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Is it a good idea to allow women to serve on U.S. Navy submarines?

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We are supposed to be PROUD of our military, right? Don't we call them military professionals? Shouldn't PROFESSIONAL people be able to keep it in their pants? It sickens me that we take it for granted that our military could not cope with men and women living and working together, even in close quarters, or that the mere thought of a gay man looking at a straight man's tallywhacker could throw the entire military into a hissy fit!

This isn't high school. It's the military. How can we expect our boys and girls to make life and death decisions and bear the realities of war and yet claim they couldn't handle living together in close quarters?

Submitted by amauck : Feb 25, 2010 4:53pm

ive said pretty much the same thing over and over. one skipper i had said "absolutely no dating within my command" and it seems to have worked. but finally 2 of our "line rats" got caught b/c the female had to tell them she was pregnant. they never took her to mast, and they even retained her, i found out a few years later. they took the male to mast though. now theyre married and he does nothing b/c he got kicked out or got out at the first opportunity.

since then i keep seeing skippers modify fraternization rules for their command, lowering the standard set by big navy, just so they can be out of the office long enough to get some flying time in. i think its rediculous and i feel helpless to do much of anything to hold people to that professional standard when those kinds of decisions are being made way above my paygrade.

it all reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, (from knockaround guys) "there used to be a way of doing things. now, everyone's FEELINGS are involved."

Submitted by tweak115 : Feb 28, 2010 3:08pm

I would like to see it happen, but I do have concerns. Men and women should be allowed to serve their country in all ways as equals. However, to serve in such small confined quarters may be asking for trouble. Out to sea for months on end and we all know that we Navy men are freaking hound dogs....I simply worry. But I would hope that many things have changed since I was in the Navy back in 1969 as a hospital Corpsman.

Submitted by RoyStephens : Feb 25, 2010 4:59pm

I served on an FBM submarine in the 60's and I know that it is not a good idea. Even if arragements are made for birthing there is too many close quarters for the two people to be in for an extended periord of time. The FBM sub had a relative lot of space but the fast attacks do not they are more compact and are deployed for a longer period of time. I agree that both sexes should be allowed to serve their country but not together in such close quarters, maybe a sub with only females would be a better idea.

Submitted by Barry L. Gardner : Feb 25, 2010 5:54pm

Having talked with many retired Navy officer and Enlisted personnel, to the man they say NO to the ladies on any combat or support ship.

Seems the girls cause so much drama and stress that they literally bring down the combat readiness.

It is time to stop all this political correctness in the military, the game is to serious and consequences to grave.

Submitted by toorisky : Feb 25, 2010 8:07pm

I also have talked with many (both active and retired) of all services and still do. I have found the split to be about equal with a slight edge to banning women from combat ships and land combat operations. It is reversed for allowing them to serve in support positions. So your "to a man" statement seems to say you only talk to people who agree with you.

With the ongoing conflicts and the all volunteer service there is no way the United States can keep up a military force without women. Look at the shipbuilders during WW II.

A friend of mine who served multiple tours in Vietnam recently said that the female nurses and doctors were much better equipped to handle the blood and gore than the males.

Maybe it is time to move into the new century and hold both sexes accountable for their actions in whatever profession they choose and get rid of the good old boy networks.

Submitted by Gerald Schwartz : Feb 25, 2010 8:39pm

I think women can be integrated into submarine service. The screening in rigorous and training is not for wimps.

I served on submarines and shore stations. I also was involved in construction of submarine tenders. I saw the integration of women into the surface ship program

Among the younger generation I found many women to be sexually more aggressive than their male counterparts. In one instance I witnessed the propositioning of a male by a female on the quarterdeck awaiting liberty.

Where ever you have both sexes in the work place there will be tensions. If those in the military are treated as the professionals which they are and the commanding officers require that those who serve are treated with the respect they deserve there will be minimal problems. There are always some conflicts both in civilian and military workplaces.

As for costs of retrofit, I can tell horror stories of retrofitting to accommodate separation of senior officer quarters from junior.

Submitted by Gerald Schwartz : Feb 25, 2010 8:22pm

After serving 20 years in the Navy, my answer is "HELL NO!". The truth be known, it's virtually impossible to keep many women from living in the men's barracks already!

In GITMO (Guantanamo Bay), there was (and may still be) a small "army" of women parading out of the men's barracks most every morning at the crack of dawn. On more than one occassion, I recall Shore Patrol being called in to escort some gal out of the men's barracks because of all the noise she was making during sex!

(NOTE: There was no such problem in the women's the lesbians wouldn't tolerate the men being there in the first place!)

