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, November 06, 2008

Brits Considering Letting Women On Submarines

Vigilis covered this earlier, but I wanted to jump into the discussion on rumors the Royal Navy is considering designing their replacement for the Vanguard-class SSBNs such that they can accomodate mixed gender crews. From this Daily Mail article:
The next generation of Britain's nuclear submarines are being designed to carry female sailors as the Ministry of Defence is considering scrapping a long-standing ban on women submariners.
Defence officials confirmed that the current rules barring the Royal Navy's 3,700 female sailors from serving in the submarine branch are 'under review', and said design work on a £20billion new fleet of nuclear-missile submarines was taking into account 'the possibility of women serving on submarines in the future.'
The Navy is facing a shortage of suitably-qualified engineers willing to serve for months at a time beneath the waves, and officials believe legal challenges based on gender equality laws could eventually make the current policy untenable, forcing them to adopt mixed crews.
Other nations have already accepted women into submarining, and at least for the Aussies, it looks like this hasn't fixed their "manning" shortages. Although a civilian advisory panel at the end of the Clinton Administration recommended women be allowed on U.S. submarines, the idea really hasn't gotten anywhere in the last 8 years; it's still enough of an outrageous idea to be a source of the New York Times April Fool's joke this year. (OK, so it was really the guys from SubSim who came up with that, but it's still not a mainstream idea.) The Brits are at least smart enough to recognize that a submarine would have to be designed from the ground up to accommodate women. I wrote earlier about the problems you'd have if you attempt to put women on a submarine that's not designed for them:
The biggest problem I see is that either you'd have men and women in much closer quarters that you do on surface ships, or you'd end up with empty racks in the "female only" berthing areas when people stay behind... not very good for morale when most of the crew is hot-racking. Plus, which head becomes the female head? And do you need to install an extra head in the goat locker and wardroom areas? Or just have a sign you put up depending on the gender of the occupant? (That's what we did when we had female riders -- except for middie ops, when boats will turn one head over to them for the night.)
Plus, we all know what "feminine products" would do to the san pump...
We all know that sometime this century the U.S. will put women on submarines; hopefully, though, it'll be done the right way, and not rushed into half-assed. The question of the day is: Do you think the new Administration will try to rush half-assed into putting women on submarines?


Blogger Unknown said...

Do I think someone outside Navy's been dying to push the issue? Yes. But, who would be their friends on the inside to make it happen? Who in DoD will push it? Who in Navy? Is there someone on the defense appropriations committee that's going to fund the modifications above all of the other stuff that isn't getting done? Not likely. I can't see Murtha arguing for the women on sub modifications over a new DDG-1000 or -51 or even the second Virginia hull per year. It'll be fodder for the papers and nothing else. Important things take full administrations to get through the budget process. This would be no different.

11/06/2008 11:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a sub wife I can say that yes I would be comfortable and happy to see my husband working with women on the boat; fraternization is fraternization, and anyone who engages in sexual harassment or misconduct shouldn't be on a submarine with a TS clearance in the first place. Protections are probably inadequate against these crimes throughout the military, but I don't think that should translate to women being denied opportunities.

Personally I don't think it's fair that, for example, the early (temporary with eng job) O4 promotion is closed to women. Relegating women to surface fleet jobs is unfair and unwise.

I've heard the whole close quarters thing brought up before and while ideally it wouldn't be a concern (if it's OK for male shipmates to be together naked I don't see why it's not ok for female shipmates, since again obviously fraternization is not going to happen without there being some serious misconduct involved so why not deal with the misconduct?), but I realize that practical concerns might be different. So I understand that old ships don't have women but I don't understand why no effort is made to even anticipate this change in new sub designs. Granted I've only used the officers' head but it's got a stall, I'm really not even sure what the privacy issue is supposed to be. The shower? Then make a small changing area outside of it. Even on an SSN there's room for that.

What REALLY needs to change IMO is the sexist attitudes I've witnessed among the submariners and the Navy in general.

11/06/2008 11:28 PM

Blogger Chap said...

See? I told you this was a periodic maintenance item, but noooooo...

11/07/2008 12:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is totally unrelated but you should get alaugh out of it:

11/07/2008 3:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two issues with women: psychological and physical.

The psychological issues can be dealt with by rules, regulations, etc.

The physical issues are a bit harder. Worst case scenario is a pregnant sailer, thus all issues assume the sailer is pregnant. Amine has either adverse or undetermined effects on a fetus. So you need to modify some equipment, or determine the actual effect.

