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Women in Combat Roles

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Women in Combat Roles

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:19 pm

CBS News
The Pentagon has moved to lift a decades-old policy that prohibits women from serving aboard Navy submarines, part of a gradual reconsideration of women's roles in a military fighting two wars whose front lines can be anywhere.

At issue is the end of a policy that kept women from serving aboard the last type of ship off-limits to them. The thinking was that the close quarters aboard subs would make coed service difficult to manage.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates notified Congress in a letter signed Friday that the Navy intends to repeal the ban on women sailors on subs. Congress has 30 days to weigh in.
...
Women began serving aboard the Navy's surface ships in 1993. Since then, many of the distinctions between who is in combat and who is not have been erased.

Women are formally banned from combat posts in the Army, for instance, but routinely serve in jobs such as medics, pilots and drivers that place them shoulder to shoulder with men serving in "combat" jobs.
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Unagi » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:49 pm

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Arcanis » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:39 pm

I really have to question this move. I think it is politically motivated to look more PC. The reason women haven't been on subs was logistics and sanitation. I haven't seen a change in either one of those to justify this change. On a standard ship you have the room to build in some things for convenience and holding the extra waste, this just doesn't hold true for a sub. I'm not trying to be sexist here but there are differences between men and women and this is one situation that those differences have a real impact on how well the job can be done.

As a man who has had his ass kicked by a 13 year old girl i know a focused woman can do things just as well or better than a man who works at the same things. (note that 13 year old tried out for the Olympics (not Jr) a few months later for judo) I work with women in judo all the time and know that there are certain advantages and disadvantage each sex has. A sub just provides a whole different beast to deal with and women can't dictate what their body does, at least not without an unreasonable amount of effort to expect from a sailor.
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Unagi » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:53 pm

We are all adults here... what is it you are saying has no place on a sub? A tampon? I don't know if I get what you are saying.



There is the obvious hot-bunk/super-close-quarters that will be an issue - but I think we may indeed (perhaps a few decades off still) be headed toward the Starship Trooper / BSG coed-shower deal... maybe. OK - I just like the boobies....

Anyhow - you seem to be implying that a woman's body (menstral cycle, I assume?) is the problem in the sub. I just don't see why that's the problem.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:01 pm

Also:
A defense official told The Associated Press that numerous physical changes to submarines would have to be made, but that cadets who graduate from the Naval Academy this year could be among the first Navy women to take submarine posts.
...
The Navy's plan would phase in women's service, beginning with officers aboard the larger subs that are easier to retrofit for coed quarters. Women would never serve solo.

Because of the length of time required for training, it would be more than a year before the first women joined subs, assuming Congress raises no major objections that slow the schedule.
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by noxiousdog » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:08 pm

Unagi wrote:We are all adults here... what is it you are saying has no place on a sub? A tampon? I don't know if I get what you are saying.



There is the obvious hot-bunk/super-close-quarters that will be an issue - but I think we may indeed (perhaps a few decades off still) be headed toward the Starship Trooper / BSG coed-shower deal... maybe. OK - I just like the boobies....

Anyhow - you seem to be implying that a woman's body (menstral cycle, I assume?) is the problem in the sub. I just don't see why that's the problem.
I'm pretty sure it's that there's not room for twice the number of showers, twice the number of toilets, etc.

I was under the impression that while attack subs were still cramped, the missile subs had plenty of room (relatively speaking).
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Arcanis » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:12 pm

Unagi wrote:We are all adults here... what is it you are saying has no place on a sub? A tampon? I don't know if I get what you are saying.



There is the obvious hot-bunk/super-close-quarters that will be an issue - but I think we may indeed (perhaps a few decades off still) be headed toward the Starship Trooper / BSG coed-shower deal... maybe. OK - I just like the boobies....

Anyhow - you seem to be implying that a woman's body (menstral cycle, I assume?) is the problem in the sub. I just don't see why that's the problem.
Tampons obviously. The hot-bunking and close quarters are also a problem. It also would have to do with sexual harassment. Due to the closeness involved the women will have to take more in the way of touching before she can fairly claim sexual harassment but at the same time there will be those who try and take advantage of the extra leeway. Also medical could be a bit tougher. Some subs go on extremely long deployments and that would likely require a medical officer who can perform as a gynecologist. There is also the same old issue of pregnancy. If she gets knocked up while deployed there are several violations of rules, but what if she is pregnant and doesn't know it before deploying? Not all missions would allow for the woman to be removed or scrub the mission. We couldn't fairly say that any ship with a woman on it can't do certain mission types.

I think the military should move toward starship troupers mentality, but until society in general quits being so prudish about the human body that ain't happening.
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Matrix » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:19 pm

There will be a lot of sexual harassment, and sex, regardless of how they try to stop it. I certainly think it is PC move.
Is it good or bad? probably neither, will certainly make life much harder for the guys, since if before there was no temptation now there will be plenty. Might affect morale, this move is certain to increase tension (not just sexual, but general tension).

