keep the FRG groups women only so to keep as much gossip and drama as possible while the boys are underway....

9/24/2009 8:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at this, the wives and girlfriends are already beginning to speak up. The girls that us Bubbleheads date and marry, know what kind of close quarters we work and live in on a consistent basis.

There's no way females will ever be allowed to serve on Submarines. There will be way too much fucking going on while underway. The wardroom will have it's own little fuck show going on both physically and politically just as the skimmers do. The Goat locker will sustain some similar hits as well. A boat may not have a fan room but there are plenty of areas on a boat for a 3 or 4 minute quicky.
That's right, the love boat will soon be making another run if we put females on Subs.

9/24/2009 9:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel said "permanent crew."

We already have the experience of riders, etc. I've bunked in the torpedo room with women. The only problem was occasionally the lower-level head (688 class) was effectively OOC while they were in there.

9/24/2009 9:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If we are able to change the way we percieve gays in the military I don't see any reason why females could not survive on submarines."

Um, who said anyone changed the way anyone is perceived?

As to women on boats, ever seen those skanks on a tender? The ONLY decent looking women I EVER saw in the Navy were at the Naval Hospital or Dental Clinic. The rest couldn't even mass beer goggles muster.

9/24/2009 9:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, here's a wife that doesn't care one way or the other. Other nations don't seem to have this problem (Sweden's sub in San Diego XO was female). Would I go in? Nope, not my cup of tea. But if someone else wants to have short showers, stink for 3-6 months from air scrubbers, and live in a metal tube, more power to them.

9/24/2009 9:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9/24/2009 9:15 PM
You can't fool us. There is no way you last 3 to 4 minutes.

9/24/2009 10:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

HMS Gotland the Swedish submarine sailing out of San Diego for two years under contract to USN had women crewmembers. she was very small and cramped and everyone hotbunked except skipper. As I was told by Gotland CHENG in 2005, the women, I think there were 4 or 5 out of crew of less than 30, were all unrated. He indicated there were no problems with women onboard Gotland. several things to take into consideration with Gotland. 1. Swedish culture--enough said. 2. Crew rotation home every 30 days. 3. Max underway period 20 days. BTW, Diesel boat with AIP=no showers.

I believe Israli Submarines have women aboard also.

Basically in agreement with STSC regarding gonna happen and platforms. Whats not addressed so far is submarine cultural change. gonna be tough on the "boys" re: "grabassing". It's gonna be a tough transition.

FWIW, my only concern is issue of pregnancy. This example was never reported in the press or throughout the NAV. In 2003 a female ET2 reported to USNS ARCTIC T-AOE-8 Comms Dept and she was pregnant. To screen for sea duty ACDU females cannot be pregnant. She got by medical screening at NAS Sigonella I'm guessing due to lousy medical screening or lying about her condition or a combination of both. She covered up her pregnancy aided by female shipmates in female berthing and delivered underway off the Virginia Capes several months after reporting onboard. She was medivac'ed by USCG helo which cost the USN $80,000. No one got burned. She did not loose her security clearance, due to covering up a pregnancy, or lying about it or for having a screw loose for even doing it. I was onboard ARCTIC when it happened. Men onboard were pretty pissed off about this. If it had been a man lying or covering up something of this magnitude we'ed been fired. My point, while T-AOE is very large ship, crew was less than 200 mostly CivMars with USN SK's and ET's. Can you imagine something like this on a SSBN?

If women go on SSGN/BN as I expect they will, they better start with officers first. May have to go back to GSO concept. Next CPO's--the best of the best. Get the leadership component done first.

One more example, in early 90's I was working for USAF at Castle AFB in Merced CA the training base for the B-52 and KC-135. At that time women were flying on the KC-135's in all positions. DACOWITS came for a visit and had a sitdown with the B-52 "crewdogs." When queried by chairperson re: women crewmembers flying in BUFF's they all went nuts!! Not possible! Can't be done!! Combat aircraft!! etc, etc, They're flying as crew in BUFF's today.

My two cents, and keep a zero bubble.........


9/24/2009 10:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you that females could go on an SSGN but I have a hard time believing that you could get three bunk rooms, or 28 female sailors to volunteer. Also, what about the female Chiefs and Officers. If you could get 9 Chiefs, which I doubt, would they be put into a 9 person bunk room and then have to walk all the way forward to use the Chiefs Quarters facilities. They would be complaining to high heaven about that. I was only on a Trident for a year and a half in new construction before cross decking over to a 688 so I don’t remember what the wardroom set up was but if it’s like the 688 with 3 bunks per room, that means you would have to have 3 O’Gangers come on and displace three male officers who “earned” those racks.
It could work but it would really aggravate some people.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa.

9/24/2009 10:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now clearly, this will never work on a fast attack. The shear physics and logistics rule against it.

So, what do we do? I guess the girls can serve on Boomers. That does seem to be the consensus on the drawing board presently. The Watchstanders Head could become the permanent female head I guess.
Granted we only have two or three heads to begin with for the crew.

What about water consumption? It takes a few minutes for a girl to properly trim her bikini line. What if she feels the need to shoot a douche in the shower when she's not feeling so fresh one morning? All these questions are easily answered in skimmerland. However, could flora & fauna, be calling on the 1MC for extra time in the head? What do we do when it's rack time? Do we have enough room on a SSBN for this grand dream? Consider the Nebraska for a moment. How do we reconfigure berthing space? How do we give the girls their privacy? Are we going to take an ohio class boat that was commissioned 16 years ago and redesign the damned thing just to accommodate girls? How much is that going to cost?

I don't have a problem with knowing that a girl can do my job as well as I can. She can serve at fire control, or as an YN or in the sonar shack too, but how do we make it happen once we are underway? Some serious redesigns will have to happen first. I can't speak for Fast attacks, but if boomers are the target, we'll have to redesign half the aft section to do this.

Plus I have a girlfriend and there's plenty of other guys who have wives. The girls are not too thrilled to know that this idea of coed gold/blue crews could become a reality.

9/24/2009 10:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guys who are horrified at the idea and cannot imagine the logistical solutions should get out more often. I shared bathrooms and living quarters with women as a freshman in college...13 years ago. Going coed on a submarine would be more involved, but the situation would be fairly similar.

Even on a fast boat it would be fine. 9-man becomes women's berthing and they use the WR head. The only real dealbreaker is the lack of political will. Once the decision is made, someone will figure out the best solution.

It won't be problem free, and I bet there will be losses to pregnancy (fan room, SK/YN shack, aux trim, ER outboards/bilges for the truly adventurous), but these things have been overcome on skimmers without disastrous consequences.

You gotta admit - it would be kinda cool to scratch a notch into the main engine mounts. Would have to use protection though (earplugs).

9/25/2009 12:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope it happens sooner than later.

The boat environment has long needed a reduction of testosterone.

Maybe now everyone will bath daily, and watch their mouths.

9/25/2009 12:45 AM

Anonymous navyneutron235 said...

"The issue hangs on more than just Justice (it IS the right thing to do), it really hangs on SAFETY. Women approach problems differently than men. We have so many ISTJ Engineering men onboard that every problem looks the same and the solutions never vary. We need a different way to look at issues of complexity and problem solving. Women are bright, intellectual, and will see our problems differently. (additionally, they TEAM naturally... men tend to hunker down in their staterooms... alone) If we are serious about reducing the mishap rate, we will bring women onto the team...."

double check you guess... the CO of the USS ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG-51) that grounded a couple years ago was a woman

mishaps won't enter a downward trend based on the presence of women on a submarine any more than they have in the skimmer world

that being said, if we limit women for the first few years to SSBNs, are we effectively "tracking" them into a boomer career path? while that doesn't generally seem to affect enlisted promotion until the E-8 timeframe, it can drastically affect an officer's career starting at the senior O-4 level

9/25/2009 3:24 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

All of this has been said before, but here we go.
The issue to be solved is privacy. Americans are not ready to have men and women living in a coed dorm without any walls--which is what all subs but tridents would have to do.

There cannot be 'separate but equal.' Telling women to serve only on BN/GN will ensure they cannot promote and is not an effective career path.

Yes, women get pregnant and miss deployments and underways, some by accident and some on purpose, but there are still women in aircraft, surface ships, the army and marines.

If there are women in all those places, aren't their wives horribly upset?! They will get over it. The effort to get rid of discrimination (however it may be justified) is not going to be concerned with whether or not the men can keep their pants zipped up.

Space is too limited to have separate but equal. The only way it will work is side by side, gender blind.

What I don't get is why are people afraid? Are they afraid they will see semi-nude women? Are they afraid they will see unattractive semi-nude women? Really? Wow, we don't want gays in the military but it sounds like the men here would rather see Billy Bob's junk than Mary Sue's cooter?

If all the other places women work and serve are considered, the only thing to be accepted is the built in close proximity and inherent lack of privacy in submarines. All the other issues are covers.

9/25/2009 4:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 9:15 said:

"...but there are plenty of areas on a boat for a 3 or 4 minute quicky".

3 or 4 minutes????? My God, what do you think we are, machines???

9/25/2009 4:28 AM

Anonymous EX ANAV/COB said...

Boomer Sailors, women, what's the difference? No pride in a Trident ride! Just kidding, picture this:Oh dark early, flooding alarm goes off, everyone moves to get oin station, dress enroute or once you are there. Now here is Chief Suzie or Lt Suzie, take your pick, in the shower after working on quals in the ER. Is she going to grab a towel and go, or will she have to take time to dress to preserve her dignity? Call me old school, but I think the idea suxs. Its right up there w/TQL. By-the-way, the boomer comment was to get you excited and read the posting. I have no hard feelings against anyone who wanted to take the "good life", and get u/w to hide. I just liked going out to "kill a commie for mommy" loved those Cold War missions!

9/25/2009 4:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now if the Hooter Girls wanted in the Submarine Force...

9/25/2009 4:37 AM

Anonymous SSN Tough said...

Women on SSBNs is a very logical. Boomer sailors already wear pink poopie suits and are smooth crotches, so the women might just raise the masculinity level a bit!

9/25/2009 5:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lt. Cmdr Dodge: Men, at ease. I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our crew, Lt. Emily Lake. Emily is part of a pilot program to test the feasibility of women serving on submarines. She's going to be our diving officer.
Stepanek: Can she do a one-and-a-half inward back in the layout position?
Lt. Cmdr Dodge: All right, look, gentlemen! I know this is an unusual situation. Can't be easy for Lt. Lake here to be thrown into a jungle such as this, and I know it will make things hard on all of us...

9/25/2009 5:42 AM

Blogger Joe and Samantha said...

From another sub wife....

Hubs has 10 more years.. I just pray females stay OFF subs until then. What a mess that will be!

The Wardroom and Goatlocker have enough immaturity to deal with concerning their guys. We all know what will happen if you put men and woman together who are lonely, maybe already unhappy in their marriages and horny together for 6 months at a time. And even if those things are happening, the rumors will fly.

I'm all about equality- but I'm sorry. Just say no to woman on subs.

9/25/2009 5:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Samantha for President!

9/25/2009 6:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see it now with the A gangers in the back.... "Uhm. hey, can you pick up that wrench (as he drops it in front)"
"Sure chief, now what"

9/25/2009 6:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is the right things to do. The new Trident replacement, which is the only new weapon system endorsed by this Administration, could be designed/build to accommodate women if the requirementwas there.

9/25/2009 7:24 AM

Blogger SJV said...

AS a side benefit, the wives clubs could now include young men (spouses of the young ladies going to sea). Gives new meaning to the term "boomer widow".

We had a female rider once who remarked "I just feel like all the men are staring at my breasts." The reply? "Uh...they are."

After the novelty wore off, things would go back to business as usual.

I think I'll side with srvd on this too, I can't say I really care if some gay guy or woman sees me naked, and I don't have a problem with the female body. Open the subs up without restriction.

I understand one of the leading men in Hollywood was doing a love scene with a leading lady. Before it started he said, "I apologize if I get an erection, and I apologize if I don't."

There will be opportunities for the Stupid to make inappropriate comments and/or actions. They will be punished.

As far as pregnancy, have the ladies undergo a test immediately prior to underway. We've got a doc onboard. If they get pregnant underway, do DNA testing to establish responsibility, and NJP both. Officers need not continue their careers. Quickies? Why hide? Same as other behaviors onboard; if you cause a nuisance, you'll get policed. Off watch is off watch. I have no problem if two crewmates want to hookup, just don't disturb my sleep. If they are too stupid to prevent pregnancy, they deserve to be written up.

Overall the bigger deal we make of it the worse the eventual integration will be.

9/25/2009 7:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's submarines lack adequate plumbing, electrical distribution and water supply for sustained habitability by women. Fix that and then fix the wife/girlfriend deal. After that, bring the DACOWITS ladies on board a SSN for a ride and the issue will go back to the drawing board as it has every time it has surfaced.

9/25/2009 7:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, I can see it now.... WHERE IS MY CURLING IRON!!!!
OR better yet, I'm sorry, its that time of the month....

9/25/2009 8:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Chief, I can’t work on the MG today. I am cramping and PMS’ing like crazy.
Oh wait, that was a nuke on my last boat. Never mind.

9/25/2009 8:17 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

FWIW, NAVSEA08 is also an appointed position. The position is dual hat, with a spot in the NAVSEA, and a second as a deputy secretary of the NNSA for the DOE.

9/25/2009 8:32 AM

Anonymous DavidB said...

Apparently nobody commenting here has ever been aboard a VIRGINIA fast attack. There are birthing (uh, berthing) spaces perfectly suited to female habitability.

Do you guys (and gals) REALLY think the Navy is going to give a rat's ass about wives complaining? Get real, this IS the 21st century!