Personnally, I think there are some females that could do the job well. I also think that there are some males that are lacking. So... plan ahead (it will eventually happen - look at ISS), but don't implement till it makes more than just political sense.

11/07/2008 5:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think the new Administration will try to rush half-assed into putting women on submarines?

I think a more pertanent question is "will the new administration rush to put openly declared gays on both surface ships and submarines?" Don't ask, don't tell will probably quickly become do tell and don't get in the way.

Also I would agree with the problem of pregnant women on subs. Putting aside the effects of chemicals, radiation, etc. the complications of pregnacy must be considered with only an independat duty HM on board, will the mission be comprimised becaus of possible complicatons of pregnacy?

11/07/2008 5:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former COB I would cringe at the notion of having to coordinate the watchbill and berthing (with the inevitable hot-bunking) with a coed crew.

While other navy's have integrated women into their crews they don't typically forward deploy as far and as long as we do.

I had a CO once that made it clear that running out of toilet paper was tantamount to a hanging offense. Although we never did are future COB's going to have to add tampons and sanitary napkins to the stores load? If so will they have to poll the women on board to determine flow rates and whether they prefer regular, slim, large, jumbo, super jumbo, overnight, with or without wings, etc.

Face it, men and women are (thank God) different. The differences can pile up very quickly on a long deployment with little to no inport time.

11/07/2008 6:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Danzig, former SECNAV, is head of the Pentagon transition team.

I happen to know as an absolute fact that the only reason that his recommendation to SECDEF to allow women to serve as Supply Officers, MTs and Strat-ETs on SSBNs was rejected is that President Clinton rejected it due to his previous problems with DADT. He had bigger fish to fry and did not want to waste the end of his administration arguing minor social policy issues.

So, extrapolate: it is likely that the recommendation will be made (soon) to President-elect Obama to allow women on submarines. The question is whether or not he will want to tackle that relatively minor issue, and risk a distraction from his more important items (improving the economy, universal health care, energy independence, etc...).

My opinion is that he will wait a few years before tackling women on submarines. But I could be wrong (and the appointment of Danzig to head the transition team is the first sign that I am wrong).

11/07/2008 6:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing on Danzig: his recommendation to allow women to serve on submarines was one that required no modifications to ships: he proposed opening SSBNs immediately.

And, given that there are SSGNs now, the argument that it is not
fair to have a "class of Sailors who cannot serve on both types of ships" no longer applies: a woman could gain tactical and strategic experience by bouncing between SSGNs and SSBNs, never needing to serve on an SSN.

Counter-point: since President-elect Obama has expressed his desire to lower the number of nuclear weapons deployed, then why not convert more SSGNs, and kill two birds with one stone: less nuc weapons and more platforms for women to serve on.

11/07/2008 7:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the submarine force would fight this tooth and nail. They will use the space, privacy, and pregnancy arguements, but the real reason that no one wants to face is that we would lose our ability to be totally un-politically correct, mean, blunt and to the point, honest, and we would have to act like better people. Otherwise there would be too much crying and tears, which would lead to too many EEO complaints and cries of discrimination. Face it, for better or worse we have our own little boys club where we can pretty much act and say things that we would never do in public.

11/07/2008 7:08 AM

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

COB makes a good point about the watchbills and hot-racking. However, those are challenges and not show stoppers.

This will happen, shortly after DADT goes away.

Agree that it will probably be on current SSBNs. Also supported by the fact that we'll be soon designing the replacement for the OHIOs. I'd think in addition to the SWS enlisted, we would see nukes as well. They are already on CVNs, so we have a pipeline of them. Big question is how do we get goat locker leadership. Can't bring an MT/ET(nav) as they don't exist. But, we do have nukes.

11/07/2008 7:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I expericed a women scientists on USS DOLPHIN on four seperate 5 day op's.

I also got to see what it's like to have 10 midshipmen females on board USS Baton Rouge for 24 hours at sea.

It was plain to 98 percent of us that women and men do not belong together on a submarine. Maintenance got put off, because the "females" were in a certain area and they needed to have their privacy. I had to worry about being totally dressed all the time. Not that I walk around naked, but it sure would be nice to get a part out of a "SK" locker in the middle of the night ( after I been woke up) without having to be fully dressed. You guys get the idea. Women and men on sub's, NO WAY. I have experinced it first hand. I can talk.

11/07/2008 8:07 AM

Blogger domernuc said...

