Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Woman Takes Command

How far we have come.

When I was in the Navy's Officer Candidate School back in 1976, we got some mandated sensitivity training about the role of women in the US Navy. My Company Officer (who was married to a female Naval Officer who was also a Company Officer) gave us some simple advice.

"You can't F*%k em and work em at the same time." Crudely put but probably sage advice. Unfortunately he didn't stop there. He paused slightly and then added "The idea is to F%* them first." We all chuckled and grinned at his wisdom and sense of humor.

In my time in the Navy, we went through a series of scandals as we worked out the issues around integrating women into our combat forces. Tailhook was probably the most famous, but no where near the most egregious.

And now we have a woman commanding a Carrier Battle Group. Amazing!

Despite the challenges we face, I love this country more and more every day.


Debbie said...

This is a great achievement for women and the Navy, but I must confess I'm a little old fashioned. The idea of a woman in this position is something we will have to get used to.

Hubby was in the Navy. When stationed at Pearl Harbor, Barber's Point, and Midway, he found the situation with women in the Navy to be disruptive. Too many would end up pregnant in spite of the fact they were ordered not to (I know...)

They would end up having to be replaced by either another woman or a man, thus disrupting their unit, the mission, training, etc. Birth control was free, available, easy to take, but that didn't seem to matter.

Hopefully women in the military have learned lessons since then (late 70's early 80's). I know many women who serve in the military now and they are nothing but professional. I wish this woman the very best.


Uncle Walt said...


I was in the service in those same years and there were serious adjustment pains. But they were necessary and they have created a stronger more stable professional force.

I didn't blog about it, but in a bit of new very important to this old submariner's heart, the Navy has announced plans for women to begin serving on submarines.

And again there will be adjustment problems and the service will get past them and one day ComSubPac will be a woman. And one day the Chief of Naval Operations will be a woman. And one day the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be a woman.

And each time I will be a little prouder of my nation

RKMeier said...

My understanding is that while great strides have been made in equalizing the playing field for African-Americans in the armed forces, women don't fare as well.

Hopefully this is a sign that things are changing.

Uncle Walt said...


That is my observation as well. Largely because women have often been (and in some cases still are) excluded from some of the point of the spear warfare specialities. Until we allow women to be infantry platoon commanders or tank troop commanders they will be excluded from the the leadership ranks from flow from those warfare areas.

Progress is being made (women are to be joing submarine crews in the near future) those barriers still exist.