Long story short, when equal numbers of men AND women are defending...and dying... for their country on the front lines, i.e., Afgkanistan...then and only then should the military entertain such silly ideas as "women serving on submarines." Oh, and here's an idea...let women sign up to serve on a sumbarine... AFTER they register to sign up for the draft!!!

Submitted by JP : Feb 26, 2010 12:32am

good point! ACLU, the "new navy", were all about equality right???

Submitted by tweak115 : Feb 28, 2010 2:44pm

I retired after 28 years in the Navy, 17 years in subs and 11 years on sub tenders and shore stations. Yes all military men and women are proud of being in the military and are professional in their careers. But when the opportunity presents itself Fraternization from the Commanding Officer down to the lowest seaman prevails. We can't keep drugs off the ships or the shore commands. What makes anyone think they can keep a lid on sex while deployed or as soon as the ship or sub docks its off to find a place to do it. The Chain of Command has enough problems just carrying out their mission without it being compromized by fraternization. In addition now the chain of command has to deal with the cheating married personnel when they return home and the spouse is upset. Shipmates like to take pictures when they are on liberty and the friendly picture of a military man and woman embracing somehow always makes it back to the spouse. Subs may be small but there is always a way to find a place.

Submitted by rstewart246 : Feb 26, 2010 7:44am

I have heard arguments over and over about the conflict of having both men and women serving together in the close confines of a submarine. I have also heard that it would cost significant money to have additional, separate facilities put into submarines for the female sailors. These two seemingly overwhelming hurdles to accomodating women as submariners are bunk.

A simple, cost effective method of placing women into service as submariners was suggested by myself at Subase Kings Bay, GA years ago but the senior Navy leadership ther did not want to consider it.

Essentially, each submarine has two crews - one Blue and one Gold. Simply make one crew all female and one crew all male and then you can eliminate funding any changes/additions to the sub and any problems of men and women serving together.

Anyone who disagrees with this idea better come up with a job aboard a submarine that a women cannot perform. If not, then this is the simplest, most cost effective answer.

Submitted by davedee : Feb 26, 2010 11:25am

there are other strong advantages to this blue/gold thing too. who, besides a female supervisor, or female commander, etc, is as familiar with real issues females have versus issues they may invent. there are all kinds of females in the navy, and i suspect in the military in general. some are outstanding examples of what women are capable of, and some are not. who, more than a female commander can tell one of their female suboordinates to stop sandbagging, stop making excuses and do their job, without having to worry in the back of their mind if that person is going to concoct some b.s. about feeling discriminated against. you may think im being a little rediculous, but thats exactly what happened in my last command. one female was awesome, and one was lazy. the lazy one got yelled at b/c ordies dont play. so she went boo-hoo to the xo and he fell for it, and the ordie shop sup got yelled at. never mind that she jumped the chain of command. maybe try this navy wide, not just subs?

Submitted by tweak115 : Feb 28, 2010 2:39pm

As a Navy physician I was told by a retired CO of a submarine tender that it was simply impossible to prevent/suppress sexual activity between male and female sailors.
Concerning submarines, there are additional concerns. These boats go on prolonged missions where their precise location is a secret. Men don't get pregnant. Women don't know they're pregnant until they miss their menstrual flow and "morning sickness" begins. The pregnant woman is, to a varying degree, incapacitated and needs medical evaluation. That's the standard of care in the U.S. Exposure to the artificial,sealed, atmosphere of the submarine has not been established as safe for a woman in her first trimester. There is the risk of teratogenic effects (birth defects) from exposure to industrial solvents/scrubbing agents in the submarine's internal sealed environment. Is it worth terminating a submarine's mission to replace a pregnant sailor?

Submitted by chathcock : Feb 26, 2010 11:41am

Quit fighting the problem. Let the problem work for you. Suspend all rules/regs/laws on fraternization onboard subs. Have all females who want to serve on subs sign a disclaimer that they understand and accept all ramifications of living with men. It'll take a special kind of woman to do that. And then let the good times roll. Among consenting adults, what is good for morale off base can be good for morale onboard. So get real; quit trying to shoe horn adults into unreal worlds.

Submitted by landlockedtroop : Feb 26, 2010 3:12pm

i like it. but as many unplanned pregnancies and sexual assaults and missed work time for medical visits, etc as we have already... i really think those numbers would increase significantly if noone had to sneak around anymore. one of our married guys just got caught in the barracks with his little hooch, so add adultery to those numbers too. because adultery will still be punishable under the ucmj, regardless.