I'm not convinced that it would be better for the sub force to have women on subs. Long term it may be a good thing, but short term it would be a hard thing to implement. Selfishly, I like how sub culture operates now and I wouldn't want to have to deal with the complications of co-ed ships. I would spin this answer in this way: I would rather bring women into the ships than open gays. For women, we have enforceable rules and societal norms we can use. To bring openly gay sailors into the ships we have to invent these rules and norms. We can not segregate birthing, or heads, to groups who would not be attracted to each other in gay berthing or bathrooms. There are a host of problems. Bringing gays down would be like bringing women down to subs and saying that we had to use co-ed berthing and bathrooms. I can be persuaded on this issue, but I think that gays would be way more disruptive and difficult (logisticly and legaly) than women. Conveniently homosexual acts are illegal underthe UCMJ, so it would take an act of Congress to bring gays in (or a requirement to ignore the UCMJ). Obama can just mandate women serve on subs.

11/07/2008 9:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do male submariners and submarines have to adapt in order to accommodate women? Why not just have the women adapt? If you are concerned about your privacy, don’t volunteer.

The PC crowd will have us believe that the guys and gals are all professionals and thus interchangeable. Great, put them on board.

Of course I suppose military training should be the same for all. I’ve often wondered why, if everyone is the same, why the gals don’t get shaved heads during recruit training or plebe summer, etc. Minor I know but the notion of “sameness” gets tossed right at the beginning. Why is that?


11/07/2008 9:32 AM

Blogger Jed Christiansen said...

"Do you think the new Administration will try to rush half-assed into putting women on submarines?"

Nope. There's just too much else going wrong in the world today. No one will want to spend any serious political capital on this. (Some may try to score publicity points, but that won't go anywhere.)

Perhaps ask this again in a few years and the answer will be a bit different.

11/07/2008 9:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Jed is exactly right. It's not the right time for this battle.

Now, if the new administration gets the economy in order, things improve (even more) in Iraq, Afghanistan gets under control and there are other successes, then they'll be in a position to mandate women on submarines with almost no resistance.

If they try to do it coming out of the gate, it'll be a huge distraction, ala Clinton and the gays in the military thing. (See post above about Danzig's proposal to put women on subs).

11/07/2008 9:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with those who have said there are more pressing issues to deal with right now. The problem (?) of women on submarines and, possibly, gays in the military, will probably not be decided in the next couple of years. I would bet that this particular issue will be brought up once some of the major defense and economic issues have settled somewhat. (I don't see that happening for a while.)

11/07/2008 10:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement with Jed and others who recognize that the issues the Obama administration is facing during his tour as POTUS put this one way, way down on the to do list, if it's there at all. Rahm Emanuel, his COS knows all about the screw up Clinton made taking on the gays in the military issue when he was just coming out of the starting blocks. I predict those kinds of screw-ups won't be repeated by an Obama administration.

I had the opportunity to tour HMS Gotland the Swedish submarine we leased to familiarize todays Navy with advanced conventional-AIP submarines. She is very small, 1400 tons, 196 feet long with a crew of 23. Hot bunking is the norm on board for everyone except the Captain. She had women in the crew. According to the ChEng who I talked to when onboard there are no problems with women serving on Swedish submarines. Important to note, Swedish submarines operate almost exclusively in the Baltic. Their underway periods are short. During Gotlands deployment to San Diego her longest period underway was about 20 days, and-oh by the way-limited fresh water so no showers. Also there was a crew swop every month during Gotlands deployment to San Diego. Swede's are typically relaxed about matters sexual and nudity so the ChEngs comments were understandable.

Will it happen in the US Navy Submarine Force? Probably, but not in the next 4 years.

My two cents........

Keep a zero bubble.......


11/07/2008 11:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the day...we had a crew member that wanted off the boat (SSN677) so bad that they went FE (fag exempt). That what the crew called it if anyone is offended by the "F" word. When the crew found out, they were hazed quite a bit. I remember a Nuc went "FE" and the guys in the ER were mooning him. Homosexuals on a submarine? No way! I think they would get beat up.
As far as women on submarines goes, you know something unfavorable will happen; ie. sexual harassment, pregnancy, favoritism, etc. Not good. I can't imagine how we could accomodate women crewmembers on a fast attack. Maybe a boomer with lots more room.


11/07/2008 11:35 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

By rights, females of child-bearing age would be required to sign waivers of liability for exposures to bio-hazards in close proximity aboard subs.

Such hazards are of lesser consequence to men or menopausal women. This would include all manner of ionizing radiation and heavy metal particulates, as documented by NIOSH.

Such gender-based waivers would be considered illegal, of course, much to the joy of trial attorneys. The true cost of women on nuclear subs goes well beyond berthing and lavatory accomodations then, and is not even the most counterproductive element.

