Pentagon Let Women Serve On Navy Submarines

02.24.10 | FL News Team

Women will be allowed to serve aboard U.S. Navy submarines if Congress gives its okay. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signed off on a letter from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to Congress, seeking approval for the precedent-setting move. Currently, Navy women are allowed to serve on surface ships and have done so since 1993. Submarines remain the last vestige of all-male crews in the American Navy. Under the plan, female officers would be the first to serve on subs. They would be assigned at least in pairs, and the Navy says no woman will be alone on a sub full of men.

 If the plan is implemented, women would be first assigned to larger submarines that already have separate officers quarters. Smaller subs would be included as they are overhauled and refitted in the future. A Pentagon official told ABC News that lifting the ban on women serving on submarines has the full support of Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If approved, it would take about 18 months for the first women to go aboard a sub. They must first complete a year of nuclear school, followed by other extensive military training particular to submarines.