9/25/2009 8:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From another sub wife - we can have more faith in our men than to imagine this will cause wide spread infidelity. They are out there doing a job and are professionals. Truthfully for a wife, the location of infidelity doesn't really matter, whether its at sea with a co-worker or in a bar in a port - so I guess I believe that the ones who would cheat, (if women are at sea), would be cheating anyway in a port. If the women can do the job, and they want to, and the logistics can be sorted out, let them go to sea and serve the country.

9/25/2009 9:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ding-Ding...Ding-Ding...NR bitch-slapping. Arriving."

9/25/2009 9:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NR has support from Congress because it is a competent, technocratic organization that does its job well and nothing else. It if gets on the wrong side of a major policy issue, that goodwill will disappear in a news cycle. So no, NR will not call the shots on this debate, especially since the top officer in the military has already stated a position. (And I would bet he's being sock-puppeted by the president/his advisers.)

The real question is...why the hell would women WANT to serve on submarines? I thought the boat was a fairly disgusting place to live/work, and I'm not particularly neat/hygienic. I'd think the average woman would go insane in those conditions.

ah, the sweet smell of venting san tanks...

9/25/2009 11:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon @ 11:56 am - The most unhygienic, foul-mouthed sailor I ever ran into was a female tugboat master in Norfolk, VA. She made my CO and me cringe and drove the XO below decks.

We will eventually have female submariners. Besides the habitability issues the main problem I see is making up manning when one or two leave unexpectedly before deployment. Submarine crews are small and the loss of a crew member can have significant repercussions on the watch bill.


9/25/2009 12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what, the thousandth time we've had this discussion? I may be in the minority as far as submariners' wives are concerned, but so long as we have women serving alongside men on surface ships, in aviation, in the Marines, etc. I have no problem with having women serve alongside my husband on submarines. I highly doubt that a sailor who wouldn't cheat on land would do so (or even have the opportunity to do so) just because there are women on board. I for one would give my husband enough credit to trust him whether on a surface ship or submarine. Just like I would hope that I'd have his trust not to cheat while he's gone.

I recognize that there are privacy issues, and that with the current boat classes there might be more of a logistical nightmare, but that's not to say that in the future something can't be worked out.

9/25/2009 12:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"XO, go get me a tampon. My flow is heavy."
"Yes Maam"

9/25/2009 12:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OldCOB, It would most likely no bigger percentage than the sudden rash of "seawater allergies" that seem to develop on any SSN in the Fleet in the weeks immediately prior to deployment. We will deploy way or the other.

9/25/2009 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is political bullshit...nothing more. If not, then kindly explain to me how, exactly, this improves combat readiness.

9/25/2009 2:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about logistics, or nothing. But at 55 I'm ready to sign on for the first boat with women. The wife can bitch all she wants, cause she does now anyway.
the Duke of Earl

9/25/2009 2:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a result of ADM Mullen's comments, some serious new #, $, and billet crunching is going on at NPC...

9/25/2009 3:01 PM

Blogger Henson said...

Maybe the sexual competition among the men on board will help improve our ratio of fatasses to total crewmembers.

9/25/2009 3:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Why don't we purchase the remaining Typhoons (if there are any left) from the Russians. They're big enough to handle all the privacy needs of a mixed gender crew. Or...

2. Just state a policy that any and all boinking is acceptable and highly encouraged. If they knew they could do it anytime, it wouldn't take long for the men to get sick and tired of the whole (hole)nasty thing and go watch a movie instead. The females would then have to resort to that manual rudder control stick thingy between the helmsman and planesman's chairs.

9/25/2009 3:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. Next sub design, SSGYN?

9/25/2009 3:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What it all comes down to is men are a bunch of tool bags that think they are better than everyone else.... you are all afraid.. and you should be... that women can do the job just as good if not better than a man!

Shame a man thinks with his wrong head all the time! There are no issues with women on subs, just that men can't keep their members in their pants! Maybe if you paid more attention to doing your job, this would not be an issue!

Good for Skimmer CJCS and the push to have females on submarines. They get the same exact training men get and do the same jobs the men do.

Also... I don't know why submarine wives would have an issue.... since it's not gay if it is under way occurs all the time! Open up the closet world to the wives and they will see what really happens! If the wives are really that worried... they shouldn't be married. Besides... isn't it against the rules to committ adultery? There are rules in place to govern women on submarines.... Just time to wake up and smell the coffee!

9/25/2009 3:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:55 PM, spoken like a true boomer-fag.

9/25/2009 4:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps on an SSBN/GN as part of a rework program, but can't see it on SSN. (this from a P-3 Aircrew puke who's ridden SSN's and SSBN's.) Space and privacy are the long poles here.

9/25/2009 4:29 PM

Anonymous SubIcon said...

I don't think the nation was ready to do this (culturally) the last few times the topic was broached, but we're approaching that point now.

With Ohio Replacement on the horizon as the only completely new-design submarine we can expect in the next decade or two, now is the time to experiment. We should experiment NOT in order to see if we can make it work (and who wants to tell CNO and CJCS that submariners can't do what the skimmers did years ago, anyway?), but to learn everything we can BEFORE the Ohio Replacement design gets too far along. It'd be nice to discard unnecessary challenges sooner rather than later.

Of course this will surely be a serious headache for the lucky few XOs and COs tasked with navigating this new minefield for the Sub Force. Talk about "high vis" status...

9/25/2009 5:05 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

STSC, "It's going to happen."

I think not; Patty Marr is worth quoting:

"I can speak from experience that `women at sea' is no success story. Average women do not have the upper body strength of the average man.

"I passed all my tests, but I could not lower a submersible pump into a flooded space. Who would you prefer in wartime?

"Pregnancy and sea time are incompatible. If women become pregnant, they must eventually depart the ship. Submarines must have 100 percent crew readiness even in dental health.

"Could you imagine a monthly pregnancy screening for women assigned to submarines? I was the division officer for 60 people, of which six were women, and three of those were removed during deployment for pregnancy."

If women crew on submarines is "going to happen", that will not be the least of U.S. problems.

9/25/2009 5:39 PM

Anonymous Navy LT said...

As a female officer that served on one of the first mixed gender Frigate crews, the decom shower was converted in a make shift shower for females and all 3 females (Officers) were given a stateroom to share. There were issues at first with some senior enlisted males that didn't think we had a place in "his" Navy, but we worked hard and proved ourselves without a single one of us getting pregnant on deployment!

In addition, another tour led me to work on a Submarine Group staff that allowed me to go to sea on numerous occasions where I was THE ONLY female aboard for days on end. On my first underway, I again endure multiple comments of how I shouldn't be in "this man's Navy" by subordinate crewmembers (Chiefs and fellow Officers), I stuck through it, proved my worth my performing my prescribed duties to the my upmost ability. After that first deployment, word circulated the waterfront that I was there to do my job and if you didn't like it, keep it to yourself, because you weren't going to stop me from getting underway.

Oh and before I receive any comments about how I must be a dog since I wasn't hit on, you are incorrect, I was hit on by all ranks, but unbeknownst to many of you "Women Hater Club" men, not all females serving in the Navy are promiscuous!

9/25/2009 5:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have zero doubt that integration will lower combat effectiveness.

That said, I fear there are enough smooth, soft-handed people with enough free time who will argue that the overall good (justice, equality, etc) outweighs the bad (safety, mission readiness, etc). Said people are often good at using lofty ideas to overpower facts/figures/etc ... it's we submariners who are left to deal with those.

All that aside, the reliability of manning issue with respect to pregnancy is the crux of why I believe integration should not happen (again, because of an effect on combat effectiveness). It's not equality when my guys have to work harder b/c some female wants to have her cake and eat it too (be a submariner and then play mom for XX months during deployment).

Makes me sad, because I joined this force hoping to avoid the high school level grab-assing/gossiping that I saw in the surface fleet -- I wanted to be a professional. There can be no doubt that integration, *IN PRACTICE*, will bring that aspect of the skimmer world to submarines.

9/25/2009 6:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Navy LT ...

You're obviously a standout sailor; the problem is the whole 10-80-10 theory.

You're obviously in the 10% who never cause a command any problems.

But what about the bottom 10%? With our manning so tight, the 10% of sailors who can't handle themselves as well as you are going to sink us.

This is an ongoing debate of philosophy versus reality. I believe the submarine force is far too involved with the national security of the United States to use it as the next frontier in this agenda.

9/25/2009 6:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both Admirals Mullen and Roughhead and the SEC-NAV have publicly endorsed this idea. Both Admirals are career skimmers. The SEC-NAV was a skimmer briefly as an 02. All three have never served on a boat. Yet, they've been very quick to approve this idea of subs going coed. So, what's wrong with this picture?

If we had a Bubblehead as the CJCS or as the CNO or as the SEC-NAV, or as the DEF-SEC would we be having this conversation now? Who's really controlling the strings in DC?

9/25/2009 7:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Joel, you need to go into politics and become the next SECNAV or DEFSEC. That way, none of this coed craziness will ever happen.

9/25/2009 7:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see it now with the A gangers in the back.... "Uhm. hey, can you pick up that wrench (as he drops it in front)"
"Sure chief, now what"

Since when did A-gang discriminate based on gender?

but we worked hard and proved ourselves without a single one of us getting pregnant on deployment!

You sound fat.

9/25/2009 7:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing is for sure, we'll need a bigger bubblehead budget. You want to redesign and cut and build a different berthing area. Any new configuration is going to be expensive. We'll have to do it for existing boats and new ones too, just so we can have females on boats. Did the BIG 3 (CJCS, CNO, SECNAV) factor in that simple equation & estimate when they were "ordered" to jump & cheer and say, YES!! to this brilliant idea?

9/25/2009 8:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, she does sound fat now doesn't she? Most of us are not going to fuck with a heavy weight. It's just not worth it to needlessly jeopardize your career, rate and NEC certs to fuck a fat chick who's skulking about the boat for a few days.

Now if she looked like Demi Moore from "A Few Good Men" or the blond chick from "Down Periscope," then it might be worth the risk in hoping you don't get caught or informed on. But yeah, that's a wet dream.

Actually, if we put fat girls on boats, that simple feature in life would help in keeping boys and girls from sneaking off and indulging in eating, sucking & fucking. Um yeah, that concept is a bullshit joke in and of itself. Kinda like trying to somehow make room for female sailors on SSBN/GN boats or a fast attack. Let's think up a whole new class of boats before we seriously delve in this subject in operational and real life.

9/25/2009 9:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the number of submarine design experts here. I have a feeling the solution will be much simpler than the ship-overhaul option.

1) The SSORM will be rewritten to designate female berthing areas and regulations pertaining thereto.

2) Female officers will be introduced to subs on a limited basis.

3) Full integration will happen after appropriate study of the slits-on-boats test-case.

I hear a lot more "can't be done" than "here's how we'd do it if we had to." Better change your latitude if you want to survive in the sub force of the next 20 years.

9/25/2009 10:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I left the boat after my first and only tour in the navy. Holy shit people, the chiefs quarters on usta fish ain't gonna be kind to these women. Second, commodore of my squadron in SD in 1993 couldn't keep it out of the the cute little squadron jo, then the recent capt of a boat about 2 years ago was porking one of his guy's wives. O gang will get to crack the hot ones. chiefs get the average to just a little chuncky. And the rest falls to good old "A" gang. The "A" gang I served with would F a rock pile that had a snake in it.

9/25/2009 10:33 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

In response to comment about what would happen with getting dressed in emergency. After I got out I spent several years at a chemical manufacturing company. We did have one case where one of the women got exposed to chemical spray and had to get into decon shower. There was no hesitation on her part and no liberties taken by any of the guys responding to get issue taken care of. Nothing had to be said to anyone at the time to get out of the way, we had nobody standing around gawking.

As for upper body stength, I saw her many times lugging around heavy equipment, hoses, and tools without any help. She asked for help the same us the guys with large awkward items going up or down levels.


9/25/2009 10:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone tell me how many times we've had this conversation since the mid 80s? GUYS..GUYS!!..this whole COED concept is never going to work, so relax and drop your socks and rest your cocks. Combat readiness means everyone is ready to go. That includes not being a class 3 even from dental. Why else are we so careful in abiding to NR and making certain we're all good to go once it's time to deploy and take her down?

We're not talking about allowing females to attempt to proceed through BUDS and seal training. Not Infantry either, and not making them tankers or forward observers spotting for the field artillery. All those jobs in life would be much less of a burden in cost and financing.

If we try and put females on a boat in an operational or even a temporary training situation, just stop for a moment and think of the cost overruns. There is no FUCKING WAY this would work out in a positive fashion. If we had a plausible solution which benefits all boats and all squadrons everywhere in this big bad world, don't you THINK we would have implemented said solution 10 to 20 years ago??!!

So tell me something new. Give me a new argument which has not already been presented in possibly going coed in the last 20 years. If I'm wrong then prove it to me. Just remember my only qualm many times have we had this same bullshit conversation over the last 2.5 decades?? Has anything changed since then?

Another STSC

9/25/2009 11:35 PM

Anonymous Former Squadron Rider said...

Women are coming, my guess is 2021 when the first SBSD hits the water. Saw a brief on it at the 2008 EDMC conference. Some talk of extra room in the design to allow for "hapitability upgrades" but many sets of tight lips when specifically asked about women.

Women on current platforms, probably have to be 726 class. Not sure how to make it all fit though. Convert the GUCL to female head? They could have the logroom, SSNs seem to do Ok without one. Gain some space in MCC or NAV CTR with upgrades in the electronics to bring things into the 80s. As far as giving one crews head to 4 bunkrooms of women, that's 4 sinks, 3 shitters and 2 showers for 36 crew and the other 10 bunkrooms (90 crew) use the other 4 sinks , 3 shitters, and two showers. Yeah, that won't cause any morale problems. Chiefs and Officers will just have to get to know each other a little bit better. So, we split the crew in half. Wait, what? How are we going to sea with half the crew unqualified. Nope that won't work.