As it now stands, women found pregnant aboard naval ships at sea must be sent to hospitals. So, there goes a sub's mission and position.

Females are simply flown off CVNs when pregnancy requires, nevermind elective abortions. What about females on ships without landing pads.

more here:

Don't think this would be a legal issue? A US appeals court has ruled that women inmates in the midwestern state of Missouri must be given access to transportation when seeking to terminate a pregnancy off prison grounds.

11/07/2008 11:57 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I always assumed 2 issues were important:

1. Women's hygiene issuse. Can't go for 2 or 3 weeks without a shower before the flora and fauna start to go a bit wild down there. And the evap on my boat was a bear to keep running most of the time!

2. Along with that, lack of medical support. There are not doctors on board, and there's just too many women's health issues to tackle.

3. (Bonus). No bathrooms in ER. In fact, a bathroom isn't really available to most watchstanders. Imagine this as the off-going, or oncoming RO/EO/EOOW/Dive: "Um, you're going to have to come up hear and relieve me because I'm having cramps/bleeding through my trousers/women's problems.

3.a. (Double bonus). No bathrooms in the ER. The ERF, ERLL, ERUL, RT, ERS, EOOW, EWS etc, can't make it to the little funnel in ERF anymore because whipping it out to take a leak would be "sexual harrassment". I mean what if that A-gang striker chick came down to ERF to look around, and you were there pissing in the wind, and she was trying to "get ahead"?

4 (Triple bonus). The punishment for engaging in some sort of sexual escapade underway probably wouldn't be severe enough to discourage the act. There's too many locking closets, and dark place where too many bad thing can happen (either with the consent of the woman or not).

11/07/2008 12:07 PM

Blogger Harry Buckles said...

Having had an openly gay NAVET on my boat, I can say that DADT no longer matters. President Obama and Congress will do away with it because it is the issue de jour for liberals. Right now many liberal universities couch their opposition to ROTC solely on DADT. (Just don't remind them that DADT had nothing to do with ROTC leaving campus, but that is a separate discussion.)

I personally would never want to serve with women on a boat. They will complain when called little bitches when they're being little bitches. With all men, when someone complains about being called a little bitch, you can respond with "doesn't your little bitch ass understand that we call you a little bitch cause you're a little bitch and your complaining about it only further confirms that you're a little bitch." That's the real reason. It has nothing to do with close quarters or supplies or any other nonesense. Women will stay off submarines as long as we can keep them off.

11/07/2008 12:10 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

When Rog Bacon was ComSubLant, he was asked about women in US submarines. He said he saw no barriers in Tridents and that SSN problems could be designed out in new classes. Hank Chiles vehemently disagreed, arguing that Navy wives should have the last word and trump warfare considerations.

No surprise that serving submarine officers are generally agin the concept. Economic competition from capable females would be the last straw for a profession already reeling from competitive pressures in the male-only corps now in place - this is classic closed-shop thinking.

See Naval Institute Proceedings February 2000 pp. 26-30 for the argument to bring females into submarines. This is an old issue that we keep getting wrong.

11/07/2008 2:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Females on nuclear subs?
Now, how would that work?

Future sub designs would have to be reconfigured when planning and building them. How much is that going to cost? How much(MORE)time will it take to make this idea sound and effective?

While working and living in such close quarters, how will you keep certain elements of a co-ed crew from f**king? Women want sex just as much as we do. Eventually there will be an incident. After punitive measures (if they're caught)are taken how do you proceed next?

Unless the think tanks and designers come out with something no-one has ever thought of, I don't see how having females as a part of the crew would be productive in any fashion.

Thanks, J.

11/07/2008 7:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking/looking ahead, we may see women on board permanently in about 2021 when the first SSXN is planned to hit the water. Early designs call for a Trident-class hull form with some significant space savings due to a more compact reactor plant/engineroom design. This will allow plenty of space for the habitability mods needed to allow women onboard, provided the big brains don't cram the boat full of every sensor and weapon system they can think of. The biggest obstacle right now seems to be the lack of inerested senior enlisted females. Until the Navy has this group they won't go forward. Just like how they did the surface integration.

11/07/2008 7:45 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

If it's anything like equality for blacks and minorities, there is still huge disparities with them in the sub will be a hundred years before females are treated with respect by the Navy. You think president Obama will fix the black problem in the sub service?

I like to see a all woman submarine. They kick all you men's butts.

11/07/2008 8:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


You're piss drunk. Now go to bed.

11/07/2008 9:27 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...


You must have just gotten back from a month's mission haven't read the newspapers yet? I am not drunk this time, I got real drunk on the night of Nov. 4th ...we now got a black commander and chief, and president. The whole world has changed.

