Enlisted women now free to apply for submarine duty at any time

Sailors assigned to the guided missile submarine USS Florida conduct training in the Trident Training Facility at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. The Navy will now accept applications for enlisted women hoping to join the submarine ranks.


By JOSHUA KARSTEN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 16, 2019

Enlisted women hoping to join the ranks of Navy submariners will no longer have to wait for infrequent opportunities to apply.

The Navy will now accept applications continuously from female enlisted sailors to serve in non-nuclear rates, said an administrative message signed by Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr., chief of naval personnel.

Women will be considered to serve on previously integrated crews on four submarines or initial enlisted integration on other boats.

In the past, application windows were determined by the submarine community’s needs and available billets for the integration of individual boats, the service said in a statement Monday.

“Applications will be processed as they are received, and there is no specified due date,” according to the statement, which encouraged interested sailors to submit their applications “as soon as possible.”

Enlisted women first integrated into submarine crews in 2015, five years after the Navy first lifted the prohibition on women serving in the submarine force, when 38 sailors were selected for two crews of the USS Michigan. Female officers first filled the ranks in 2011.

Under the new process, sailors for all communities can apply to be converted into one of 10 open submarine ratings — only four of which are open for chief petty officers and senior chief petty officers.

Sailors of all ranks up to senior chief can apply to be a submarine yeoman, culinary specialist, logistics specialist or information systems technician.

The ratings of sonar technician, fire control technician, electronics technician navigation and electronics technician communications, as well as machinist’s mate weapons and machinist’s mate auxiliary are open to sailors up to petty officer first class.

“Personnel specialists and independent duty corpsmen will also be considered,” the statement said.

The non-nuclear submarine enlisted community manager will best fit each sailor to a rating based on their application package and the needs for each rating.

Applications will be considered for four previously integrated submarines: the USS Ohio and USS Michigan, out of Bangor, Wash., and the USS Florida and USS Georgia, out of Kings Bay, Ga. The four subs are the last of the Ohio-class guided missile submarines that were converted from ballistic missile submarines in the 2000s.

Applicants must meet specific requirements, including clean records, the required minimum scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery for their desired ratings and the ability to pass a medical screening. All must be U.S. citizens with security clearances or the ability to qualify for one.

A separate announcement is expected to outline the conversion process for women in nuclear ratings.

The Navy’s administrative message with further details can be viewed here.

Twitter: @joshua_karsten

USS Florida arrives in Souda Bay, Greece, for a scheduled port visit March 14, 2019. The Navy will now accept applications for enlisted women hoping to join the submarine ranks.