Is it going to happen? Yes, eventually. How are we going to fix all the problems? The same way we have all the other problems. Can we make it work? Sure. Will we lose women to pregnancy? Undoubtedly. They'll be just as gone as the three guys we lost within three weeks of underway due to various brain pains. I always thought the best way to get through the issues was to meet it head-on. Get everybody in one room, lock the doors and have the COB yell, "OK, everybody get naked!" Everybody strips, has a good look around, then the COB yells, "OK, there. You've seen it all. Now get dressed and let's get to work."

Just a very tired opinion after a 56-hour "day" on the boat.

9/25/2009 11:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope all the guys who wear stars on a daily basis are reading all this. Does the SECNAV read this blog too?

Unless the DC think tank has a new solution, I suspect we're clear from having to redesign or make any changes too soon.

9/26/2009 12:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So much nonsense here.

This is about talent. 65% of college engineers are female -- we need them period.

I changed my mind 8 years when speaking to the Battalion Commander at the Boston NROTC consortium.

3.86 at MIT, just happened to be female.

What are you going to do in the Navy?

answer: "Surface Nuke"

my though: "Why the heck would you do that?"

Oh - we are passing up on this kind of talent - dumb!

No privacy is a good thing.

We can manage heads and beds -- we are smarter than the skimmers.

There ARE good arguments against women on ships but those we are passed that -- it is a reality.

Time to join the Fleet -- and we need them.

Let's stop whining and get after it.

I will take the first batch.

Sub CO

9/26/2009 5:43 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

My PERSONAL feelings aside here, the CO makes a lot of valid points.

So much nonsense here.

Indeed...someone spoke earlier of (and I'm paraphrasing here) the High-School grabassing, and it's clear from the text of some that they have not moved past that. We're all adults here, folks...act like it.

This is about talent. 65% of college engineers are female -- we need them period. .

NEED? Not so sure of the "Need", but their talents certainly wouldn't hurt the force at all. So, with that said, "Need" gives way to "Want". Fair enough?

I changed my mind 8 years when speaking to the Battalion Commander at the Boston NROTC consortium. 3.86 at MIT, just happened to be female."

First off, as I alluded to earlier, I still haven't changed MY mind, but, yes, the time has come. With that out of the way, there is no real need to quantify brain-pan's, men vs. women. We're all smart people, and we all bring something to the table. A 3.86 at MIT isn't going to impress me if the person can't contribute to the overall mission. How many people do we know that fall into THAT category?

No privacy is a good thing.

Huh? OK, earlier, I said you had some valid points (which you do), but I'm trying, unsuccessfully, to wrap my head around this one.

We can manage heads and beds -- we are smarter than the skimmers.

Very true on both counts, but the skimmers have more experience with women in ships. Doesn't mean they manage the process well (which, from my recent observations, they don't), but they do have the experience. I could make a lot of valid arguement why we should NOT use them as a baseline from which our process is built.

There ARE good arguments against women on ships but those we are passed that -- it is a reality.

Good arguements, yes. VALID arguements (and I AM differentiating, here), not really. It IS indeed a reality, and will likely be broadened within the next 5 years or so. Why? Because all the valid arguements can and will be addressed with reasonably simple solutions. These are not really complex issues we are facing here, but rather simple ones that won't take 10 years and $3 Billion to hammer out. Oh, and no, we will certainly NOT need to design a whole new class of submarine simply because we need to put women on them. Get real.

Time to join the Fleet -- and we need them.

Back to the "Need/Want" thing here.

Let's stop whining and get after it.

Either that or shelve the topic permanently.

I will take the first batch.

I admire your cojones, but have no wish to join you!

9/26/2009 6:50 AM

Anonymous Kolohe said...

This is about talent. 65% of college engineers are female -- we need them period.

Sub CO
Sir, this "fact" you pulled from your fourth point of contact is so utterally and completely wrong, that if you are really a sub CO, I'm glad I'm not going to sea anymore.

A little of half of college graduates now are women, bu engineering is still a male dominated major by a large margin. (3 to 1)

9/26/2009 8:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do not need women who are willing to be in submarines, sir. What we need is a command climate that nurtures and fosters good JOs and makes the good ones willing to stay on for a DH tour.

We're killing our good JOs and pushing them into the arms of civilian companies. The DHs we're left with after that meat grinder are either overly ambitious, prior enlisted working for a retirement pension, or too stupid to leave.

9/26/2009 8:57 AM

Anonymous karen reed said...

I think that putting women into close confined quarters with males is a bad idea and ignores biology.
Both males and females exude fragrances, phenomes, sexual attractants. When a woman is ovulating the phenomes she exudes change male behavior and make it hard for the male to think clearly. In a submarine, the air and chemical sexual attractants are terribly concentrated 24/7 because of the confined living space.

The decision of whether it is politically correct to put women on submarines is partially in the hands of the politically connected such as the navy higherups. But the decision here should be made with consultation with psychiatric researchers and pHd psychologists who really understand the biological issues.

Karen Reed, RN

9/26/2009 10:17 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Back in the mid seventies,I was XO of a long hull 594 (better known as SSN615 and 617). They were built as large as the 637 Class but since the electronics, etc. to take up the space on the 637 hadn't been decided yet, the additional space was turned into berthing areas. As I was touring the Commodore one afternoon, I commented that this 9 man bunk room with its own head facilities would be an ideal bunk room for women if they were introduced to submarines. The Commodore, in no uncertain terms, told me to keep my mouth shut and he would personally see that I was fired if he heard such talk again. (Rickover had just permitted women to go to the surface nuclear program so there was some talk about a few being sent to subs). Ten years later, I encountered the Chief ELT at the New London Sub Support Facility. SHE was one of the sharpest ELTs I have ever met and would have been thrilled to have her on my sub. She had gone to one of the first enlisted nuclear powered classes that admitted women and had risen to the rank of Senior Chief in the Surface Nuc Navy. Word around the fleet in the late seventies was that Rickover permitted women to join the program to prove that they were not capable of performing to his high standards. Of course, the women proved him very wrong.
So, you can see that this topic has been around for some time. The reasons against Women in Subs are the same now as they were thirty years ago. They are just as wrong now as they were thirty years ago. Men are going to have to learn to be adults all of the time, not just when with their wives and girlfriends. It will be a cultural change but, IMHO, it will improve, not detract, from the readiness of the fleet. However, I suspect that my spouse would disagree. I see most of the opposition to this to come from the current distaff side of the sub force, the ones left behind when the sub gets underway. There is still an education job to do before making it a reality, but it will come.

9/26/2009 10:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Interesting discussion.

The Royal Australian Navy has included women at sea in submarines for the last ten years. Throughout my command, my crew included up to 6 at a time.

During one exercise we embarked two USN female technicians for a one week underway. They told me on the bridge as we approached the next port that the experience was their career highlight and they hoped one day the USN would be as 'progressive'.

The change to our force was imposed by the political leadership. It caused some angst, and a few people left. Many spouses were against the change. Many were unfazed. Some reasoned that they didn't want their democratic society to ban their daughters from serving their country in submarines if a workable solution could be found. I had some doubts. Today, women in submarines in Australia is successful and taken for granted.

I have served with men and women that I never want to go to sea with again. I have also served with men and women I would hand pick for a crew if I had the chance. There are some challenges that are unique to a female crew, but I have seen them serve distinction at sea for up to 55 days between ports.

Having been to sea in 688s and completed a deployment in a RN S class boat, I think the domestic challenges of introducing women to the USN sub service are the same and as stated by others here, it is probably more a case of "when" rather than "if" it will happen.

9/26/2009 11:00 AM

Blogger Jarrod said...

1) Wives aren't in the Navy, so their policy input isn't worth anything. If it were, we wouldn't be working 14 hours a day and standing four section duty.

2) Are the wives really that mistrustful of their husbands? I pity you if your relationships are so weak. Either way, have you forgotten that subs make port calls in places that have women who love American men (Australia) and in places infamous for sex tourism (Thailand)?

9/26/2009 11:18 AM

Blogger Jarrod said...

3) When I was a plebe my squad leader was on the powerlifting team and wound up going into the EOD community. I have no doubt that she'd be able to handle a submersible pump or a fire hose. (Not that it matters, but to head it off she was smokin' hot, too.)

4) Introducing women into the force would require submarine sailors to grow up, it's true. I'm hard pressed to see how that's a bad thing. Everyone else in the world has had to advance past adolescence and be professional.

9/26/2009 11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When ADM Mullen was CNO he also publicly stated that he supported women serving on submarines so this news report is not a change of position on his part. Additionally, a former MCPON and submariner, Master Chief Scott, also publicly stated that he thought it was time for women to be allowed to serve on submarines -- four years ago.

When I was aboard Sturgeon in the early 90's a particular lady Machinist's Mate seemed to be on the boat a lot fixing this or that. Late one night during my midnight tour as EDO I found her laying on top of the ESGN cabinet in control wrestling a ventilation hull valve out of the overhead which needed to be rebuilt. Single-handedly she pulled out that valve and carried it to the tender. The next day during the dinner hour she was again on top of the ESGN cabinet single-handedly re-installing the valve. This girl put most of the A-gangers to shame with her skill and determination to get the job done. The DCA, Engineer and, I expect, the A-Div LCPO, as well as I would have welcomed her aboard the ship.

While at SUBLANT as a watch officer; the BCA watchfloor was manned by a dozen female radiomen that all wanted the chance to serve aboard subs. And none of them were pregnant and stashed at SUBLANT. These young women wanted to be a part of the out-in-front Navy, to contribute the best they could, and service aboard submarines was the logical place to do that in their career path. I've no doubt that if given the chance they would've done well.

The argument that it's to difficult or expensive to modify existing submarines to accomodate the female Sailor is a red herring as are most arguments. There is no impediment other than social perception keeping women off submarines.

Last year a young female Sailor was awarded a silver star for her actions in combat. Thousands of young women in other services, while not assigned to "combat units" have seen real combat in the last seven years. No one in the military has argued that the mission effectiveness of these units had somehow been reduced by their presence.

The Sub CO who commented about the MIT student is more on the mark than most in this discussion understand. The fact is, the Navy cannot recruit sufficient young men who are academically qualified for service in submarines. Today, all upper level math and science classes in American high schools are overwhelmingly female in composition. This translates to fewer and fewer American scientists, engineers and mathematicians at the college level now and in the future. The fella that commented that male engineering students outnumber females 3 to 1 doesn't mention that most of those men are foreign and are thus ineligible to serve in the US Navy. The sub CO is right on the mark in implying that we're only hurting ourselves by not accessing the increasing numbers of smart, academically qualified girls for the submarine service.

And to the idiot that argued that ADM Mullen is parroting the President... Obviously you've never met ADM Mullen -- or even have heard the good Admiral speak on any number of issues lately. Suffice to say that the man is highly respected for his candor in all circles.

For me, it is a little hard to argue that women shouldn't serve on submarines because it doesn't suit our sensibilities when women are coming home decorated for service in combat or worse, injured or dead. From that perspective, one not familiar with the submarine force might get the idea that we're a little bit too parochial.


9/26/2009 1:06 PM

Blogger joseph kadinger said...

what about the fact that a woman cannot be around the reactor if she is pregnant or having her time of the month? this was a problem years ago which is one reason they stopped this program. you cant pull into port for 5 days a month. i am a retired submariner 21 years

9/26/2009 1:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad that I'll never have to deal with it. God I pity the COB. For those that are so eager for this, go review the thread on pranks and jokes. Throw women into that mix and how many masts and ruined careers would there be? I know we're all grown men but young sailors can come up with some funny but sick stuff that only a Bubblehead can appreciate and laugh at. Problems? Why do wake-ups take so long? Why is ERLL so clean? Where did all the women's underwear disappear to? Why is there a "2 man rule" to enter AMR?
I agree it's going to happen eventually. It will be painful but we will adapt.


As a point of Honor, none of my A-gangers would have taken on a snake in a pile of rocks unless the snake had cold beer or money!

9/26/2009 2:14 PM

Anonymous sobersubmrnr said...

Back in the mid-90s, the Navy commissioned a study into the feasibility of placing women in submarine crews. You can read that study here: 020195.pdf

The conclusion of the study was such a decisive 'NO' that the SECNAV's directive to revisit the subject annually was dropped. All the issues brought up here (SSBN vs. SSN, berthing, career path, medical, etc.) are covered, as is submarine culture. Recommended reading.

Since it was decided that placing women on the boats back in the Clinton years was a bad idea, what has changed? Answer: nothing. This is about gender politics and political correctness, not the good of the service or the country.

To those of you who don't think the wives should or will have a say in this, you're kidding yourselves. The wives were very unhappy the last time this issue came up and if the Navy goes through with it, they will go berserk. A lot of guys will be getting out.

To the Aussie: the US and Australia have different cultures. Comparing us to you won't work. Comparing Oz to Sweden, Norway or Canada is more appropriate. We're still hotly debating allowing homosexuals to openly serve, that debate was over in your part of the world years ago. Just sayin'.

I've been to sea on a boat with women for extended periods and it was a pain, despite those women being mature test engineers instead of young, homone-laden women in their teens and twenties. I've also been to sea on a skimmer and that ship was nothing more than a floating haze gray high school. Time won't permit me to recount here all that I saw on that ship, but the fooling around was extensive. This is a bad idea, the skimmers haven't worked out the problems of mixed-gender ships despite claims to the contrary by the Navy leadership, so there is no good reason to integrate submarine crews. This is a bad, bad idea.