11/07/2008 10:48 PM

Blogger ronald said...

women dont have same rules as men. for example a captain dated a women he got fired but not her. men cant have sex or touch women but women arent told not to do this to men or women in the navy or in this case the sub. women who cant keep there hands off shouldent be in the sub with the men. why make rules for women if there not going to follow the rules. womens rights are way out of line.

11/08/2008 5:04 AM

Blogger montigrande said...

On Submarining as religion

My impetus for writing was a post on concerning women on Submarines. I was initially going to post my opinion on this issue but have come up with something larger for your contemplation.

All organized religions have some of the same tenets with the largest being this: a calling to do things that are contrary to basic human nature. So as far as I can see, the Submarine Service is actually a religion. Now all you “navy-haters,” short timers and SNOB’s hear me out and refute my logic. The Submarine service is all volunteer, some of us are raised into it by our families, but still must sign up (several times). You can leave if you want, and I mean really, really, really want and are prepared to accept the consequences. You sequester yourselves for extended periods, following an arduous routine of hard work and self denial. You put your body into a metal tank full of high explosives, nuclear warheads, high energy piping, high voltage equipment, toxic chemicals and nuclear radiation, submerge it and take it around the world. You leave your loved ones at home while you prostrate yourself in whatever position you have to get into to fix/clean/preserve that pump/valve/motor. You flagellate yourselves with traditions that cause sleep deprivation and neurosis (ORSE/TRE/NTPI preps) both at sea and import. You follow arcane rules that no one really remembers the root of and that often lack common sense, because the “great prophet” decreed them (see the EDOM) only to find out that when these rules are disregarded that disaster results. And finally, only a select few in the world have any appreciation for the work you do and the trials you endure. The rest look at you as a group and say “I sure wouldn’t do that, its crazy.” So, you might not like it but, it looks like a religion to me.

The end result of this nuclear powered crucible is one of two things, the first and unfortunate is that the “slag” floats to the top and is skimmed off and discarded. (Please note here that I am indicating how you react to the heat, not how long you are in) The second is that the resulting “alloy” of men (and perhaps women) and machine is a shining example for the world to see. It is a source of pride for each Submariner for his entire life, if he served one tour or an entire career.

This withstanding, my opinion on women on Submarines is this: when the Wardroom and Goatlocker decide that it will happen, it will. Without incident they will do it and they will excel because that is how it is done on Submarines. Yes, there will be wining, and complaining and difficulty and some will not be able to deal with it and fail, much like what happens in the surface fleet today. But with all that I indicated above, the crew will follow orders whenever they come down.

As for the political side, I don’t think that my wife would have been very happy about it, but she didn’t freak out when I went to sea on either tender that I was assigned to. On the first I worked with and for women and had women work for me on the second. And we can all find legal and social excuses for it to not work. And I think that the upcoming administration will have so many other bigger, more terrifying fish to fry that they won’t even get to this issue.

11/08/2008 7:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Submarines as a religion, eh?

When women on submarines happens, the Wardroom will support it because they have to, but the Chiefs will support it only when they believe in it and then it will be whole heartedly.

11/08/2008 7:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ADM Donald has been asking women at NUPOC interviews if they would serve on submarines if they had the opportunity. So if it happens, perhaps the Navy is ready to add more than just MTs/ETs/Supply Officers.

11/08/2008 8:59 AM

Blogger richard said...

I would like to post what I heard ADM Konetski answer a question from a young lady at an Admirals call in 1999 when he was COMSUBPAC. She asked when he was going to put women on submarines. He responded with “Young lady, when the CNO and Joint Chiefs tell me to put women on submarines, I will put women on submarines. I have the utmost confidence in my submarine force to handle what ever I task them with. However, that is very low on my list of priorities right now. Currently I have missions for 30 submarines and I only have 21 available to do all those missions, so my primary focus is getting more money and more submarines in the pacific theater. Next question please.” Gotta love Big Al, the sailors pal.

11/08/2008 2:30 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...


11/08/2008 2:42 PM

Blogger rebecca said...

How about an all woman submarine? The "Old Girls Club." Sign me up!

Actually, never mind. That would be my own personal hell.

We'd kick your butts, though.


11/08/2008 8:50 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

You think it's any prettier living with men for months at a time...their so petty and vindictive.Let me tell you about be lazy. I hated all men for many years after my enlistment, and still hate most of them now. I still sick and tired of men decades later! I'd be happy sometime if I never seen another man again? I been scarred for life living living so close to men.

What do you women see in them I'll never know?

