Women on Subs – Not all that New

Norway's Solveig Krey, the world's first female submarine commander

Julian Stockwin made a comment on Twitter this morning (what is the past tense of “to tweet?” by the way) regarding women on submarines.  He noted that Norway has had women serving on submarines for decades.   Indeed, the US will be at least the sixth country to allow women to serve in the Silent Service.  Norway was the first in 1985, followed by Denmark in in 1988 and Sweden in 1989. Australia followed suit in 1999 while Germany and Canada allowed women onboard in 2001 and 2002 respectively.  Spain also allows women to serve aboard subs, which does pose a new range of challenges.

In 1995, Solveig Krey of the Royal Norwegian Navy became the first female officer to assume command on a military submarine, HNoMS Kobben.

The one big difference, however, is deployment.  The countries that allow women to serve have operated conventional sumbmarines which have deployments of one or two months, whereas the US operates a nuclear fleet with deployments of of six months or longer. So one one hand, the US will not be the first country to allow women to serve of submarines. Norway can claim that title by 25 years.  Nevertheless, the US will be the first to permit women to serve on nuclear subs with extended deployments.

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