9/26/2009 3:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it, we need women on submarines just like we need wives at do the cooking and cleaning!


The man supply is drying up. If women want to do it, let them (why they would actually want to is beyond me). They can perform just as good as any man can. The Chief's will be told to make this happen and they will...just like everything else.

The new generation of submariners are taking over and they can handle it...just like the gay issue.

For the wives: don't believe all that "we couldn't do it without you" crap the Navy tells you at pre-deployment nights. Most of the boat leadership would prefer that guys are not married. Sorry, but the truth hurts. You really have no say in the matter.

9/26/2009 3:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it, we need women on submarines just like we need wives at do the cooking and cleaning!


The man supply is drying up. If women want to do it, let them (why they would actually want to is beyond me). They can perform just as good as any man can. The Chief's will be told to make this happen and they will...just like everything else.

The new generation of submariners are taking over and they can handle it...just like the gay issue.

For the wives: don't believe all that "we couldn't do it without you" crap the Navy tells you at pre-deployment nights. Most of the boat leadership would prefer that guys are not married. Sorry, but the truth hurts. You really have no say in the matter.

9/26/2009 3:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

sobersubmrnr's post simply amplifies what I said last night in my post...

"If we had a plausible solution which benefits all boats and all squadrons everywhere in this big bad world, don't you THINK we would have implemented said solution 10 to 20 years ago??!!"

Another STSC

9/26/2009 3:49 PM

Blogger Jarrod said...

Anyone who thinks pregnant women can't be around radiation obviously hasn't read the Radcon. I won't go into specifics here but those of you who don't know better can take the lookup.

9/26/2009 3:58 PM

Blogger Daniel Golding said...

{what about the fact that a woman cannot be around the reactor if she is pregnant or having her time of the month? this was a problem years ago which is one reason they stopped this program. you cant pull into port for 5 days a month. i am a retired submariner 21 years}

No, the reason they stopped having female nucs back in the day had to do with billets, not radcon issues. They've had female nucs on carriers again for the last 10 years or so.

Time of the month? What? Why would ionizing radiation do worse things to eggs than to sperm?

A coworker of mine was an RO on a skimmer and married a female RO. I refer to it as "a lesbian relationship", just for fun.

9/26/2009 6:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i feel a small amount of pity for the first US Navy Enlisted woman that is given a Submarine qual card to complete.


9/26/2009 6:17 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

more sympathy than pity STS.

9/26/2009 6:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't need to do anything to the existing designs in order to accommodate women. We just need to let them know up front that they will be treated just like everyone else. And we need to have good leadership to make it happen.

If I have to brush my teeth while one guy is taking a shower, a second guy is taking a crap, a third guy is using a urinal and a fourth guy is brushing his teeth next to me (all of us w/in arms reach) then so can they. It isn't that big of a deal. We will just get used to it and we/they will have to be prepared for it.

Leaders will have to prepare us.

We might have to do something that we don't, as a force, know how to do (or are just to lazy) - actually mentor the junior sailors and officers. The older and more mature among us will have to use a little leadership (holy shit that would be hard) to get everyone to work together with as few sexual harassment lawsuits as possible.

We do mentoring now. I can put it all in one sentence (Do your job, asshole). But we may have to add a few more sentences to make a policy like this actually work out.

This is going to happen eventually and it will be up to the leaders to make it happen. The problem is that we are so used to our very rigid style of RPM leadership (follow the procedures and follow the orders or I put a boot up your ass) that we don't know how to deal with people as people.

There are no procedures or guidance to tell us how to treat JO's so that we can get them to do DH tours. Our current plan is to throw money at them and hope for an economic crisis. That situation is a pure result of not having a depth of leadership to deal with people as people (instead of plug and play machines).

Now, putting women on submarines...what is the real problem. The problem is that it will be a change that requires a type of leadership that we are not used to using. We will have to anticipate challenges that aren't explained in tech manuals and haven't been analyzed by NR.

I think it will help the overall mission effectiveness if we are forced to develop that type of leadership. I'm not talking soft and cuddly...I'm talking about leading and treating sailors like human beings and not like submarine food (you go down the fwd hatch and if you survive your 3-5 years you get to exit the aft hatch)

9/26/2009 6:38 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Sorry, if the goal were to weaken the world's premiere submarine service, mixed gender crews would be the best avenue to do so quickly as the RAN has learned:

What arch-feminists are really proposing is masculinized women serving with consenting, feminized men. A society which encourages gender "blending" obviously promotes its own demise, but intruding the sanctity of military readiness crosses the line of sanity.

The Royal Australian Navy evidentally is not among such careless societies:

9/26/2009 6:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Vigilis, yes, a really decent officer was persecuted unfairly - as with most reports down under, the media was not accurate in its reporting - shocking no?

I thought the point about the differences in our culture was very valid - whilst I understand the differences of opinion, it just wasn't that big a deal when women were integrated into the crew, but not everyone was happy about it. If they want to do it, and they can, it does not bother me...(I couldn't do it, so I take my hat off to anyone that can)
Aussie wife.

9/26/2009 7:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Srvd_SSN_CO

no sympathy from me. if she's gonna look for that, i'll tell her that its located between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.

9/26/2009 7:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone giving odds on when the first CO/XO or COB goes down for sexual relations with one of the ladies??? On the usta fish had a female civilian rider that was in control with tight black spandex on. Old man realized what was going on and the fact the entire control room was pre occupied. told her boss to go have her change into something approprite. No BS story people. This is going to be trouble and eevery man that has gone deep knows this.

9/26/2009 8:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who think that the Australians have figured out the solution on how to crew a submarine, consider this: They have six COLLINS class boats and three crews. Yep, half of their submarine force is sitting idle because there are not enough qualified men and women combined to take them to sea. With luck, they might have a fourth crew in a couple years.

9/26/2009 8:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sub CO wrote:
"3.86 at MIT, just happened to be female.

What are you going to do in the Navy?

answer: "Surface Nuke"

my though: "Why the heck would you do that?"

Oh - we are passing up on this kind of talent - dumb!"

I did my six and out, got my BS while working in commercial nukes and still do. Along the way I've seen plenty of high GPA "talent" who didn't have enough sense to get out of the rain. Furthermore, the Navy's inability to recruit just exposes the fact that there are better opportunities out there for those with "talent." Guess it's time to up the ante like the commercial world is discovering.

One other thought, Sub CO, you're exactly the type of "Perfumed Prince" Col David Hackworth was so fond of abusing before he passed. Thank God I wasn't on "your" boat.

9/26/2009 8:32 PM

Blogger Daniel Golding said...

to the "sub co" - actually, female engineering students are 10 to 15%, not 65%. We'll leave that as a lookup for you.

to the guy who just insulted "sub co" by invoking Hackworth - tell it to ADM Boorda. Hackworth was a tool.

I've been out of the Navy a while. Since then i've worked in plenty of engineering organizations with females (usually a small percentage). They cause problems and they are make the organization more efficient. The former, you know about - workplace romance. The latter? They tend to make really outstanding leaders of engineers and are very good project managers. Thats a generalization, but true across a large sample. They tend not to be rockstar engineers themselves, but have a non-destructive way of getting the best out of existing (male) teams.

All female teams are horrifyingly scary (they kill each other). All male teams are ok, but there are certainly issues - mostly bullying and intellectual chest-beating. But teams with 80 to 90% men and a few women tend to be higher performing.

There will be issues: look for reliefs for cause of COs, XOs, DHs, COBs, EDMCs, LCPOs for frat with far junior crew members. Look for crappy command climates because of said frat. Overall, however, its time to man up and get used to the idea. If it helps you at all, most of them will be piss-pot ugly.

9/26/2009 9:11 PM

Blogger geezernuke said...

I'm surprized that there are no comments discussing the similarities of women astronauts serving along with men in the confines of an orbiting space station. Must not be any astronuts reading this blog nor submariners who have been in orbit. (chum)


9/26/2009 9:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Astronauts tend to be older. Not their late teens and early twenties. I think that is the real difference. And they went through a hell of a lot more than BESS and have a lot more to lose if they screw around.

9/26/2009 10:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crazy lady drives in diapers to kidnap the other astronaut that is having sex with her boyfriend. Sounds like they've got all of the kinks worked out over at NASA.

9/26/2009 10:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole reason that Budweiser helped Rickover build submarines was to let guys get away from women. The wives club was an unforeseen side effect that also helped while we are in port

9/26/2009 11:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as long as they remember "THERE'S NO CRYING ON SUBMARINES". Or in the middle of a good ass-chewing!


9/26/2009 11:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's never going to happen. This isn't NASA. This isn't the Aussie sub force or anything else. We were the first to have nuclear boats. There are only four other countries with nuclear boats and none of them have women on board as the permanent crew. This topic tends to come up every 10 years and nothing has come of it. What makes this time so special?

9/27/2009 12:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Astronauts, seriously.. Don't you remember seeing the news headlines about the astronaut that was caught in a love scandal. Didn't she drive several hundred miles to kill.

9/27/2009 7:03 AM

Blogger phw said...

It's not just a women thing. Men can have those types of emotional difficulties. The issue is not women. The issue is men and women working closely together a submarine environment. Men are hardwired to compete for women, so that tendency will have to be dealt with. How will the sexual tensions be managed? Will it be any different than those problems on a surface ship or other integrated military units, or will it be worse? Will there be any new impact on submarine families (that impact will be indicated by divorces and/ or falling retention)?

There is the experience of NASA and it is true that there is similarities such as isolation and close quarters. There is also some significant difference. For example, screening for astronauts is MUCH stricter. Astronauts are closely monitored while in space. Also astronauts remain in communication with their families while in space. Yet very bad problems still occur.

There is the experience of other navies. We can learn from them, but as others point out there are significant cultural differences that may make the transition easier. For example Americans tend to be pretty hung up about sexual issues. Many cultures are not. We will need to grow up a little to make this work and it can't be just the military.

9/27/2009 8:45 AM

Anonymous sobersubmrnr said...

The Shuttles are in orbit for two weeks, max. That's it. Duty on the ISS is about 4-6 months. If a female is up there, she's there with two Russians. They stay over in their modules while the American woman stays over in hers. Plenty of privacy and separation. Astronauts are also either experienced military or naval aviators or PhDs. Mature folks. Even so, we had one female astronaut wig out a few years ago. That person also happened to be a Captain in the USN. A senior officer, diaper and all.

9/27/2009 9:00 AM

Anonymous sobersubmrnr said...


Interesting links. Having been around a lot of Aussie sailors, including submariners, I somehow doubted that they would be as open to women on their crews as we would be led to believe.

9/27/2009 9:02 AM

Anonymous Laughter in Manslaughter said...

Yes, females on skimmers have never caused problems. That's why there's more than a few stories of guys banging chicks on the ships. I'm sorry, but SSNs are not designed for mixed gender crews. Maybe surface and civilian people should hop onto a sub for a 6 month deployment and see how comfortable it would be.

9/27/2009 10:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the comments left on this blog only prove that the current generation of 20 somethings isn't ready, the submarines mission leaves no room for the behavior that would follow allowing women on subs....Here is an idea, all women crews. Here are the keys, enjoy. Mixed crews would cause this proud navy submariner to to leave the underworld and seek new employment. No offense intended to any woman who actually desires to join our world.


9/27/2009 3:54 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Someone recently posted that we will have to find leaders if we get women on subs. Said twit also said we have no idea how to get JOs to be DHs, which is why we pay them.

It's ALL leadership pal. I think right now I am about 90% on JOs going back for DH tours. My predecessor was exactly 0%.

Just admit you've had crappy leaders and you probably are one, but don't lump the rest of in with you.


Joel, that SD news article says you have predicted women on subs in <5yrs. Got a pool going?

9/27/2009 4:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only person making ANY sense in terms of reason here is Karen Reed. Not exactly a good percentage (1%?) for smart comments.

The name-callers here -- on either side of the issue -- need to back down and let their dendrites they're obviously not adding anything except their opinions. And, yes, we all know that everyone has one of those.

Thanks for sharing the matter-of-fact intelligence and wisdom, Karen. Hopefully cooler heads -- and less 2nd-rate-political-wannabees -- will prevail.

9/27/2009 7:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:48pm -

1:00 - You are the guy on the left.

9/27/2009 8:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

9/27-1948 Anon,
I gotta throw the bs flag on that comment. Of all the opinions offered here, hers is the least informed or even that useful.

I think her scientific mumbo-jumbo is irrelevent if not downright silly. I doubt the atmosphere on a submarine is much different than that in any commercial office environment in any modern, air-tight, high-rise building which are filled with thousands of men and women in fairly close quarters. In fact, I would argue that the molecules of all those complex chemicals she mentions wouldn't hold together very long after being passed through either a burner, the scrubber, the charcoal bed and a spot cooler and certainly not after traversing the entire loop. And honestly, we ventilate the ship pretty frequently when underway anyway.


9/27/2009 9:09 PM

Blogger joseph kadinger said...

i am sorry but you were wrong, females not being able to perform their nuckear duties duriong their time of the month was a factor in stopping the program! i was wstatione din virginia at the time and was stationed on the piers when there was a big mess over pregnant females pulled from duty day status when they needed to perform certain functions aboard one of the boats relating to the reactor. i personally heard these complaints form guys who had to fill in for them!

9/28/2009 1:01 AM

Anonymous EX ANAV/COB said...