11/08/2008 9:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{ Although we never did are future COB's going to have to add tampons and sanitary napkins to the stores load? }

What do the ELT's do now when its their time of the month? Use Kimwipes? Sorry, couldn't resist...

11/08/2008 11:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

DADT is going away. If you can't handle it, get out. If you think one of your shipmates is going to beat up an openly gay shipmate...what kind of crazy SOB would beat someone up because they are gay? I had a gay LPO (closeted, but i think many knew). Super guy and a great leader. Took forever to make chief, but I don't think that way because of the gay thing.

Women are a bigger concern because of crazy Navy wives. You guys know what I'm talking about.

11/08/2008 11:14 PM

Blogger Sabra said...

I can say without hesitation I wouldn't have given a rat's ass were there females on my ex's boat.

I'll agree 100% with whomever said that the women should be the ones adapting. I don't know about religion, but there is very definitely a culture amongst submariners, and the idea of women forcing a change in the name of political correctness is abhorrent. Gender equality means you do the same damned things the men do, not piss and moan until things are changed to suit you. (It also means you have the foresight to pack your own damned tampons, thankyouverymuch.)

'Tis not something I will fight either for or against, though. I think some women would be an asset to the sub force, but not all. "It's sexist" isn't a good battle cry in my mind, nor is "My husband might screw a shipmate!"

I hope Obama recognizes he's got bigger issues than this, but sadly it would not surprise me if he chose to go there as a relatively safe exercise of his liberal muscles. Most civilians don't even realize that submariners exist; there wouldn't be much public outcry against it.

11/09/2008 1:43 AM

Blogger rick said...

Open disclaimer: I am relieved beyond words that I never had to serve on a co-ed ship. As a single man, I am positive that the temptation would have proven close to irresistible, no matter what the repercussions.

That being said, I was a Crew Training Engineer on the first crew to have a female nuke come through the pipeline once they opened the CVNs to women again. She was an exceptional student (MM3) and ended up getting picked up for NECP. I saw her come back through as an Ensign just as I was leaving NPTU to head up to Bettis. I would have been happy to have her as a member of my crew/wardroom. She would have merited the right, regardless of her sex. There were plenty of examples the other way, but they were pretty evenly distributed male and female. Like all other issues, results vary.

Capture is "hersori": Her Sorry?

11/09/2008 10:58 AM

Blogger montigrande said...

I spent the day (at work) mulling the comments here and on my blog over and here is the distillation. The rest I will put on my blog for your enjoyment.

For those submariners that are so vehemently opposed to women in submarines, I was initially shocked at your reactions. Do could you think so poorly of the character of the Officers, Chiefs and Enlisted outside of the Submarine force that you automatically are against their volunteering to serve. Is their Honor in question? their Courage? their Commitment? After some consideration I realized that this is not the case and that perhaps what Submariners really fear is that women in Submarines will bring and bring out all of the negativity in themselves, the negativity that they can and do cover with Submarine “bravado.” Perhaps having the diverse experience of working for women, with women and as their supervisor as well as having some distance from day-to-day Submarine operations has given me some larger perspective. In hindsight I thoroughly enjoyed my active service in our boy’s club. Perhaps we should not complain too much and draw too much attention to ourselves. Perhaps on this issue too, we should remain the Silent Service.

11/09/2008 11:19 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

You worry about sex between coed on a submarine..the Blue Angels are having a big heyday over two OFFICERS having sexual relations. It would be rampant on a boat!

Before they put female E-6 and below, they have to have one female CPO and one female Officer according to the Women in Ship's program (a few years ago it was!). So their would have to be a CPO and Oganger who have expereince in submarine operations and tactics. SSBN/SSGNs could do it, but not the SSNs we have now! Since I am retired now, I guess it doesn't matter. but alot of the above mentioned makes perfect sense. So we will see!

As for the Church of the Enclosed Underwater Energized Atom, all hail Rickover..supreme being!


11/09/2008 11:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like one of the posters above, I have also spent time underway with women....a lot of time. When San Juan was conducting the BSY-1 TECHEVAL/OPEVAL in the 1989-90 time frame, we had two female engineers from IBM that rode the boat for about two weeks at a time for a period of about a year. They were nice ladies (emphasis on ladies, not the nasty, hormone-pumped teenage girls found on skimmers) who did their best to get along with the crew. BUT....their presence on board was a pain. The biggest issue was privacy.

