In the 110-year history of the Navy’s submarine force, no woman has ever officially been allowed to serve on board one of the ships. But by the end of next year, two dozen women will begin serving aboard four submarines, according to the Defense Department website.
The Navy has been ramping up for the integration since Defense Secretary Robert Gates notified Congress in February the service wanted to add women to its submarine crews.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead said his experience commanding a mixed-gender surface-combatant ship makes him very comfortable with the move.
The Navy first allowed women to serve on surface noncombatant ships in 1973 and on surface combatant ships in 1993, according to the DoD website.