If you have ever served on a 'boat' or even had the opportunity to tour one...you know first hand they give all new meaning to "Close Quarters" I had the honor of touring the USS Miami a couple years ago. Hubster was working in New London, I tagged along (I do love the New England area). The Miami was docked in port, between underway periods. It was fascinating to say the least, how so much machinery can fit into a vessel. The galley has a huge freezer and ample table seating, as long as you don't mind your buddy's elbow in your gut. The berthing area has bunk beds which don't have Serta mattresses, but I have no doubt these sailors have no problem sleeping at the end of their shift. On board were only the necessary personnel, while the submarine lay still at sea level. I am one with a huge 'hula-hoop' zone, meaning I NEED my personal space. Submarine life would not be a good career choice for me, but Hubster made the choice and it worked well for him!
Privacy is a non event when living on a Submarine. The mission is to be done and all on board are there for that purpose only. Long shifts and infrequent personal time is simply the way it is. Submarines were designed with confined personal space, not enough bunks for the entire crew (many must 'hot-rack' also known as sharing a bunk). The latrines have limited space as well. In order to accommodate male and females living in such tight quarters, many expensive alterations are needed. For some classes of Submarines an entire new design would be necessary, for others it would be simpler to make the changes. Either way, a lot of money is needed!
What about women only boats? Are there enough female sailors to accommodate full coverage and adequately man the submarine?
We are all feeling the pinch of tough economic times. There is much talk of cutting back on military resources. Is this the manner we want our military spending utilized? What is the true number of females demanding to serve on submarines or is this simply a 'feel good' maneuver?
Is it really worth it???
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Navy ‘moving aggressively’ to allow women on subs
By Leo Shane III, Stars and StripesMideast edition, Saturday, September 26, 2009
WASHINGTON — The secretary of the Navy said the service is “moving aggressively” to allow female sailors aboard submarines, a move that would open another of the few remaining career paths currently closed to women in the military.
In a statement released Thursday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said he and other top officials have been working on the change since he was sworn in last March.
“I believe women should have every opportunity to serve at sea, and that includes aboard submarines,” he wrote.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, in his own statement earlier this week, noted there are “particular issues with integrating women into the submarine force” but added he believes they can be resolved.
In 1993, Congress struck down exclusion policies which barred women from serving in certain combat positions. Shortly thereafter, the Navy began allowing women to serve on some ships, but still bars females from serving aboard submarines.
Critics have long argued that forcing men and women to serve together in a submarine’s close quarters could lead to harassment, and the subs would have to be retrofitted with separate bathing and sleeping quarters.
But Roughead dismissed those claims, saying the move is an important step towards diversifying the fleet.
“Having commanded a mixed gender surface combatant, I am very comfortable addressing integrating women into the submarine force,” he wrote.
Last week, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said he believes the military should “continue to broaden opportunities for women” and specifically cited the ban on women serving on-board submarines as a policy he’d like to see overturned.
On Friday, Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, lauded the Navy for promising the change.
“This is a heartening first step toward opening all positions in the Armed Services to women, who have proven their value and valor under fire in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” she said.