July 27, 2015

Woman in US Navy Submarines!

Lt. Cmdr. Maura Thompson, SSBN supply officer. 
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SILVERDALE, [Washington State] — A 2000 Liberty High School graduate and Salem, West Virginia, native is serving aboard one of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, living and working at [the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Washington State]..


Lt. Cmdr. Maura Thompson is the supply officer on USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), which is based [at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor] about 15 miles west of Seattle across Puget Sound. She is responsible for managing the food service and the logistical warehouse on board the ship.
“What I enjoy most is the sailors,” Thompson said. “On our submarine, we have only a little more than 150 total people, so I can get personally involved...".

USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) is one of the Navy’s 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, also referred to as “boomers,” which patrol the world’s oceans for months at a time, serving as undetectable launch platforms for submarine-launched ballistic missiles..."

Ship missile systems operator Petty Officer (2nd class) Lisa Reaux aims to join SSGN crew. 


"[Lisa Reaux] The 26-year-old petty officer second class recently was chosen as one of the first female enlisted sailors to undergo training to serve on a submarine. If she successfully completes the year long preparation, Reaux will be assigned to the USS Michigan, an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine based in Bangor, Wash...There are currently 39 nuclear-trained female officers and 16 female supply officers serving on 16 crews aboard nine submarines, ..."
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An Ohio class SSBN. Click image to expand or access very large image here. (Cutaway diagram courtesy American History). Each Ohio SSBN (16,764 tonnes surfaced) can fire 24 Trident II/Trident D5 missiles. Each missile can carry up to 12  MIRVed W88 (475 kt) warheads or 12 W76 (100 kt) warheads. The US Navy's 4 SSGNs are modified Ohio subs.
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Just a small part of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Washington State, USA. Is the large building in the foreground the Base Exchange shopping center (?) (Photo courtesy Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council of the U.S. Navy League)

COMMENT

Having a Lt. Cmdr just to run the supply section of a submarine shows how big the submarine is (with 2 x 155 person Gold/Blue crews per SSBN).

There have been major misgivings from many in the US Navy (and ex US Navy) about having women in US submarines. 

Vigilis, who writes at Molten Eagle, has indicated in Comments :

"The Obama administration has callously placed women on U.S. nuclear subs, which unlike most non-nuclear subs, are typically deployed for at least six months at a time on missions of stealth. This decision was made for purely political purposes under the false ruse of a "shortage of male submariners." However, the announced shortage of sub volunteers (27 OCT 2009) was soon betrayed by [Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Programs] NUPOC's 17 May 2010 announcement asking for sub nucs to switch to [Surface Warfare Officer] SWO (surface ship status). The Naval Academy provided 119 submarine ensigns in its 2009 graduating class, 2 more than in 2008's, and 31 more than 2006's.

There are three excellent, factual reasons women should have continued to be excluded from nuclear sub duty, and I can assure you that none of the real reasons has anything to do with "feelings [that] are a disgrace to peoplehood."

1. Women have been assigned as "supernumerary" and/or redundant duties (non-critical jobs in case of pregnancies). In other words, not mission-critical jobs.

2. The rate of women sailors missing movement on U.S. surface ships has been alarming for the world's premiere navy, and human nature applies to subs as well... There were 778 pregnancies among 6,166 women crew members aboard 53 surface ships ... The highest pregnancy rate was aboard submarine tenders (27 per 100 woman-years), and the lowest rate was aboard amphibious assault ships (0 per 100 woman-years). ... reported outcomes included normal pregnancies, elective abortions, ectopic pregnancies, spontaneous abortions, and stillbirths, regardless of whether they resulted in hospitalization. The female requirement for medical care is much higher than for men (who have historically had all four 4th molars removed prior to submarine duty (Cold War) as a precaution to avoid mission interference.

3. The combination of 1 and 2 will lead to deterioration of male morale, reccruiting and retention as the once elite submarine service gradually becomes a British-type service of grievous errors, poor crew selection, poorer maintenance, and second rate mission completion. We do not need a weaker submarine force.