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:19 pm

If we can't figure out how to deploy women in submarines, we're never going to leave this planet.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by AWS260 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:01 pm

Matrix wrote:There will be a lot of sexual harassment, and sex, regardless of how they try to stop it. I certainly think it is PC move.
Is it good or bad? probably neither, will certainly make life much harder for the guys, since if before there was no temptation now there will be plenty. Might affect morale, this move is certain to increase tension (not just sexual, but general tension).
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Toe » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:10 pm

Arcanis wrote: Tampons obviously.
Damn the tampons! Full speed ahead!



...sorry it had to be said

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by GreenGoo » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:30 pm

nice. :D

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by tjg_marantz » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:32 pm

AWS260 wrote:
Matrix wrote:There will be a lot of sexual harassment, and sex, regardless of how they try to stop it. I certainly think it is PC move.
Is it good or bad? probably neither, will certainly make life much harder for the guys, since if before there was no temptation now there will be plenty. Might affect morale, this move is certain to increase tension (not just sexual, but general tension).
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Kraken » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:34 pm

Toe wrote:
Arcanis wrote: Tampons obviously.
Damn the tampons! Full speed ahead!

...sorry it had to be said
Actually, female submariners will use tarpons.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Isgrimnur » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:52 pm

Ironrod wrote:
Toe wrote:
Arcanis wrote: Tampons obviously.
Damn the tampons! Full speed ahead!

...sorry it had to be said
Actually, female submariners will use tarpons.
During PMS, do they use crampons? Or are those reserved for Army mountain troops?
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Holman » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:42 pm

What's the big deal? Once you get a few feet down, it all smells like fish anyway.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Rip » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:57 pm

Get er drunk and put it in her Baffles!

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Arcanis » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:00 pm

Rip wrote:Get er drunk and put it in her Baffles!
Oh come on I had been looking forward our resident sub expert's thoughts in this. Really are the racks small enough that large racks make it impossible for the women to get in and out? We demand answers. :horse:
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Rip » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:19 pm

Arcanis wrote:
Rip wrote:Get er drunk and put it in her Baffles!
Oh come on I had been looking forward our resident sub expert's thoughts in this. Really are the racks small enough that large racks make it impossible for the women to get in and out? We demand answers. :horse:
They should fit in. Having intercourse in them would be quite tricky however.

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Passing each other in the hallway would constitute sexual harassment in most lines of work.

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I think it could actually be cool. If you patroled long enough you could end up with this.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Apollo » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:46 pm

While I have never had a problem with the intergration of females into the armed forces, and while I can't think of a good logical reason to ban women from subs, the truth of the matter is that the "Silent Service" will be radically transformed by these changes and not for the better.

As an ex-submariner I can assure you that one of the big perks of sub duty is the very laid-back atmosphere on most subs. Performing watches in shorts and flip-flops was not unusual at all and the informal nature of relations between enlisted men and officers is truly unique in the armed forces. Unfortunately, the Navy has learned that, when you mix the sexes on board a ship, everything must be done "by the book" and discipline must be strict or things can get, *ahem* "out of hand" in a hurry. So when some old farts in the sub force start arguing against this, please bear in mind that all these men are not thoughtless sexists. They simply know that these changes will mean the end of the Sub force, as they knew it, forever and I can't blame them for being unhappy about it...

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by The Preacher » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:49 pm

If there is one unique challenge I see it's how to extricate women if they are (didn't realize before their cruise began) or get pregnant. Rip is obviously the expert but my understanding is that you can be in bad waters for months on end. But I assume it's not big deal going into your second trimester.
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Unagi » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:05 pm

There has to be situations that men can find themselves in that mirror the problem of a discovered pregnancy or other 'girly problem'. We get sick too.

Now, I imagine that it could mean that the baby is lost - or that the baby is born under really bad conditions, etc - but again, I can't imagine that men don't also have things that would generally be better handled on-shore.

Women would need to understand what they are getting into, but I am guessing they would.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by The Preacher » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:20 pm

Unagi wrote:There has to be situations that men can find themselves in that mirror the problem of a discovered pregnancy or other 'girly problem'. We get sick too.

Now, I imagine that it could mean that the baby is lost - or that the baby is born under really bad conditions, etc - but again, I can't imagine that men don't also have things that would generally be better handled on-shore.

Women would need to understand what they are getting into, but I am guessing they would.
Again, I'm not a squid, but getting sick is not an issue as you can treat 99% of ailments (all of which women would have as well).

Now, I think subs will come off station before a birth under most circumstances, but I can NOT see a viable way to have a newborn on a sub. No fricking way. Have you ever been on those tin cans? There isn't a square foot of space unaccounted for (as an example, we would design pumps and piping to fit into a 1' gap that might exist between two lockers; it's that tight). But, like I said, as long as a 4 month pregnant woman (I'm guessing most cruises stay at station for 90 days) can do her role, then I'm ok with it.

