It seems appropriate that the equality state would represent inroads in the navy for women now. Twelve years ago women were first authorized to serve aboard submarines. While women comprise nearly one-fourth of the Department of Defense’s total force, only a small fraction of women serve on submarines.
The 15 enlisted women serving aboard the ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming’s Blue Crew, who homeported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, recently, reached a milestone accomplishment for all women who serve.
These submariners made history when they became the first enlisted female crew to complete a ballistic-missile submarine “boomer” deterrent patrol. Such a patrol begins when the submarine leaves its home port and ends upon its return. The entire mission of ballistic-missile submarines is to deter attacks by potential adversaries through strategic deterrence patrols.
On average, ballistic-missile submarines spend 77 days at sea, followed by 35 days in port for maintenance. Enlisted women currently serve aboard four guided-missile submarines and one ballistic-missile submarine. There are 70 active submarines in the fleet.
All future Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines and all Virginia-class fast attack submarines, starting with the USS New Jersey will now have enlisted women in their crews as well.