One need not take an ex-submariners opinion alone, however. Here is a recent quote from an active-duty admiral who is obviously concerned:

“The loss of even one member of a crew can have a significant ripple effect on a submarine, especially when it’s someone who holds unique qualifications. In many cases, that means we either pull someone from another crew or we end up with a deficit in skills. Neither of those stopgap solutions is ideal.” - Rear Adm. DaveKriete, commander, Submarine Group Nine, Bangor Leaders Seek To DecreaseUnplanned Personnel Losses, July 1, 2015.

More at http://aquilinefocus.blogspot.com/2015/07/submarine-quote-of-month-july-2015.html"

Pete

13 comments:

MHalblaub said...

Uh, one woman and 150 men!
Bad luck for German femal submariner officers: just 26 chances or even less in case of more femals aboard.
http://www.marine.de/portal/a/marine/!ut/p/c4/NYq7CsJAEEX_aGYjEdHOuBDS2mjsxmQIg_sIw0QbP97dwnvgNOfiAwuJ3rKQSU4U8I7jJKfnByIp0Ms2DoHxVn8zw5QTW7VxMilelCwrrFkt1LKplgIy4-ga37mD-6_5Hvv-svPtvvVDd8U1xvMPZa1J_Q!!/

So, what?

Regards,
MHalblaub

Vigilis said...

Hi Pete
You say, "There has been some resistance in the US Navy (and ex Navy men) to having women in US submarines - especially in "small" 8,000 ton SSNs. Such feelings are a disgrace to peoplehood."

The Obama administration has callously placed women on U.S. nuclear subs, which unlike most non-nuclear subs, are typically deployed for at least six months at a time on missions of stealth. This decision was made for purely political purposes under the false ruse of a "shortage of male submariners." However, the announced shortage of sub volunteers (27 OCT 2009) was soon betrayed by NUPOC's 17 May 2010 announcement asking for sub nucs to swith to SWO (surface ship status). The Naval Academy provided 119 submarine ensigns in its 2009 graduating class, 2 more than in 2008's, and 31 more than 2006's.

There are three excellent, factual reasons women should have continued to be excluded from nuclear sub duty, and I can assure you that none of the real reasons has anything to do with "feelings [that] are a disgrace to peoplehood."

1. Women have been assigned as "supernumerary" and/or redundant duties (non-critical jobs in case of pregnancies). In other words, not mission-critical jobs.
2. The rate of women sailors missing movement on U.S. surface ships has been alarming for the world's premiere navy, and human nature applies to subs as well... There were 778 pregnancies among 6,166 women crew members aboard 53 surface ships ... The highest pregnancy rate was aboard submarine tenders (27 per 100 woman-years), and the lowest rate was aboard amphibious assault ships (0 per 100 woman-years). ... reported outcomes included normal pregnancies, elective abortions, ectopic pregnancies, spontaneous abortions, and stillbirths, regardless of whether they resulted in hospitalization. The female requirement for medical care is much higher than for men (who have historically had all four 4th molars removed prior to submarine duty (Cold War) as a precaution to avoid mission interference.
3. The combination of 1 and 2 will lead to deterioration of male morale, reccruiting and retention as the once elite submarine service gradually becomes a
British-type service of grievous errors, poor crew selection, poorer maintenance, and second rate mission completion. We do not need a weaker submarine force.

One need not take an ex-submariners opinion alone, however. Here is a recent quote from an active-duty admiral who is obviously concerned:
“The loss of even one member of a crew can have a significant ripple effect on a submarine, especially when it’s someone who holds unique qualifications. In many cases, that means we either pull someone from another crew or we end up with a deficit in skills. Neither of those stopgap solutions is ideal.” - Rear Adm. Dave Kriete, commander, Submarine Group Nine, Bangor Leaders Seek To Decrease Unplanned Personnel Losses, July 1, 2015.

More http://aquilinefocus.blogspot.com/2015/07/submarine-quote-of-month-july-2015.html

Regards

Vigilis

Anonymous said...