Submitted by tweak115 : Feb 28, 2010 2:14pm

Having not served on submarines or in the Navy, I can only put my Air Force two cents worth in. I believe it would be a bad idea to have this. As a supervisor in the Air Force, more than once I would have a female worker come up to me and complain about the time of the month. When told she would need to go to the hospital and follow their instructions, all of a sudden she had no problems.
What would happen if this same scenario on board a sub, that is tightly packed as it is, occur? And if a female got pregnant at the beginning of the cruise what happens? Will the recycled air be good for her and the baby? What about the potential problems that submariners face all the time?
It was bad enough when the military told us not to smoke in the offices we had to go outside to smoke, now women on subs? NO WAY.
For you Navy guys and gals, I thank you for your time in service above the water and below the water.

Submitted by mavaughanpost75... : Feb 26, 2010 7:11pm

This is a difficult situation, but everyone lets get to the truth, men do really stupid things in a severely stressful situation. This argument has nothing to do with Ability, a woman can do a man's jobs, no doubt, but when the bullets start flying people get really agitated and the stress level will cause many men to blame any mistakes on the weakest link, and perceptually a woman would fit into that role just by the current military culture. Not to mention, guys, when they are in need of affection will misread just about any signal when they are at high stress. So, if this were to even be tried, you would find a lot of men getting court martialed for abuse and rape. Women have made leaps and bounds when it comes to proving their abilities, but face the truth, when it comes to stressful situations and coed, they do not go together. For their own safety women should accept that the men could not work with them, the confines of a sub might be to difficult a temptation to overcome.

Submitted by Rev Adam Bell : Feb 26, 2010 7:44pm

Another AF opinion. People are dynamic. We are professional. And we are always emotional. Having pulled a couple of remote assignments and worked around missile launch crews, men and women, people are people in close quarters, and there are issues and problems. Submarines are even closer quarters than remote assignments and missile crews. The will be issues and problems.

And to throw a big curve into the discussion, say the Navy implements men and women crews on submarines, then Congress decides to let Openly gay and lesbian people serve, some submariners, implementing that would be really interesting.

Straight, gay, lesbian, people don't, can't, put their emotions in a box and not use them. We current and former military leaders and managers deal with people and their motivations. These activists wanting to sociallly re-engineer us need to look at the entire equation, which includes that troublesome variable - human emotions.

Submitted by MSgtgriff : Feb 27, 2010 11:49am

I put 21 years in the Navy as a Nuc EM and the main reason that women do not serve on subs is the fact that they are nuclear powered. The US Code of Federal Regs 10 CFR 20 states that women can not receive 0.5 Rem over the entire gestation period. The Navy's limit was much lower than this. Quote "The magnitude of risk of childhood cancer following in utero exposure is uncertain in that both negative and positive studies have been reported." There is no way a person can live on a sub without receiving ionizing radiation from the reactor. Bottom line is the government does not want the headaches involved with this. Think people! Would you want your wife or daughter working around a nuc power plant when they are expecting. Not to mention the fact that the Navy would do everything possible to transfer the individual off the sub as soon as they found out. Think of the impact on the crew and the ops schedule. I don't think that the Navy is doing this to hamper anyone's career. Jeez!

Submitted by ezra46 : Feb 28, 2010 1:40am

whether its fraternization, drugs, or whatever... honestly i think it boils down to how America raises its kids in the first place. lets face it, most of these incidents involve the younger, junior personnel. very rarely do i see an incident involving the supervisors, or chiefs, officers, or even junior officers.

the good news is that we are still raising kids who value their country and want to serve. but maybe we just dont PREPARE them to do anything of the kind. we cant spank our kids anymore b/c of the fear that social services will take them away, and some kids just dont respond to anything else. i sure didnt. kids today seem to only care about their ipod/xbox/myspace/facebook, etc, and their social life. i guess you dont really have to apply yourself to graduate high school and theres little foundation of discipline or respect to begin with. often thats the attitude i still see as they come into the navy.

God bless those parents like mine who expected more.

Submitted by tweak115 : Feb 28, 2010 3:43pm

Men and women have and shall have the same rights.
There is a difference, and in all times and everywhere there has been some practical arrangements that helps the sexes to independence.
There is no need to stress that the males are more aggressive. It seems true.
So hospitals and prisons that diminuate usual "social lack of respect" go to "arrangements" and the military too.
This must go on when and where needed. At the same time the tendency to make mens sexuality as half good and half evil should be regarded with more disdain.
Sex drive is partly like other drives that leads to disrespect and worse, just that.
Drives are there to be mastered. We need them and when mastered. They are great and without we are all dead.

Submitted by j johnson (not verified) : Oct 26, 2014 3:56pm

Just because you have a "right", doesn't mean it's the safest thing to do for our country's defense.

Submitted by Janine (not verified) : Jun 22, 2016 8:10am

Let them have there own sub, all women crew period, think they would go for that? No way they want to act like men and be with them.

Submitted by Oldtimer1926 (not verified) : Apr 23, 2015 2:28pm