Women on submarine break gender barrier in US

Military hurdle goes

Women on submarine break gender barrier in US

So far, 11 female midshipmen have been accepted into the Navy’s training programme. Several talked about how their hopes and aspirations went from the buzz of possibility to thrilling reality.

“I didn’t want to get excited yet,” Midshipman Abigail Gesecki, of Nanticoke, recalled when she first heard that a policy change to allow women to serve on subs was under consideration. “And then it happened, and I was like: Wow! I’m in shock. It was a little bit of a feeling of shock that everything that I really wanted I got. It doesn’t always happen that way in life.”

A total of about 20 women will begin training this summer to become submarine officers in a programme that takes at least 15 months. They will report for duty aboard a submarine by 2012. The first group of women will consist entirely of officers. They will be assigned to guided-missile attack submarine and ballistic-missile submarine, which have the most living space in the Navy’s fleet.

Three women will be assigned to each submarine’s rotating crews. That will allow all three women aboard a sub to share a single stateroom for sleeping. A single bathroom shared by the vessel’s 15 officers will have a sign to show if a man or woman is inside.
The change is the latest generational leap at the academy. One student noted that her father graduated in 1971 — five years before women were admitted to the academy.
“He thought he was shocked when I got in here,” Midshipman Elizabeth Hudson, of Plymouth, said. “He’s up for a new round of that now. He’s very excited.”

Midshipman Jessica Wilcox said she has wanted to be an officer on a submarine since her first year at the academy. Wilcox said she was drawn by the highly technical and skilled professionalism she saw in both the officer and enlisted ranks during a submarine tour. “The best part of it was the interaction between the officer and the enlisted crew.”

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