Sunday, October 02, 2005

Female Submarine Crew Advisability

Attempts by feminist lawyers in the Clinton Administration to assign women aboard navy submarines provoked considerable response and nearly all of it was negative. For example, a Connecticut newspaper published a letter from a female graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Patty Marr, who has served at sea and who definitely disagreed with attempts to assign women to submarines. Here are a sampling of excerpts from Marr and others:

Navy Position:
Women are not currently assigned to submarine crews because of the very limited habitability and privacy onboard a submarine. However, women have been on submarines for short durations as civilian technicians for specialized equipment testing, family members for one-day dependent cruises, and female midshipmen conducting two-day orientation cruises. Source:

A Submarine Officer Speaks Frankly:
Having women on a sub would be a bit like having men and women together in prison. Personally, as an officer, I would not have wanted women on my crew, even if the women were better performers.
The first mission of the Navy is to defend the security of the United States. A secondary mission of the Navy is to accomplish the first mission in accordance with the values of the American people in so much as is practical. Sometimes it is not practical. Americans value democracy but democracy is not practical in the Navy. Americans value equal responsibilities for women. Now that the cold war is over (emphasis added) and the threat for which the sub force was built is gone, we might be able to afford putting women on submarines. But it would be expensive and there are many practical problems. Sometimes people bring up the idea of an all female submarine crew. I think this would work but training the first crew would be difficult. On the sub, the captain and a handful of chiefs each had 15 or more years experience on submarines. This experience made operating the ship possible. And this experience is not something that can develop quickly.

Another Submarine Officer Speaks Thoughtfully:
My recommendation is that if women must be integrated into the force, they come in as senior officers. No one aboard would ever question the authority of the executive officer, who is ten feet tall no matter who he (or she) is. The Navy would do well to take a few dozen surface ship female officers who have the best fitness reports and train them in submarines. Then put them to work as nuclear submarine navigators and watch them. My prediction is that half will fail, but the half who succeed will be worth the effort. Once females have "made their bones" as dolphin-wearers, then and only then should females be admitted to the junior officer and enlisted ranks.

Scientific Observations (females first to use tools):
"In the first case, we had a female crossing a pool; and this female has crossed this pool by using a detached stick and testing the water depth, and trying to use it as a walking stick," he told the BBC. ...They can also learn tool use and transmit their acquired skills to other members of their social group. Hint: Teachers


Phyllis Schlafly Speaks:
Women on subs is a terrible idea. The Navy's highest-ranking admirals are strongly opposed, but the powerful feminists in the Clinton Administration are trying to get their way by executive order. Female sailors of childbearing age would face particular medical risks on submarines. Air in a submarine is constantly recycled and trace elements in the atmosphere, such as carbon monoxide, cannot be filtered out. Such elements are reasonably safe for adults, but toxic for an unborn child.

Patty Marr's letter is worth quoting. "I can speak from experience that `women at sea' is no success story. Average women do not have the upper body strength of the average man.
"I passed all my tests, but I could not lower a submersible pump into a flooded space. Who would you prefer in wartime?
"Pregnancy and sea time are incompatible. If women become pregnant, they must eventually depart the ship. Submarines must have 100 percent crew readiness even in dental health.
"The Navy discriminates against obesity, illness, disability, age, and yes, sex. The military's mission is to effectively fight wars, not be an equal opportunity employer pandering to every special interest group. Should we make submarines handicapped accessible?
"I hope our military commanders have the courage to stand up against the pressure just as they need to in the heat of a battle."


At 07 October, 2005 20:38, Blogger Skippy-san said...

I agree with all of the quotes. Problem is, the same logic applies to assigning women to surface ships and aircraft squadrons. The loss of camaraderie and extra baggage required to get things done is just not worth it.......

At some point the self evident logic here will be ignored.....
much to the detriment of sub force.

At 23 November, 2005 14:09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you Skippy, except the last part. I don't think women on the boats will happen. The last time that idea was floated (reference many of the quotes above, which are from that time), there was no public support for that to happen. Women in other areas of the Armed Forces are still causing controversy, so this one will continue to cross the line.

At 23 August, 2006 21:32, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MM2(SS) SSN-723
First off i am not against womens right or undermining thier abilities as sailors, but submarnes are not hospitable for women 1. radation + pregnancy never has a good out come. 2. women have cycles that the ship cannot afford to lose a body. 3. i have been onboard with women midshipmen they are distracting to the crew in such close quarters. thank you for your time.

At 13 February, 2007 17:17, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woman should not be on subs! The subs need their crews and from what I see, females are getting out of deployments due to pregnancies, the only way they can really get out of deployments! Also, there will be sexual harrassments filed right and left! If women want a sub, give them their own.


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