Two fast attack U.S. Navy submarines have been selected as the initial two Virginia-class subs to integrate female officers.
The Secretary of the Navy announced Monday that the USS Virginia (SSN-74) and USS Minnesota (SSN 783), both homeported in Groton, Conn., were chosen.
Six female officers, two Supply Corps and four nuclear-trained, will report aboard the subs no later than January 2015.
“Female officers serving aboard Virginia-class submarines is the next natural step to more fully integrate women into the submarine force,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “There are many extremely talented and capable women with a desire to succeed in this field and the submarine force will be stronger because of their efforts. Our Navy has proven over the years that one of our greatest advantages is our diversity. This is an advantage we should capitalize on across all platforms, including submarines.”
The Navy officially changed their policy prohibiting women serving on subs in 2010. Since then, 43 women have been integrated onto six Ohio-class ballistic-missile and guided-missile submarines. Further Virginia-class integration is being planned.
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Submarines with women currently serving on board are USS Florida (SSGN 728), USS Georgia (SSGN 729) and USS Wyoming (SSBN 742), homeported in Kings Bay, Ga., and USS Ohio (SSGN 726), USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), and USS Maine (SSBN 741), homeported in Bangor, Wash.
“My plan is to begin by integrating four Virginia-class attack submarines, with the second set of two units being integrated in Fiscal Year 2016,” said Vice Adm. Michael Connor, commander, Submarine Forces. “Since Virginia and Minnesota are both Atlantic Fleet submarines home ported in Groton, Conn., I intend to select two Pacific Fleet submarines home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii early next year.”
The female officers will be assigned to the Virginia-class submarines for duty after completing the nuclear submarine training pipeline, which consists of nuclear power school, prototype training and the Submarine Officer Basic Course.