Lot's of good arguments on both sides. Why are so many posters on this topic signed in as Anonymous? Grow a set and sign in if you are so passionate WRT to your stance on this position. When I read comments from older folks and disregard the wives comments, it is ALMOST starting to make sence. I am a 30 year retired former ANav, COB, CMC and CWO4. I've had to try to figure out berthing for female riders (painful, but accoplished). As a CMC on a Skimmer, I dealt w/females, some damn hard workers, some useless as tits on a banana. As A CWO4 (submarine Bos'n) the department was made up of primairly junior females. Sure there were problems trying to position anchor chains (125 pounds/link), but we always moored. Sure we had pregnancies and sure we had males who had sand in thier pu$$ies who weren't worth a spent tampon. Previously, I woould have turned in my fish when the first female reports to an SSN, now, I have second thoughts. THere are enough people in the know running around with 20 pound brains that can figure out the logisitc of this issue. For all of you hardliners, put your tools down (no pun intended), step back, take a deep breath and think about the idea of females on an SSN. There are a lot of female out there who will do a damn good job at what ever they are assigned to do, and you will have just as many males who will whine and find the nearest fan room to hide out in to avoid doing what they are assigned to do. We as males are far from perfect. It just might take a fermale on an SSN to square away the lazy assholes (male) each boat has that you can only hope/wish get tossed off the boat so you can focus on the import things at hand like "support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic".

Oh yea,
Fred Louese, CWO4 retired (you quit at 20, retire at 30)

9/28/2009 5:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

120 comments... wow. If I'm repeating someone else's comment, mea culpa.

Yet, I agree with srvd_co. You'd have to go completely genderblind. Make everybody who volunteers for submarine duty sign a page 13 entry stating they can't expect any privacy. Period. "SNM volunteers to serve on any submarine of the Pacific or Atlantic fleet with no expectation of privacy due to gender."

VA SSN could accommodate women in their upper level berthing over the Control Room. Its cramped as hell, but it could be done easily.
If you want to say that SSBN/SSGNs are the only suitable submarine platforms for woman (for the time being) there's problems inherent with that. By restricting a handful of women to one head, and everyone else using another creates a habitability issue. If you're going to bunk all the females together regardless of rank, then you'd have the female CPOs and officers declining to volunteer due to the lack of privileges of rank. I wouldn't blame a female chief for not wanting to bunk with the rest of the crew after having worked hard to earn her anchors. You'd have to keep track of then in multiples of nine. BuPers would have to come up with a submarine female detailer to coordinate it all. Its a logistical nightmare.

Despite what I've said about how to make it work, I still think its wrong. Women, though capable of fulfilling any duty onboard a submarine doesn't mean they should. Its immoral, and demoralizing to men.

Men are wired psychologically to protect women. That will never change. Before I retired, I talked to a young man who was on the USS Cole when it was bombed. He told me that men left their GQ stations to check on their girlfriends after the attack. I've known several Recruit Company Commanders who have all kinds of stories about catching recruits in hook-ups, despite being told the consequences for doing so. And we all know this kind of shit goes on in other vessels. Its prejudicial to good order and discipline. Instead of focusing on the mission, now you have a distraction because no matter how bad you wish it to be otherwise, or how many instructions you promulgate, you're not going to change the nature of men and women.

Inherently we know deep down its wrong to put women in combat. We've just blurred the lines and said, "Well, its ok if they fly planes, or serve on ships, or..." Then there's the whole problem of fraternization and sexual harassment. Yes, it happens between men, but its extremely rare, you'll have to agree. With women aboard you have to constantly worry about it. This is coming from a close, longtime friend of mine who is now a CMDCM of a destroyer.

For thousands of years women were kept out of the horrors of war. For good reason. Its immoral to take the portion of our humanity designed for nurturing and giving life and turning them into killers. In millennia past, men came have come home broken from the horrors of war and were rehabilitated by the women. Who's going to rehabilitate them if they've been exposed to the same horrors as men? The military is not a platform for social experimentation or engineering. The purpose of the military is to kill the enemy and destroy their assets. In the process might have the same. Why do we think its a good idea for women to do that?

9/28/2009 8:12 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Why do we think its a good idea for women to do that?

When you say "We", I assume you mean "Men" rather than "Society". That being the case, the question is rhetorical....We don't, and, for all intents and purpose, never have. The issue is that of equality and, like it or not, "we" have an obligation to accept equality. Not situationally, but unilaterally. We don't have to like it but, at some point we'll have to do it.

9/28/2009 9:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking of more maturity in you mean we lack that maturity on our SSBN's? Considering the purpose, I find that very scary and probably worthy of a congressional investigation.

Careful what you admit in public.

9/28/2009 10:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is about combat readiness, not "gender equality," or any other PC bullshit.

Keep the focus on combat readiness, and I'm fine with wherever the arguments go. Try to snow me with politically correct horseshit, and you might want to stand back a bit while I (and others) throw up.

9/28/2009 10:15 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Your argument is not germane. In my opinion, there is no moral dimension to this debate. Women serve in the military. Women are dying and being injured in combat today regardless of whether or not they're assigned to a combat unit. The debate to which you allude was had in 1978 with the decision that women will serve in the military (albeit with restrictions). In 1994, women went to sea in all ships (except submarines). You admit yourself that women are physically capable of doing anything on a submarine. That's the end of the debate in my mind.

I just cannot except the notion that men "are hardwired to protect women". Are the thousands of cases of spouse abuse not sufficient to prove to you that that singular idea is baseless? The implication of your statement also negates the great sacrifices that brother Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Air Men have made to look after their buddies, to enquire after their friends in the heat of battle irrespective of the mission. Are we somehow to believe that those efforts to protect a vital friendship aren't valid when there is a female added to the mix?

Your notion that women have been (spared) the horrors of war is also wrong and is somewhat demeaning to women. Women have known the horrors of war only too well since the first caveman defended his territory from the neighboring clan. Alexander the Great's army was attended by thousands of women both on the battlefield and in the bivouac. The same was the case with Napolean's armies. Our own experience during the civil war was, likewise, the same on both sides. In every conflict, when manpower ran short, women frequently stepped into the breach. And let's just stipulate here that everyone, both men and women, military and civilian, were subject to the "horrors of war" after World War I.

Your idea that "all of us deep down think it's wrong" certainly does not apply to me. I have no problem whatsoever with women serving in any combat role. In fact, given the all-volunteer military, I am deeply convicted that it is "morally wrong" to NOT expect women to serve in every capacity that men serve in the military; especially combat.


9/28/2009 10:42 AM

Anonymous Word said...

Gotta love facts (versus opinions):

"Of the 42 countries that operate submarines, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Canada and Australia allow women to serve on them, although those countries' diesel submarines go to sea for shorter periods than the nuclear submarines operated by the U.S. Navy."

- Washington Post

9/28/2009 10:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that link. I had never read that before and it was interesting reading.

9/28/2009 11:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I did mean "we" as a society. I'm all for women having equal rights. They should not be denied the right to vote, own property, pursue their careers (or stay home), or any of the other stuff in the Bill of Rights.

However, serving in the military is not a right. The military rightly discriminates its candidates. We don't think that a blind person or someone in a wheelchair has a right to serve in the military.

Professions that used to be strictly male professions had size, endurance, and fitness standards. Those had to be lowered in order for women be afforded opportunities in those fields. But the tasks for those jobs are still the same. They don't change just because they're being accomplished by a woman. The DACOWITS commission in the early 90s found that a physically fit 28 y/o woman had the same strength and endurance as an average 45 y/o man. Generally, a 45 y/o man is disqualified from entering the service. Why is that level of performance acceptable because it a woman?

Anon @ 9/28/2009 10:15 AM:
I don't know about anybody else, but I was indeed referring to combat readiness. As I stated in my comment:

Women, though capable of fulfilling any duty onboard a submarine doesn't mean they should."

I think women in combat units are detrimental to that unit’s combat readiness and effectiveness. There are plenty of examples of units with females that struggle to remain mission ready.

My argument is most certainly relevant, regardless if you or anyone else recognizes it as so. This is why I brought it up, because no one had. And I'm well aware of how this all came about. Just because women are doing it now doesn't make it right. That like saying that because a few people are looting and rioting, its okay for everyone else to loot and riot now.

You make my argument for me. Those men that abuse act contrary to their nature, and are disordered. Obviously so. If abusive men were the norm, then there would be no punishment for the act. Also, I don't understand how you take what I said about protecting women a slight to the men who gave their last full measure of devotion for their comrades.

I'm speaking in general terms because there are just too many minor variations to be listed when making an argument. I am familiar with your historical examples of woman who followed (but not in) armies. I still assert that the vast majority of women did not participate in combat in any way. Yes, I concede that there are cases of women who were following armies, and they performed whatever duties and tasks. Again, except in rare instances, they didn't participate in battle, either. Those that did, did so out of desparation, not as the rule. Pointing out a minor instance doesn't make an argument that it should be the norm.

I think it’s sad that you don't think this is wrong. I'm sad for our civilization as a whole that thinks its okay to train women to be killers.

9/28/2009 11:53 AM

Anonymous Enough said...

Why are there so many skimmers and non-quals giving their (EGOATAS) "opinion" here? Like they have any fucking clue.

This isn't about whether women are equal to men, as certainly at their true core they are. This is about does it make any fucking sense to mix genders for months at a time in really cramped quarters -- unlike any fucking skimmer on the planet -- and rationally expect good versus bad things?

I mean, holy fuck...where is our wisdom? Have we all become wind-up political toys?

9/28/2009 11:55 AM

Blogger phw said...

You need the politicians to get the money to buy the boats and (barely) pay the crews. If the politicians say that there will be ladies on the boat, then it will be so.

9/28/2009 12:15 PM

Blogger phw said...

and yes, I hate to say it, we are political windup toys. Just wind us up and away we go.

9/28/2009 12:23 PM

Anonymous sobersubmrnr said...

To Sonarman: Here, here!

Yes, folks. There is a moral issue to this. Why? Because the majority of Americans, male and female, still believe it is. The opinion of the majority *does* count, whether you like it or not.

The reason the issue of female casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan hasn't made a big splash is because the number of casualties has been low....low enough to stay below the radar. If we ever get into a major shooting war like WW2 or Korea, the number of women coming home in body bags will be noticed and once they notice, hard questions will be asked.


The problem is that the PC Police won't let us enforce proper discipline on the females. Many males in supervisory positions are afraid to crack down on the women for fear of a sexual harassment complaint. If we could actually create a level playing field without gender politics, quotas, etc., then your comments might have some merit. But until then, forget it.

9/28/2009 12:37 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

I appreciate your position; however, I reiterate it is not germane to this debate. The United States has already decided that women will serve in the military. Women Soldiers and Sailors are fighting and dying in combat right now irrespective of the units to which they are assigned. The debate here is whether or not the submarine force should follow the policies prescribed for all surface and aviation units.

No one, including me, is happy that men and women are dying in combat. Yet, I'm grateful that there are those, including you, who have willingly chose to serve the United States in this capacity. Today, there are women who have freely elected to share that burden. I refuse to be a party to an exclusionist policy that would deny such brave persons the chance to serve alongside when there is no reasonable argument to continue that policy.


9/28/2009 1:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re; enoughsaid
I do not come to this forum in search of a Sunday School lesson. I do come for the educated informed opinions offered. The vulgarity of your comments brings as much doubt to your educated opinion as those signed as skimmer or wife.

9/28/2009 1:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had to work females in an SSN reactor compartment before. It just isn't the same as all guys. On one job, I'll be damned if every pair of RADCON gloves I got out of the job box was size 8! Females can really kill readiness.

9/28/2009 1:33 PM

Anonymous ConersBlow said...

I would love to bang some fat wave in the RC.

Better stock up the boats with condoms and anal lube, Mullen.

Can you imagine pulling off patrol just because some sloppy wave has nasty goo coming out her snatch?

Think about the the stench in maneuvering when the female throttleman is on the rag. EABs will be required even on non-drill days.

And laundry...there will be a lot of dudes stealing panties. No more whacking off into socks, boys!!!

"Lube oil bay" will take on a whole new meaning.

9/28/2009 2:01 PM

Blogger Roy said...

Late to the party, as usual...

First, because someone upthread complained about skimmers and nonquals commenting (as though that really mattered), I qualified in 1974. I have been stationed on both boomers and fast attacks, and one tender. I have been out of the Navy 30 years.

This issue gets hashed out about every seven to ten years.

It's nothing new, really.

It might happen, and it might not.

Me? I don't have any real problem with it as long as the combat effectiveness of the sub force is not compromised and the existing all-male crews don't have to "suffer" for it.

However, the only way I can really see it happening is if they get enough female volunteers - and mostly young just-out-of-their-teens female volunteers - that can forgo their privacy for the length of a typical deployment.

What I mean by "forgo their privacy" doesn't even have to do with heads-and-beds" either. That problem can be solved by relatively minor boat modifications and by shuffling personnel schedules and assignments. No, what I am talking about is the sudden alarm to general quarters or a flooding casualty or other type of emergency. On a submarine, when the general alarm sounds, you jump out of that shower you were in, or that bunk you were sleeping in, and you high-tail it to your station post haste. Time = life or death. Clothing, or lack thereof, is not high on the priority list. I lost count of the number of times I saw the captain of the boat I was on at the periscope stand - in his skivvies. Or the number of times I sat at a sonar console, myself half dressed and the guy next to me starkers. (...some guys sleep "commando" if you know what I mean.)

If the girls can't live with that sort of thing, then they need to seek another career path.

By the way, in 1978-79, I was stationed on one of the first two ships in the regular Navy to go coed. It was USS LY Spear (AS-36). I have a few stories, both positive and negative, to tell about that experience, but will wait for another time.

And if I were still in, I think I would probably welcome the girls on board. They're soft, and they smell good even when they need a bath. And the thought of sliding past one of them - front-to-front - in one of those 2 ft wide passageways...