Submarines have a problem far greater than skimmers or other naval units. We do a lot more with fewer people. A DDG has a crew of over 200 to operate, maintain and fight a ship that is less complex and maintenance intensive than an SSN that on a good month might have a full crew of 130. Setting aside racks for females means that when a female leaves the boat for some reason, we can't just fill that rack with anyone. It's a female or nothing. More likely nothing. The surface navy already has a problem with retaining females on board, for submarines the problem would be magnified.

I have also been underway on a co-ed ship. The thing was a floating whorehouse. I caught the leading Signalman (married with kids)up on watch in the signal shack during broad daylight, feeling up her boyfriend. On watch. Discipline among the females was horrible, they were allowed to run wild due to the men either being afraid of cracking down on them or being afraid that it would affect their onboard sex life. We cannot afford these problems on submarines.

I don't see women on American submarines (or Brit ones, for that matter) to be inevitable. The future will bring us smaller boats with less room. The designers and operators will want to put gear where the women would otherwise go. That only makes sense, the more gear, the more useful that billion-dollar boat would be. And then there are the wives. When Danzig and his ilk were pushing women on the boats back in the 90s, the wives were unhappy. Very unhappy.

No, I don't think Obama will push this issue, although if Danzig becomes SECDEF, you can expect him to push to include women in more areas throughout the services. Obama would be wise to not go there. When Clinton tried it, not only did the Republicans in Congress fight him, but conservative Democrats did too.

11/09/2008 12:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a bad idea all around. One doesn’t have to be physically tough to manage on a submarine, but you’d better damn well be mentally tough. Shipmates can and will be tortuous. Get upset at that name someone tagged you with or what was said about your mother? Guess what, you’re stuck with it for the duration of the duty station. I’ve seen a couple of guys crack and get booted. Not to say that all women would fit this profile, but most would. Face it – we ARE different. That said, I’m not even sure of the mental toughness of many of the male sailors today thanks to Danzig-type’s efforts at producing a kinder gentler military.

A couple of asides:
Anyone promoting Danzig as an authority should realize that this guy is nothing more than a globalist hack. If it were up to him, he’d be happy creating the United Nations’ Navy.

The nuke “pipeline” ain’t what it used to be. A majority of nukes (that I’ve dealt with) that EAOSed in the past 10 years are sorely lacking. Alas, the “pipeline” is no longer a filter, but is instead a pump.

Mulligan – what “black problem” on subs? It’s all volunteer dork. Either you volunteer and make it, or you don’t. Besides, now that Osama has been elected, there is no more need for any affirmative action plans. Equality achieved. Close the books on all of ‘em. As for your miserable existence during your enlistment, dude, you really should let it go. Whatsa matter, did ums get tweeted badly by doze meanies?

I can vouch for the RM2(SS) comments – I was there.

11/10/2008 1:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call me cynical if you will, but I think that combat readiness has been secondary to political correctness for quite some time.

The ladies will end up on the boats eventually. I think we all know that. Regardless of the manyfold stories of women getting pregnant to avoid deployments, etc. on surface ship units, they'll be on the boats before too long...likely first on the boomers.

My advice is to not fret about it too much. The planet will keep spinning in the same direction. People are far more adaptable than we sometimes give them credit for.

11/10/2008 8:57 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

There is not enough's worst in the officer corps.

11/10/2008 5:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan, I say again, sub force is all-volunteer. Unless you want to bring back the draft, then force people based upon race into submarine service, I don't see your point. But judging by your elementary usage of written English, I wouldn't expect you to understand.

11/10/2008 9:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what Mulligan's problem is, but it seems to infect people on the left side of the aisle more frequently than the right.

The idea that equality only occurs when percentages of an ethnic or racial group in a given population are mirrored in the submarine service (or any place else) is lunacy. There is no racial/ethnic barrier to submarine service. If someone meets the entry requirements and wants earn their dolphins they should go for it. Bear in mind, however, that equal opportunity does not mean equal results.

As for women - not until a boat is designed for coed crews. Too many variables in an already crowded environment.

11/11/2008 12:12 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...


What do the ELT's do now when its their time of the month? Use Kimwipes? Sorry, couldn't resist...

No, we use the pillow cases of RO's. Hehehehehe.....

Ok, I've got the definitive answer to why women shouldn't be on submarines: NIA

NIA - Navy Issued Ass - the ass that 99.9995% of Enlisted Navy women achieve (within 4 standard deviations) once they start to eat 3 square meals a day, and don't have to compete for men's interest. See also, "What happens to women who stop exercising at 20.

They wouldn't be much to look at, and when the size-of-her-ass starts to exceed the pain-in-your-ass, it's just not worth the trouble.

11/11/2008 3:42 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I observe this; Idaho has one of the lowest percentages of blacks in the nation, they voted for president Bush/McCain at the highest or second highest rates in the nation this election...thus Idaho has the stupidest women in the states!

