August 11, 2015

Janine Asseln - First Female Submarine Officer in the German Navy

The one and (perhaps still the) only female Submarine Officer in the German Navy, Janine Asseln, has created considerable interest over the last 2 years. (Photo courtesy - the German Navy's magazine).

Submarine Officer Janine Asseln in front of her submarine "U-Boot" U-31. This is at the Eckenförde Naval Base (where all Germany's submarines are based) on the Baltic Sea. See references to Eckenförde here (Photo: DPA)

The German online newspaper reports April 3, 2014: 
Women are a very rare sight on submarines, but the German Navy has welcomed its first female officer, Janine Asseln, who is The Local’s German of the Week.
Since the beginning of the year, 27-year-old Asseln has held the role of fourth watch officer on the [HDW 212] U-31 Delta.
She is the only woman in the German Navy to be granted a commission on a submarine. Traditionally it was believed a female presence onboard brought bad luck.
“Anyone can handle being above water,” said Asseln, whose father and grandfather were both in the navy, and inspired her career choice. Only in Norway have female submarine officers started to become more the norm [since 1985].
[She grew up in Eckenförde in Schleswig-Holstein near the naval base she now works from]. Being on a submarine was, she said, always a dream of hers - but one which her mother and grandmother viewed with a little scepticism.
“They're all proud of me now,” she said, adding that her boyfriend was too. Asseln lives and works as the only woman alongside a team of 27 men.
Her boyfriend finds it tough, she said, when she's away for long stretches. “But he's completely behind me,” she said.
Like any member of the Delta crew, she had to earn respect from her submarine mates. “Of course they have a jab to see what you're made of,” she said, adding that everyone onboard “has to be able to do everything”. This requires a high level of ability.
For instance in an emergency, everyone needs to know which vents should be open or closed. For the most part, watch officer Asseln uses a periscope to keep an eye out above water, or help plan the route the submarine is taking.
But living onboard the submarine can be a bigger challenge than being an officer as there is very little space to move around in.
“I have more bruises than I could count in the beginning,” Asseln said.

Submarine Officer Janine Asseln on Youtube, April 2014.

Submarine Officer Janine Asseln pointing out the her bunk in a shared sleeping compartment shared with male colleagues (Photo courtesy German online news).
As for being a woman, Asseln gets no special treatment. She has her bunk with the men and got used to it relatively quickly. “Everyone has their own sleeping bag,” she said, but she admitted there is nearly no privacy.
Asseln has a curtain to hang up when she gets changed and said she tends "not to stand around in my underwear”.
The [U-31] Delta crew heads out on its next mission in May when it will make for England and then over to Norway. Asseln has already been out on one long deployment.
As it stands, she is set to stay part of the team for the next few years.
Hopefully like her, other women will also make their way underwater."

Women in Europe have led the way on jobs in submarines.

Please connect with Submarine Matters Women in US Navy Submarines! of July 27, 2015.



Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
So, when can I go on a patrol with her

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

1. Learn German

2. Gain German citizenship

3. Join German Navy!ut/p/c4/DcVBDoAgDATAt_iB9u7NXyi3YhqyAYrZEP2-ZA6jSZewF8UmRljTU68be_6ko1Uj4XQxZscsnp0yWFbdiHB96rH9zPj3gA!!/

4. 3-4 years on surface ships. Security rating to Secret or Top

5. Plead on bended knees to join be U-Boot geserven.

6. Pass through U-Boot Training Center!ut/p/c4/DcLBDYAwCADAWVwA_v7cQv2BkkpsqWlBE6fX3OGKP6NbE7lWo4wzLpuO_EChBiEsLayDqB2iLgbBtboARWfNe1jqr5i3KHid0_ABCvWhxQ!!/

7. Then they may not send you to Asseln's U-Boot but probably not :)


8 join US Navy submarine service, rise to Lt Comdr and get some secondment NATO gig on German U-Boots.

And Janine has a boyfriend already - Karate Black Belt in German Navy SEALs!!

Good Luck


Nicky said...

Hi Pete
Not worth the hassle.