9/28/2009 3:00 PM

Anonymous Love To Eat Beaver said...

I would love to finally have some nice beaver to munch on while underway. I am tired of eating out my chief's asshole and pretending it is snatch.

9/28/2009 4:38 PM

Anonymous Enough said...

@phw: Don't be such a pussy. Politicians listen to the military, they don't dictate to it.

The military's chain of command certainly has a civilian Commander-in-Chief at the top, but those politicians that like to play monkey-fuck with things that they truly do not understand work for the American people...and the American people's motto is effectively "asses kicked upon request."

@Anonymous (& pusillanimous) motherfucker at 1:33pm: Grow a dick. If something doesn't make any fucking sense, you may be sure to find me at the head of the line saying that the king has no clothes. If this "policy" is fucking dumb, and for the simplest and most uncomplex of reasons as I stated earlier, then someone -- perhaps someone, unapologetically, with a dick -- needs to stand up and say so in no uncertain terms to those ignorant politicians that like to monkey-fuck with things they don't understand.

If it takes a little cursing to make the much the better.

9/28/2009 6:22 PM

Anonymous Fast Eddie said...

Finally we will be able to have anal sex on subs with females instead of just hot males!!!!

9/28/2009 7:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fast Eddie, I very much doubt you've ever seen any snatch outside of those skin magazines that your MOM keeps under her bed. You might want to toddle back in that direction.

9/28/2009 7:23 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Check out the latest testimonial from the Kitsap Sun:

"Laurie Wilkey, a retired chief petty officer from Poulsbo, supported the submarine force for much of her 22-year Navy career.

'I wanted so much to serve on a submarine,” she said. “I figured I could do the job, so why not?'

Those desires changed as the years went by.

'Having women onboard creates an environment that can disrupt the extremely important teamwork that is necessary on a submarine,' she said. 'On a submarine, each person takes care of the next without hesitation, without concern for one’s self. Changing those dynamics can have disastrous results.'"

Now, let's hear more of the can-do, should-do attitude from anonymous women and submarine types, and skimmers like Mullem!

Never served on a sub? Only served as an officer? - - - What makes you think you are relevant to this discussion?

9/28/2009 7:40 PM

Blogger SJV said...

The first "crewmember" who showed up to flooding in shaft alley without clothing would be just a bit unprepared. Maybe it works in the sonar shack, but I really can't see any vital gotta get there fast things up there.

I guess you can bring the DC bag, then, with those cylindrical shaped wooden plugs. What did we call those? Oh yeah. That's it. ;)

I think the difference in perspective on a mixed crew COULD give significant advantage. Maybe setup several mixed crews, wait about five years and then compare readiness. Do enough extra training with the leadership that you could take advantage of the diversity, and stand back. I'd take that boat to sea and smack all the guy boats dead. There's a reason the US leads in everything related to teamwork. It's diversity. We use it to advantage, and we need it in the subforce. Most of these arguments are rehashes of the crap that was said about mixed race military. Just a slightly different spin; but the common thread is that the complications from it will be too hard to deal with. Somehow that's worked out, although we still do have race issues in the military. Benefits have far outweighed the issues.

Figure it out and move forward, I say.

9/28/2009 7:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the time has come for this thread to end. It looks like the comments are devolving into "you aren't in my precise peer group so you don't deserve to speak."

Guess what chuckleheads - you're not going to convince anyone by insisting that "you haven't been there, you just don't understand." Start learning to argue coherently, or just shut up and row.

The primary argument here against women on subs is that combat readiness will suffer (via logistics or human/privacy factors). Now given that integration has been successful in various other communities, many of which actually have been in combat recently (in contrast to submarines), I'd say the anti-integration people need to prove their point with more than hypotheticals. I'm still waiting on any evidence of that.

Your lookup: go find a web link/news article that describes any of the previously mentioned breakdowns in combat readiness due to gender integration in US or foreign militaries. Post here and discuss.

9/28/2009 8:30 PM

Anonymous Polanski's Penis said...

I WANT TO SNIFF HOT, WET WAVE PANTIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THEN JERK OFF INTO MY SOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHILE FIELD-DAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9/28/2009 9:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Talking of more maturity in you mean we lack that maturity on our SSBN's? Considering the purpose, I find that very scary and probably worthy of a congressional investigation.

Careful what you admit in public."

Based on some of these posts,
this guy (or girl) had it right, maybe the sub force isn't mature enough to handle women on board.

Someone needs to take a good look at who is handling our WMD's. Maybe we should follow the UK's lead and start drawing down our SSBN's.

9/28/2009 9:32 PM

Blogger Roy said...

To sjv:

First, everything does not happen in shaft alley. And while I know it's popular for the folks aft of the tunnel to assume that the purpose of the entire boat is to support and house the engineering dept., I can assure you it is not. In fact, the purpose of the engineering dept - indeed the entire boat including sonar - is to put weapons on target.

So yes, it is indeed a necessity in an emergency to get to the sonar shack, or radio, or the torpedo room, or even shaft alley - as quickly as possible.

Like I said, I'm okay with women on boats as long as all the pitfalls are overcome. But then again, my opinion is worth exactly the same as yours - one vote on election day.

9/28/2009 10:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/29/2009 12:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/29/2009 1:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless you've actually served on one, you wouldn't believe the lack of maturity that runs rampant on all SSBNs/GNs. If you're going to be successful and happy in our community you better have a sense of humor. You better grow a thick skin. If you don't, you won't last long on a Trident.

9/29/2009 1:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Widget, you are right. To those of us who have served on a boat, the lifestyle seems normal. However, when the animal house antics are exposed to the "outside", i.e. the taxpayer who owns the boats and weapons, it looks pretty dumb.

The taxpayer doesn't care what it takes "to be successful and happy in our community". They pay us to be professionals.

Sometimes it was better to remain the silent service and not let people see "how the sausage is made".

9/29/2009 6:16 AM

Blogger SJV said...


What makes you think I'm a nuke? I just don't see target development being quite as urgent as flooding, no matter where. Maybe you disagree? You seem to miss the point that clothing is primarily for protection, not privacy.

9/29/2009 7:05 AM

Blogger SJV said...

Seems to me like the very reason we would benefit from having women on boats is plainly evident from reading this thread. Go figure. We're mostly a bunch of opinionated fools who don't see a need to listen before we talk.

9/29/2009 7:09 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

9/28-2138 Anon,
That's a good argument although I think it supports the opposite position.

Quit trashing the girls, pull down the "boys only" sign and grow up -- I think that's what you were aiming at.

I also think big Navy has been pretty flexible about this particular issue primarily because public perception was different 17 years ago. Times have changed significantly.

Four or five years ago then CNO, ADM Mullen, provided the first warning signals of impending change through comments publish in All Hands and Navy Times but he hadn't yet gone to Congress on the issue. One would think that a bunch of smart submariners might have picked up on the hint. Now, as CJCS, he has gone to Congress with unsolicited remarks and his thoughts have been published in even more public avenues. Additionally, the CNO and SECNAV are in agreement. In my mind, ADM Mullen is fairly well screaming at the submarine force to figure out how to do this before it gets rammed down our throats.

In my opinion, the submarine force has two options. We could stubbornly wait until the boss (Congress) tells us to integrate -- not a path I would choose. Or we could be proactive and publish a plan and a date after which US submarines will be integrated and then wait for Congress to say yes or no.


9/29/2009 7:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt there are a few sharp women who want to serve on submarines. There are a few strong women who can out muscle many men. How about the average woman who would join the submarine force?

If she is like the men, she will be 19-21 years old, unmarried, the child of divorced parents, mid- to lower- socio-economic status, high school education or maybe a year of college, a few tattoos, piercings in various places. She will have slept with half a dozen guys and not be overly picky about a bedmate, particularly when alcohol is involved. This is not meant as criticism, simply as a reality check.

Throw young men and young women together in a close environment for 6 months at a time and relationships will form. These relationships will be different than the camaraderie that exists between men. They will extend throughout the chain of command. All the regulations concerning fraternization will not prevent them, just as the laws against sexual harassment have not prevented inappropriate relationships by people at the highest levels of the chain of command. 200,000 years of human existence have depended on an irresistible attraction between the sexes. Wishing it away will not change the facts.

Introducing women into submarine crews would permanently alter the team dynamics. Is this important? Senior leadership will need to decide. They need to go into it with their eyes open. The U.S. submarine force has a legacy as one of the most effective fighting forces in history (WWII) and, having lost two nuclear submarines, has developed an exacting culture built on attention to detail and uncompromising standards. What role does team dynamics have on this culture? Would changing the dynamics create a system that was bound to fail? I don't know the answer but given the potential downside, it is question worthy of significant study. It's great to pontificate about holding people accountable but if leaders create a system that promotes failure, they are also culpable.

9/29/2009 8:00 AM

Blogger phw said...

While crudely stated "@enough", you have a point. Politicians listen to the military.

Who advises the politicians on things military? The admirals of course.

Who picks the admirals? The politicians of course.

If the politicians get a head of steam going, they can overwhelm any leadership resistance. The comments here lead me to believe that a policy change is in the works and Mullen is giving the community fair warning.

9/29/2009 8:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Continuing from above. Three more points and I'll get off my soap box:

1) Has there ever been an honest, independent analysis of the effect on readiness from assigning women to surface combatants? To be valid, such a study would have to take a holistic statistically-based approach, evaluating first- and second-order effects: combat performance, material readiness, retention, discipline, recruiting, etc. The Navy has done studies but, naturally, they reached the desired conclusions and found few issues.

2) With women assigned to submarines, would the number of crew discipline issues be expected to increase, decrease, or remain the same? And would the nature of the discipline issues be easier or more difficult to resolve? Anecdotal evidence suggests there would be more masts, courts martial, and false accusations, and that the nature of offenses would be more difficult to resolve. This matters because, last I checked, there are still only 24 hours in a day. The work load associated with discipline issues falls disproportionately on the upper chain of command (CO, XO, COB). One of the root causes or contributing factors cited in almost every investigation is "lack of supervision." Would more senior management time spent on discipline issues - both dealing with them and trying to prevent them (more sexual harassment training anyone?) - help or hurt their ability to monitor other operations aboard the ship?

3) To what extent are men attracted to the submarine force by its camaraderie and tradition? Would this change if women were permitted? One of the chief arguments in favor of introducing females is the increase in the recruiting pool. To what extent, if any, would this be offset by a decrease in male's inclination to join? To what extent will retention - particularly among married - be affected by mixed gender submarine crews? (Are there differences between submarine and surface ships in this regard?) Again, I don't know any of the answers but somebody sure better take an objective, fact-based look before stepping off this cliff.

This is not an equity issue. Women are not being denied naval careers because they can't serve on submarines. Unless assigning women to submarines will demonstrably improve combat effectiveness and readiness, it shouldn't be done. Period. The risks are too high; the undersea environment is unforgiving.

I apologize for hiding behind an anonymous tag but I've been in the business long enough to know that senior leadership is not really interested in a frank discussion on this issue.

9/29/2009 8:05 AM

Anonymous Enough said...

I'll say it again: This is purely political bullshit, and is not remotely taking into account combat readiness. "They" (the politicians) don't care about combat readiness, because they don't understand it. It's never been a priority for them, and that's why, now, they aren't making a conscious effort to try and improve it.

This may indeed simply be a bad idea whose time has come...but it that happens as stated, it will be because of poor leadership, plain and simple.

9/29/2009 9:27 AM

Blogger phw said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/29/2009 9:45 AM

Blogger phw said...

@enough0927. I don't disagree with what you are saying concerning combat readiness-- that is it is not a consideration. Not many policy decisions from Congress are meant to improve combat readiness. It's up to the military to make the policy work while at least maintaining readiness. I don't think it is an impossible task, although it will be difficult.

9/29/2009 9:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they put women on submarines, do we still get lack of pussy pay????

9/29/2009 10:06 AM

Anonymous Enough said...

The Navy would do well to revisit what was to alleged to have happened at SL-1. Even if not true (and it's not provable one way or the other), it's a harbinger of just how serious and -- I'll be happy to be the first to say it -- dangerous the ground is that the politicians are forcing this death march onto.

And, yes, I choose the phrase 'death march' advisedly, as there is way too little honesty about human nature being taken into account here. There seems to be a death of wisdom and common sense here...a sort of irrational, running amokness at work.

Stuffing young(est) men and women into a metal tube for months at time -- something that no other Navy in the world does (perhaps out of basic common sense) -- is just flatly idiotic in the truest sense of the word.

9/29/2009 10:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Even if not true (and it's not provable one way or the other), it's a harbinger of just how serious and..."

That right, things that are not true or unprovable are always the best basis for decision making.

9/29/2009 11:31 AM

Anonymous Enough said...

"That right, things that are not true or unprovable are always the best basis for decision making."

You mean, like, the (ill-founded) notion that putting a bunch of young men and women in a tube for months at a time is a good idea...?

9/29/2009 11:57 AM

Anonymous said...