11/11/2008 6:26 PM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

Female Civilian Contractor Sea-Riders have been on subs for many years.

There are issues with pheremones and feminine hygiene. They're not hard ones to overcome, and there are already quite enough douchebags in the Navy so that a few more on subs won't make a difference. At least these ones will fit in a purse.

Privacy on a sub? Get Real. Anyone who expects any isn't going to fit in real well on a sub, are they? You may get some, but don't expect it as a right.

I've worked with other women, both Civies and RAN, on subs. If there's a problem with this in the USN, it will only be because US society is different. That may be, it's up to you to work out. You'll be wasting a lot of talent though. That we've proved.

You de-segregated within living memory, and that would have been harder, more of an ask in many ways. If you want to, you can do this.

Not in a hurry though, you better have boats designed with mixed crews in mind.

11/13/2008 8:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: DADT, article in yesterdays SF Chronicle about that issue. Over 100 retired flag officers have signed a letter calling for allowing gays to serve openly recognizing that thousands already serve under DADT policy. When queried on the subject, Obama spokesperson (I paraphrase here) referred to his announced position on the issue (sometime early in the campaign)that he is in agreement with allowing them to serve openly. The spokesperson also went on to say Obama would not persue it unless the JCS and Chairman request it.

Sounds like a very smart move! Lesson learned from Clinton Administration mistake.

Keep a zero bubble......


11/19/2008 12:51 PM

Blogger Rose said...

Being a woman that has previously served in the Navy I feel my opinion matters and should be read.
Like a lot of women, I use to believe it was unfair that because of gender we weren't aloud to do what men could. I wanted to be able to go on board a sub...i mean what makes them (men) so much better then me. I can do anything they can do....right?
Well since then I have come to grasps with reality. There are men jobs and there are female jobs. Being on a sub is certainly one of those men jobs. here are a list of reason why.

1.) Depression. It is fact that women are more likely to become victims of it. Having to leave your families for loooong periods of time with out communication is hard. I don't think women are understanding that when our on a mission, like one on a sub, where everything is secretive you can't just get on line and send a message. A mother having to be away from here children with no contact is just to much of a risk. I use to work in an ED and I'd had military wives come in all the time for stupid shit in efforts of getting a red cross message though. It rarely happened. this is where i started getting the concept of special forces. No man out on a mission wants to get a red cross message EVER, It's never a good thing. (Ladies please stop)

2.) Woman have that I can do anything attitude. That can get you killed. In my 5 years in the Navy I have witnessed female sailors ask why over and over again before completing an Order. When you are on a special ops mission it is important that you do as your told, when your told, and ask questions later if you need to. Woman have a hard time taking Orders without feeling bullied, or forced. This is certainly another huge issue.

3.) Fraternization is of course huge. becoming Pregnant is always a possibility when woman are aboard ships, and of course complications can become an issue. Becoming pregnant is not the only issue though. There is also possible acts of adultery that can happen . I know people say a dog is a dog, if it's going to happen then it it will. but why even bring that upon yourself especially during an important mission. People get tempted it's human nature, usually you just get up and walk away though. On a sub your kind of stuck with it until the mission is over. Yes sometimes you may get that brother sister bond but not likely all the time.
I was only in Corpsmen school 3 months and i got married.. Because I shared emotions with this person. Boy was that a mistake. Being away from the the norm/family and friends changes you. Many people in the military feel if it happened while on deployment it doesn't count.
There is also the possibility of ending a relationship in bad terms...lets face it, Woman are full of revenge when this happens....WHY RISK IT.

11/23/2008 12:51 PM

Blogger cyclekarl said...

This is political correctness gone mad,the feminists have got their way,but what next will disabled people be allowed to serve on submarines as well and will they have to have ramps for wheel chairs,it may sound silly,but not letting them serve will be against their human rights,and we can't have that can we? well if women are to serve they should be made to adapt not the other way around,or better serve on women only vessels,then men won't be able to discriminate against them and the women won't be able to sue for sexual harassment as they often like doing.

11/23/2008 7:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys don't need the problems we have on CVN's with women. Fraternization, mass pregnancies, girls crying rape after they f**ked someone and can't get their way, the incessant bitching and moaning... Yes, there are women that will do the job of men and some do them better, but I have seen very few- very few.
Seriously, keep them off your subs. You won't regret it.


12/23/2008 2:28 PM

Anonymous cleananglingpledge said...

Thanks so much for this post, quite effective info.

4/07/2012 3:28 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home