Sorry but the naval base dosen't hold any Nimitz carriers. The carriers who are tied up there is retired ones from the Forrestal and Kitty Hawk class waiting for decommissioning ;)

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

I'll certainly feature Deutsche Marine's Janine in a future article. Janine being a true submarine officer who can fire torpedos and all :) http://www.marine.de/portal/a/marine/!ut/p/c4/NYq7CsJAEEX_aGYjEdHOuBDS2mjsxmQIg_sIw0QbP97dwnvgNOfiAwuJ3rKQSU4U8I7jJKfnByIp0Ms2DoHxVn8zw5QTW7VxMilelCwrrFkt1LKplgIy4-ga37mD-6_5Hvv-svPtvvVDd8U1xvMPZa1J_Q!!/

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [July 28, 2015 at 8:16 AM]

Thanks. I have deleted the photo of the carriers. Must admit they did look a little rusty and wharfed oddly.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Vigilis

Thanks for your comments. I've placed them in the text.

I've also deleted "Such feelings are a disgrace to peoplehood." Which I admit was harsh.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

HI Pete
I have no problem with women on board submarines. Being I use to serve with the US Coast Guard, we had women on all ranks and commands. Even met a few who made flag rank of Rear Admiral and above.

Also this Article may interest you
http://cimsec.org/chinas-yuan-class-submarine-visits-karachi-assessment/17627

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Thats interesting. The US Coast Guard is bigger than Australia's Navy :)

Yes the Australian Navy also has women on all ships and subs. Some problems on ships have been reported but Australia's submarine service is too "silent" to have reported problms on subs (so far). Maybe no problems?

Are yes - I noticed http://cimsec.org/chinas-yuan-class-submarine-visits-karachi-assessment/17627 . Numbers of Chinese subs and Navy ships are increasing although not yet in numbers to threaten US and Indian Navy dominance.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
Even the US Coast Guard was one of the first services that admitted women to the US Coast Guard academy prior to other service academies following suit. I have seen several women in the US Coast Guard at all levels and all commands including commanding Cutters, patrol boats and Air stations. Here's the surprising fact, the US Coast Guard is about the size of the NYPD/FDNY, spread out in all 50 states and US territories. The reason why the USCG has no problems because were in front of the public eye all the time. So we have to keep a clean image and clean face.

As for the Chinese Navy subs, I don't think they have the numbers to challenge the US, but they maybe able to challenge their neighbors.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Its interesting China is converting some old frigates to add to China's already large coast guard cutter force http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/how-china-is-expanding-its-coast-guard/

It is politically-publically easier for China to show the flag/project power in the East and South China Seas than to use Navy ships.

I don't think the Chinese Navy (PLAN) or Coast Guard have many or any women on vessels.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

I think China is trying to follow the US Coast Guard Model because when the US Coast Guard deploy's overseas. Were often seen as a humanitarian, Law Enforcement role, with military being secondary. If you bring a US Navy ship overseas, it gives the impression that you want to take them out. That's why I think China is trying to mirror the US Coast Guard because it's a lot easier to do diplomacy with a Coast Guard Cutter than a Navy ship. That's why a lot of countries are looking to the US Coast Guard as a model for create their own Coast Guard.

Here's a couple of Videos that explains what the US Coast Guard dose
https://youtu.be/Hbz0YzcFeIY

Here's how the US Coast Guard Takes down Drug runners
https://youtu.be/MyxSWupqcRY

The US Coast Guard still uses Tall Ships to Train future officers
https://youtu.be/tdFCGqZVYUg

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky [at July 31, 2015 at 2:37 AM]

Yep China is using its Coast Guard cutters/ships to political effect. Japan is trying to counter that with its own cutters.

Another non-Navy Chinese tactic is increasing use of maritime militia - see
http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2015/03/31/meet-the-chinese-maritime-militia-waging-a-peoples-war-at-sea/ and
http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/china-is-building-a-new-south-china-sea-fleet-for-its-maritime-militia/

Yep 6 minutes into "USCG - Sinking The Go Fast Boats, a 5220 Lb of Cocaine Bust" https://youtu.be/MyxSWupqcRY has all the elements - a happy female and then dramatic night sinking of the crook's boat with tracer laden 50 caliber(?).

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Meanwhile USNI reports US Navy "has released the outline for its plan to have enlisted women serve onboard submarines starting in 2016."...“Initially, sailors will be selected and trained for rating conversion to serve aboard SSGNs and nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) previously integrated with female officers. The first two crews will be integrated in 2016, with an additional two to four crews added each year through 2021,”
http://news.usni.org/2015/01/21/u-s-navy-enlisted-females-serve-subs-starting-2016