Suggestions for the ex-submariner that misses "the good old days on the boat"
1. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Two to three hours after you fall asleep, have your wife whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and mumble "Sorry, wrong rack".
2. Repeat back everything anyone says to you.
3. Spend as much time as possible indoors and avoid sun light. Only view the world through the peep hole on your front door.
4. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of your bathtub and move the shower head down to chest level. Shower once a week. Use no more than 2 gallons of water per shower.
5. Buy a trash compactor and use it once a week. Store garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
6. Sit in your car for six hours a day with your hands on the wheel and the motor running, but don't go anywhere. Install 200 extra oil temperature gauges. Take logs on all gages and indicators every 30 minutes.
7. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it to "High".
8. Watch only unknown movies with no major stars on TV and then, only at night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch, then watch a different one.
9. Don't do your wash at home. Pick the most crowded laundromat you can find.
10. (Optional for Nukes and A-Div) Leave lawnmower running in your living room six hours a day for proper noise level.
11. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.
12. Take hourly readings on your electric and water meters.
14. Invite guests, but don't have enough food for them.
15. Buy a broken exercise bicycle and strap it down to the floor in your kitchen.
16. Eat only food that you get out of a can or have to add water to.
17. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread. (Optional- cold beans and weenies, canned ravioli or soup).
18. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator.
19. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get dressed as fast as you can, then run to your kitchen with the garden hose while wearing a scuba mask.
20. Once a month take every major appliance completely apart and then put them back together. Ensure you have parts left over.
21. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for 5 or 6 hours before drinking. Never wash any coffee cups.
22. Invite at least 85 people you don't really like to come and visit for a couple of months. Limit showers to weekly for all guests. (Unless they are interested in electronics....force those guests to shower three times daily and wear * bottle of stale cologne following each bathing).
23. Store your eggs in your garage for two months and then scramble a dozen each morning.

9/29/2009 12:02 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Getting back to your original questions... 2013? I give it a 30-40% chance. Shortly thereafter, say by 2016... I give it about 80-90% chance that women will serve on subs.

...berthing configurations. I disagree with you on the inflexibility of current submarine habitability arrangements. After watching the forward compartment upper and middle levels being totally demolished in four days to make room for an upgraded fire-control and sonar system and SUBLAN, I think it would be fairly easy to modify any sub in short order with not a lot of cash.

...impact to combat readiness? None. Women are fully capable of doing anything on a submarine. In fact, there is such a dearth of physical challenges on submarines in general that, as a rule, submariners are not the epitome of physical fitness. Regarding the impact of male/female interaction to readiness: not much different than male/male interactions or conflicts; just a different paragraph number in the Manual for Courts Martial.


9/29/2009 12:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9/29 8am

Your last two questions could be answered by statistical studies (recruiting, disciplinary action). Since the surface force has yet to experience any huge crisis in operations due to trends in the above, I'm guessing the sub force would be fine as well.

The the other questions are inherently subjective and will never be answered by a statistical study. Even if there are conclusions to be drawn, they will be so statistically tenuous that political objectives will be the deciding factor. If you read the RAND report linked to in an earlier post, you'll see that's what happened: the report echoed many of the types of subjective, non-quantitative arguments being discussed here, obviously at the direction of whoever was paying the bills (Navy).

Policy questions are almost always 20% analysis, 80% gut(that holds in the private sector too by the way). So unless there's clear, unmanipulated information that can override the policy initiative, politics can (and should) rule the day. People are not reactor instrumentation cabinets that have nominal operating chracteristics and RPMs. At the end of the day, those politicians represent the taxpayers who pay the bills, and they are the ones who should get their way or be convinced otherwise.

9/29/2009 1:06 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

I think there is another compelling reason to put women in submarines that hasn't been listed.

Someday there will be female Admirals commanding battle groups and sitting as Combatant Commanders. When that happens, the voice of the submarine force in debates of the use of force in the joint spectrum will be diminished assuming we continue our present course. I think it is imperative that women serve on submarines now so that when the day comes when a female is PACFLT or STRATCOM (and it will happen), she'll have had the chance to command a submarine and not simply have an academic understanding of the submarine force.


9/29/2009 1:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another aspect which we've not really touched on here is training. Females are not going to one day magically appear on the boat.

They will have to go through BESS and A school. In most cases, they'll need to continue on to one or more C schools before they set foot onboard. All that training takes anywhere from 4 months to a year, depending which rate they've been designated.

20 Yearold MT3 Gina Jane, is not going to show up fresh out of school and be presented her dolphins then and there. She'll be handed a stack of qual cards, manuals, and everything else just like the rest of us. Granted we'll have to curtail some of the umm.."harassment" and what some of you call hazing while she is a NUB. But she will still have to earn her points as she makes her way through each section.

Can she explain the difference between active and passive sonar?...or what the purpose and difference is between vents and tanks? Why is it so important to monitor and maintain each tube in the forest 24/7? Can I use Cool dry air to reduce humidity? Umm..are you absolutely certain I can use cool air instead of warm? Why or why not? What is Pneumatics?

Now see what I'm getting at? IF we add females to the crew, they will have to go through the exact same training and work as everyone else. Those who have the ability physically & mentally and a strong back bone to put up with all the BS will make decent members of the crew. Those females who don't, starting with BESS, will be sent back to the surface to do something else in life. In otherwords, they WILL have to prove themselves just like all of us had to.

That doesn't mean do your best to make their lives as miserable as possible. We will see red flags go up, if a female is kicked out because she was treated and evaluated unfairly. If we go coed, we have to keep it fair. Tell me congress isn't going to be watching most intently throughout the process and beginnings of a coed crew.

Redesigns in berthing and some sort of schedule for time in the head will have to be hashed out and strictly maintained. It'll be interesting to find out what the think tank in DC comes up with on that one. We'll definitely need a bigger budget to make this coed idea work out effectively, and that's IF...IF it even does happen at all.

9/29/2009 2:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9/29 1:06 p.m.

Re: "Since the surface force has yet to experience any huge crisis in operations..."

You make my point about needing to look at the data. The surface fleet has indeed had problems prompting NAVSURFOR just seven months ago to declare its second stand down in less than a year (see

There are a lot of potential root causes for poor operational performance but if the impact of gender integration is not at least considered, then we're fooling ourselves. The point is not that the surface force has problems or that gender integration has caused them (directly) only that monkeying with the team dynamics in a combat organization causes unintended consequences. Perhaps a skimmer CO out there can tell us how much time he or she spends dealing with issues that wouldn't exist in a single sex crew. My observation as a close observer of a couple of surface ships indicates gender integration is not the non-issue so many would like it to be.

As to your other points, you seem to be arguing that since you can't think of a way to assess these issues, they must not be assessable so we should just press on. Business leaders and marketing experts measure and estimate these things all the time. The tools are available and well known. It takes some courage to use them. As they say, don't ask the question unless you really want to hear the answer.

The argument that the submarine force won't have a voice in the joint arena is fallacious. Following the same rationale, SEALS won't get to play because they aren't gender integrated. Male or female, the vast majority of fleet commanders will never have served aboard submarines. So what?

What could go wrong with assigning women to submarines? Plenty. If the hard questions aren't faced up front - honestly and openly - and decisions made based on FACTS rather than opinions, we will set ourselves on a course for disaster.

Can women do the job? Certainly. Can men and women working together do the job. I'm not so sure. In PCO school they tell you to pay attention to that feeling in the pit of your stomach. That feeling is telling me this is a big, big mistake. Hope I'm wrong.

9/29/2009 3:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3:24-

"second stand down in less than a year (see"

Broken link. What happened in this stand down? I bet there's unclas message traffic describing this one.

"Business leaders and marketing experts measure and estimate these things all the time. The tools are available and well known. It takes some courage to use them."

As a business and marketing professional, I am not aware of any studies that show gender integration creates "a system that [is] bound to fail," especially on Naval warships. I can't exactly tell what you're referring to when you mention analytical tools that could provide the answers you're seeking. Care to elaborate?

I'll restate my a system comprised of people rather than gears and switchboards, facts/statistics will inform rather than decide the issue. You will never get an excel spreadsheet to tell you that the potential downsides of gender integration outweigh the potential upsides, or that political realities will outweigh both. So study away, but this is still going to be a decision about what we want to do, rather than what we should do - there is no unambiguously right answer.

As someone who has worked extensively on gender-integrated teams in the real world, I can say that organizations change individual behavior more than the other way around. The female executives (C-level, VP-level) I've worked with haven't been significantly different than their male counterparts. As far as I can tell, all of the freaking out over the end of the submarine culture comes from people who have never or rarely worked on gender-integrated teams in the workplace.

9/29/2009 4:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4 p.m.-

Let me spell it out:

- Are there more masts/bigger issues due to mixed gender crews? Compare the unit punishment and ADSEP records of ships with mixed gender crews to those without. Look at the changes in the types and level of offenses before and after crews were integrated. Interview people who experienced the shipboard environment under circumstances of mixed gender and single gender crews. Though all results may not be quantifiable, it should be possible to get a qualitative sense of trends. From there it should be possible to make projections about what may happen aboard submarines. Market analysts do these types of projections as do a number of consulting firms. A clever B-schooler should be able to figure out some tools to apply to this question.

- Will putting women on submarines cause males to seek another military community (i.e. something "manly")? Surveying target recruiting markets should help reveal potential trends. Human resources firms do this type of candidate analysis all of the time as does Navy Recruiting Command.

Experience with gender-integrated teams in the "real world" is of little relevance to this issue. Few (no?) "real world" teams live together in close quarters with limited communications with the outside world for six months at a time. Nor do they need to be ready for combat or damage control at a moment's notice. The only "world" that matters for the question at hand is that aboard a submarine. It is clear that gender-integrated teams in the Navy work very well in very many situations. They work best when everyone can go home at night (or frequently) so they can socialize, fraternize, and carry on intimate relationships with people other than those with whom they work. Even in that environment things don't always go well, hence all the "real world" laws about sexual harassment in the work place.

There are a couple of key differences between your "real world" and a submarine. First, in the "real world," corporate management is not concerned about employees' behavior when they're off the clock. In the Navy, the CO, XO, and COB are held personally accountable for the activities of their 18-year old sailors - both on and off the job - and as a result, spend a lot of time playing surrogate parent(s). When a male sailor has a problem with his civilian girlfriend, you go to sea, the girl problem stays ashore, and he gets on with business. If the girl problem goes to sea with him, it's a lot harder to solve and requires a lot more parenting by the chain of command (in fact the problem is doubled because now there is also a sailor with a boyfriend problem).

Second, when a "real world" team fails, a company goes out of business, a bunch of people lose their jobs and the stockholders are pissed - big deal. If the team on a submarine breaks down, people lose their lives, we have a propulsion plant issue (with potential long-lasting international repercussions), we may affect the success of other combat operations, and it could cost the taxpayer $2+ billion.

I don't dispute your observations about gender-integrated teams in the work place. My experience has been like yours. The difference, apparently, is that I have also spent enough time underway to recognize that the dynamics are different. You need to stop thinking "Working Girl" and start thinking "Das Boot."

9/29/2009 6:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:16 - Master of the Sea (MoS)

I've already agreed that some questions (recruiting, NJP) could be answered by standard statistical techniques. I've also judged that the closest data points (surface ships, frigates in particular) have not had any significant operational failures due to the above under gender integration. You provided a reference to dispute that contention, and failed to followup when your reference was shown to be a disappearing article. So we'll call that question unresolved until someone can pipe up with some real information. (Also, I think the most feasible manly alternative for 90% of the submariners I came across would have been a professional world of warcraft league. Anyways, let's not get too much further into hypotheticals.)

The real unanswerable question was your initial point about the intangibles - culture and its effect on operational readiness in the submarine context. As a "clever MBA consultant" who is clearly more in the loop on current techniques, I can tell you that this question will not be resolved by studies. Issues like this are "studied" in bureaucracies for two main reasons: 1)to drum up evidence for a predetermined outcome and 2)to delay the issue until it fades away into oblivion. Sorry, that's how the world works. Better learn the game on your ascent from MoS to MoP (Master of the Pentagon).

The last half of your post is a variation on the "you're not there, you don't understand" theme mentioned earlier. Not too much to respond to there. If you really believe that the only relevant situation is an actual gender-integrated submarine, then I guess the only way to know is to try it and find out. But we both know how that's going to turn out.

Lookup for the day: how many gender-integrated surface combatants have had 1) propulsion plant failures, 2) failures to meet combat tasking or 3) COMPLETE LOSS OF SHIP due to the various issues discussed here? This discussion is clearly entering the realm of the absurd.

Forget Das Boot or Working Girl: this is classic Catch-22.

9/29/2009 7:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Suggestions for the ex-submariner that misses "the good old days on the boat"

I wrote about 15 of those items maybe 12 years ago, and every time I see someone post them I think of how I should have copyrighted the motherfuckers. Specifically # 1,2,4,5,7,11,12,15,19,20,21. Lots of others are missing from this list. Just google "Stove manned and ready", and you have a list that I wrote. You all suck, can't you do your own original thinking?.

9/29/2009 7:42 PM

Blogger Daniel Golding said...

"You all suck, can't you do your own original thinking?"

Is there a procedure for that? Something in an RPM? If not, well...

9/29/2009 7:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:10

"Lookup for the day: how many gender-integrated surface combatants have had 1) propulsion plant failures, 2) failures to meet combat tasking or 3) COMPLETE LOSS OF SHIP due to the various issues discussed here?"

But that is the whole point - subs aren't surface ships. While there are lessons that can be learned from gender integrated skimmers, there are many more issues unique to submarines.

"Forget Das Boot or Working Girl: this is classic Catch-22."

Can't say that I remind me why we want to change something that works to unravel the Catch-22?

Give me a GOOD reason why this *should* be done, and I'll likely admit it *could* be done (albeit with many many problems). But the only reason I see that has been seriously advanced as to why it should be done is for equality. Sorry - that doesn't fly with me. Females can have a navy career, and a very good one at that, without ever stepping foot on a sub.

Bottom line is that until those making the suggestion that this is the path we want to follow actually park their stars in their desk and do a deployment in crews berthing, sharing two heads, working, living, eating and (occasionally) recreating with over 100 of their not-so-close friends in a space not much larger than a good size house, I'll throw the BS flag at them all day long.

9/29/2009 7:57 PM

Blogger Aught Severn said...

"Lookup for the day: how many gender-integrated surface combatants have had 1) propulsion plant failures, 2) failures to meet combat tasking or 3) COMPLETE LOSS OF SHIP due to the various issues discussed here? This discussion is clearly entering the realm of the absurd."

Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it would not be more likely in an integrated crew. That is simply playing the odds. NASA eventually lost that one in '86 and '03. The Sub Force lost that one in '63 and again in '68. None of those events have anything to do with coed crews, but everything to do with systemic complacency ("that could never happen..."). The kind of complacency apparent in an anecdote I have about a carrier ERS-equivalent getting it on with a junior female mechanic...both on watch while underway.

It may only raise the chance of fission product release by .1%...but no thanks, I already do enough work as it is.

9/29/2009 8:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon (MoU - Master of the Universe):

Try copy and pasting the link in your browser. It works; I just did it. As previously stated, the article does not contend that the surface fleet's problems were due to gender-integrated crews. It simply refutes your claim that the surface force has not experienced major operational issues. It has. Are gender-integrated crews a factor? Well, if you're unwilling to look at the possibility, then the answer will always be "no."

A ship at sea is not a corporate environment. In that sense, I guess I am saying "you're not there, you don't understand." It's hard to have an informed discussion without enough operational experience to understand the differences between shore/staff duty, civilian work, and duty on an operational submarine.

There have, in fact, been surface ships that have suffered significant issues that have resulted in not meeting tasking. I am being intentionally vague because this circuit is not the appropriate place for that discussion. Thankfully for all concerned, surface ships are pretty good at remaining on the surface, so that hasn't been an issue yet. My point is not that gender integrated crews will lead directly to problems (Suzy got her hair caught in the reduction gears!). Rather, having a mixed gender crew will cause distractions (because boys and girls that age tend to become distracted by one another), which will cause time to be wasted dealing with issues that don't currently exist in the submarine force, which will lead to time NOT being spent on operationally-important things, which will cause accidents. A recent complaint by submariners has been the increase in administrative workload over the past several years (SUBFOR has taken action to try to reverse the trend). I just can't see how adding females to the mix will cause the workload to decrease.

I get your point on studying things. Far better to just wing it. Studying things may produce data and that can be so very confusing.

You may want to temper your speculation on what I may have mastered in. You probably would be surprised.

BS and bluster can carry a proposal like this a long way, probably all the way to implementation. If that happens, let's hope it works. But if it doesn't, I'm sure our enemies will really respect us for having tried.

9/29/2009 8:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

MoS/P -

Finally we're getting somewhere here.

A recent complaint by submariners has been the increase in administrative workload over the past several years (SUBFOR has taken action to try to reverse the trend). I just can't see how adding females to the mix will cause the workload to decrease.

So the contention is not that gender integration will lead directly to operational/cultural problems. It's that integration will bring administrative overhead that boat leaders don't have the time to address, leading to more operational errors.

That's a fairly poor argument against a policy initiative that has roots in far more fundamental principles. Your efforts would be much better spent on fixing the REAL issue/root cause of operational problems: excessive administrative distraction. I would agree on that point as well. As an anecdote, I was once admonished by my CO (who became a commodore) for providing a shaft alley walkthrough during SS Hydraulic Rupture training because the extra time required could have been better used to check off another training matrix topic.

I don't really care about your credentials - but I will definitely call BS when you try to confuse the discussion by dropping jargon that 5% of the people here understand. And it's incredibly disingenuous to claim that anyone who has done a sea tour "doesn't understand" submarine culture. I pretty much stopped seeing new things after 18 months on the boat. But hey, as Caesar wills...

(BTW, even I don't know what a "holistic statistical study" is)

9/29/2009 9:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

lots of opinions here for sure.

Earlier in this thread I offered a true story about pregnancy covered-up and it's impact on a MSC T-AOE in 2003. Not trying to pick on the females here, however, reality is reality. Offering another take on mixed gender crews from personal experience. Granted experience on a T-AE with civilian Mariner crew is no-where near close to underway on SSN for deployment or spec-op, however, just entertain the experience on T-AE with crew average age of 51 then transpose to SSN with crew average of 23-24.

Four years on T-AE in forward deployed in WesPac. When males and females "hook-up" everyone knows within 12 hours. it provides constant gossip for the crew. The couple are then always under observation for more cues to hook-up behavior. It becomes a distraction and diversion from work and a constant source of discussion. Because of comments, the woman "goes-off" on the deck gang at quarters for being under observation. More problems inport when one or the other wants a night off from hook-up behavior (hook-up only counts when underway.) Results in disciplinary problems when you add alcohol. I saw this happen with a crew of 125 loosing two due to fight in public off base, police called, arrest of male, both paid-off sent to mariners pool for disciplinary procedures.

On another ship on east coast a T-AOE (same one the Navy ET2 delivered a baby underway I described earlier) know about a fight by two guys over a woman mariner (all sober) in the chow line where the woman pulled out her knife and stabbed one of the guys in the arm.

I realize these are extreme examples and they have taken place on Civilian crewed MSC ships.

I would point out that CivMars are not a bunch of "dirt bags". all have completed BI's in order to have a clearance to sail on MSC ships. We're are randomly drug screened. You loose your MMD if you get a DWI and can no longer work as merchant Mariner.

I realize these are anacdotal examples taking place onboard MSC ships. My point, what kind of impact would "hook-up" behavior have on an SSN with a hell of a lot more hormones and testosterone available in a confined space.

I still think it's gonna happen. Gonna be a hell of a transition for the enlisted crew and when the inevitable "problems arise" it'll be a long and nasty mess for the DivCPO's, COB, Dept Heads, XO and CO.

It's easy for MSC ships. Pay-off the trouble makers, request reliefs from the Mariners pool which will generally arrive within 48 hours.

Glad my COB days are over.

My two cents and keep a zero bubble.........


9/29/2009 9:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SJV said, "There's a reason the US leads in everything related to teamwork. It's diversity. We use it to advantage, and we need it in the subforce. "

I'm throwing the bullshit flag. It's not "diversity" of race or sex - it's diversity of thought. Diversity that exists primarily because our society is rooted in individualism, not micro-managed like wet dream utopias.

Mixing a few broads into the crew adds exactly what benefit??? It's fair, the right thing to do, the 21st century, etc. arguments are irrelevant. If adding women to the sub force produces no tangible benefit, then why mess with it? One reason: A bunch of dykes are holding a few admirals by their privates. Maybe said admirals should grow a real pair.

As for the weenie who pontificated that "I'd say the anti-integration people need to prove their point with more than hypotheticals. I'm still waiting on any evidence of that." How many females evacuated for being pregnant do you need to have it proved to you. It happens - ALL THE TIME. BTW, your lookup can be quashed with ease by perusing one simple site:

"Granted we'll have to curtail some of the umm.."harassment" and what some of you call hazing while she is a NUB." Special treatment? What about equality?

"I wrote about 15 of those items maybe 12 years ago, and every time I see someone post them I think of how I should have copyrighted the motherfuckers. Specifically # 1,2,4,5,7,11,12,15,19,20,21. Lots of others are missing from this list. Just google "Stove manned and ready", and you have a list that I wrote. You all suck, can't you do your own original thinking?." BULLSHIT! I got out in '90 and most of these a year or two later.

9/29/2009 10:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just one more thought,

With the exception of the submariners actually riding boats, no officers in the Navy today have any knowledge/memory of how simple life was aboard ships manned by men only. the decision making Admirals think gender integrated ships are normal. in their view those pissy little problems they may have experienced as an XO or CO on a surface ship don't amount to nothing.

In my view, it's gonna be a lot tougher transition on submarines for everyone than it ever was for the surface navy for reasons stated in this thread.

Keep a zero bubble..........


9/29/2009 10:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Good comments and on the mark.

That said we still have discipline problems with the all male crews:

wives hooking up with other crew members, saltwater disease prior to deployment, gays, etc. We even had two gays from the same division (E-div, naturally) that got into a fight with a knife underway becuase one suspected the other of fooling around with another shipmate (sonar, naturally). Three "guys" gone just like that on WestPac.

At least the boy-girl problems would be something different and breakup the routine in the Goat Locker!

As I type this, I can't help but wonder what the public thinks about the sub force when they read this stuff!

Also glad I am retired finally!

9/29/2009 10:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey "stew burner, what's for eats?"
Tube not again!

Gotta Love It!

9/29/2009 10:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe the number of opinions from civilians and skimmers on this topic. I would never pretend to know what Army or Marine issues are if something this controversial was debated. Unless you've gone to test depth, did a 180 day deployment on a boat,or have done a SSBN tour, PLEASE SHUT THE HELL UP.

9/29/2009 10:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those civillians and skimmers own our boats just as much as we do. Every taxpayer has a say in the matter, right or wrong.

9/29/2009 11:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a not-so fine line between a well-informed opinion, and utterly ignorant arrogance.

When it comes to submarines, skimmers are most certainly in the latter category about 99.9% of the time.

9/30/2009 12:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Master of the Universe -

"...a policy initiative that has roots in far more fundamental principles."

You have finally recognized the crux of the matter. Is this policy being done for operational effectiveness or perceived equity?

If someone is proposing that gender integration of submarine crews will improve operational performance, then show some data to back up the claim.

If this is just about "equity" then full speed ahead. No study needed to decide a political issue. Just realize there may be operational implications. If bad things happen, will senior leadership stand up and say "my bad?" Past history suggests they will not.

Just a final bit of mentoring. You come across as somewhat immature and arrogant. Just because you don't know something or see the point in doing something doesn't mean you're right. When you get more than a couple of submariners together, you can almost guarantee you're not the smartest person in the room. Reading between the lines of your e-mail, it sounds like you left after your first JO tour. If that's the case, you don't know what you don't know.

9/30/2009 7:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope those of you saying that one who never served a career on subs has no place in this discussion never discuss topics such as economics, foreign policy, etc, in which you don't have a PhD dissertation.

9/30/2009 9:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well-informed opinions are welcome.

Utterly ignorant arrogance -- and self-aggrandizing "mini-me" partisan politicians who tend to forego honesty -- are pretty much non-starters.

9/30/2009 9:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So by well informed opinions, you mean only those who agree with you?

As the m.o. of many on here is that if a non sub person agrees that's fine and dandy, but if they disagree it's because of some lack of experience, whether it's being a skimmer or having 'only' served a jo tour.

9/30/2009 9:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well informed" means that they need to have some domain expertise...otherwise, I'd tend to call that uninformed.

Wouldn't you?

9/30/2009 9:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the swaggering skimmers here is that they give their opinions as though they're facts.

FACT is, nearly all of them have never even been on a boat, and have no appreciation for the tight quarters there.

Facts are facts. Opinions are opinions. Either one should come with appropriate labelling.

9/30/2009 9:57 AM

Anonymous sub-rm said...

MT1 said: Those females who don't, starting with BESS, will be sent back to the surface to do something else in life.

I have very strong doubts about this statement. Starting in BESS I have seen the Navy coddle people who continually fail tests and get pushed back 3 or 4 classes. I have seen one guy get 6 boards before he finally got a "special board" with the XO to make him "qualified". If the Navy already does this in an area where there is little to no limelight, how much more will it happen when there is a big, bright light from D.C. shining on us?

9/30/2009 10:10 AM

Anonymous Swaggering Skimmer said...

You laughed at us when we had to take on women 15 years ago. Now it is your turn. Don't blame us for a little schadenfreude.

9/30/2009 10:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just some sage advice from an
"old school DBF" long on
shore patrol. Would highly
recommend that all boats serving
with women have female
Hospital Corpsmen assigned...
with extra training in OB/GYN.
It will be needed. The first
pregnant midshipman was graduated
this year from the Naval Academy,
and there have been numerous
occasions where...mainly at
"boot camps" women have given birth
1. Women didn't know they were
pregnant. 2. Routine screening
for pregnancy failed the system.

It would be tough under
"battle conditions" caring for a silent?

To All Hands: "Carry on men!"
duh...sorry "Carry on people"

NEC 8482

9/30/2009 11:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just a final bit of mentoring. You come across as somewhat immature and arrogant."

And you come off as an extremely patronizing, passive-aggressive apparatchik with more seniority than brains.

I see more "what-if" questions than proposals or arguments in all of your posts. That is the classic way for a bureaucrat to kill an idea he doesn't like without making too many waves. Death by study/PPT.

I work with far more successful bureaucrats on a daily basis, and I see it all the time.

9/30/2009 1:34 PM

Anonymous Enough said...

Ah, skimmers...proposing enormous and dangerous changes on platforms that they've never been on. And all for schadenfreude.

Now we're starting to get least in terms of where this is coming from.

Perhaps it's the head CJCS and CNO (Chief of Naval Administration, in reality) 'thinking' the same way that's brought this to a head.

9/30/2009 3:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Master of the Universe -

I say, "You come across as somewhat immature and arrogant."

You reply, "And you come off as an extremely patronizing, passive-aggressive apparatchik with more seniority than brains."

Thank you for proving my point.

The inability for a person to consider points of view different from their own is not a path to success in either the submarine force or your "real world." Good luck in your future my friend.

9/30/2009 4:13 PM

Blogger Roy said...

"You laughed at us when we had to take on women 15 years ago..."

Try 31 years ago. USS LY Spear (AS-36) - 1978.

I was there.

9/30/2009 6:15 PM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

Hmmn, we haven't even reached the ultimate deterrance issue. If a women was in the chain of command dealing with the ultimate public trust position; "would you trust a woman to turn the key?" Another day and another issue, I suppose.

9/30/2009 11:54 PM


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