I suppose another option would be mandatory pregnancy tests pre-cruise.
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by AWS260 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:27 pm

Apollo wrote: As an ex-submariner I can assure you that one of the big perks of sub duty is the very laid-back atmosphere on most subs. Performing watches in shorts and flip-flops was not unusual at all
This needs to be reflected in Silent Hunter V.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Unagi » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:38 pm

(I defer to anyone with actual experience, as I have none beyond silent hunter)
Arcanis wrote:Tampons obviously.
Not sure if this is a place holder for all the 'bodily' needs of a woman - but, specifically - I think the space needed for some tampons isn't going to be a deal breaker...

Arcanis wrote:The hot-bunking and close quarters are also a problem. It also would have to do with sexual harassment. Due to the closeness involved the women will have to take more in the way of touching before she can fairly claim sexual harassment but at the same time there will be those who try and take advantage of the extra leeway.
Yes, I think this will be the big problem.
Arcanis wrote:Also medical could be a bit tougher. Some subs go on extremely long deployments and that would likely require a medical officer who can perform as a gynecologist.
Not unless you wanna argue that a proctologist would be needed for men. A healthy, non-sexually active woman doesn't need to see a gynecologist. So, yeah the one exception, could be if she got pregnant onboard, or right before she shipped out. (I assume they would give em a pregnancy test, but understand timing could thwart that safeguard).

Arcanis wrote:There is also the same old issue of pregnancy. If she gets knocked up while deployed there are several violations of rules, but what if she is pregnant and doesn't know it before deploying? Not all missions would allow for the woman to be removed or scrub the mission. We couldn't fairly say that any ship with a woman on it can't do certain mission types.
I totally see the point here, but I just kinda have a 'so what' reply to it. I would consider the woman a casualty (in my head-count) - and tell her to enjoy having the baby onboard. I know I am probably being a little to flip about it, but I guess I feel that the woman would have known exactly what she was getting into - and well, she'd need to deal with it. And yeah, the ship would to - but not unlike if some male devloped a debilitating illness on the same mission. And, clearly - depending on the mission and/or the state of war - everything (even the sick male's illness) would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

I think the reality would be they would test women, and unless we were in some wicked long-term war, they would be back before she was in 3rd trimester
Arcanis wrote:I think the military should move toward starship troupers mentality, but until society in general quits being so prudish about the human body that ain't happening.
And these are the steps that society can make to slowly erode those hang-ups.

I really do think that pressing 'equality' in the military is actually going to drive some of that Starship Trooper-esqe equality into our culture. Slowly, but surely - and it's because the military must mantain respect and order - and to throw this chaos into the mix - I can't wait to see it be resolved. I'm sure it will indeed be hard - but I think we'll be better off figuring it out, rather than just saying that it will come to no good end.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Unagi » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:49 pm

The Preacher wrote:
Unagi wrote:I can't imagine that men don't also have things that would generally be better handled on-shore.
Again, I'm not a squid, but getting sick is not an issue as you can treat 99% of ailments (all of which women would have as well).
I don't think we are in disagreement, too much.

I'm saying that a woman's extra health care would only be connected to an actual pregnancy (not just a woman's fertility).

And I guess I was just saying that a man (or woman) could also be discovered to have a medical emergency (kidney starts to fail? I dunno) - and that if we were at war, and the sub literally Could NOT surface - well then, the man or woman - would just need to deal on the sub - No choice.
I can NOT see a viable way to have a newborn on a sub. No fricking way. Have you ever been on those tin cans
viable way !? Hell no, not any way that anyone would be remotely happy about or want to repeat - but they would find a way. There would be something put aside - so that the baby could exist and hold space. No question - it would suck royally, and the baby would be in danger - but, I'm guess I'm just saying 'if there was no option, what are you going to do'.

Are we saying that because the above "could happen", no woman should be allowed to serve on a submarine ?

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Kraken » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:39 am

The Preacher wrote:
Now, I think subs will come off station before a birth under most circumstances, but I can NOT see a viable way to have a newborn on a sub.
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Unagi wrote:There would be something put aside - so that the baby could exist and hold space.
Torpedo tube. Would solve the problem above, too.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Zarathud » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:52 am

The pregnancy issue could be solved by required birth control for those women who serve. The sexual harassment issue would be a problem for a while, but it's a small space and there's no way for a repeat offender to hide. I would expect military discipline to work most of these problems out -- the hard way, if necessary. And you're not going to volunteer for sub duty if you're a woman who's afraid of a little close contact.
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by jimbo » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:06 am

[quote]They should fit in. Having intercourse in them would be quite tricky however./quote]

As someone who had "intercourse" almost daily on 7 deployments it is not that difficult. Adding a second person might make it cramped but I am sure you could make it work.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by The Preacher » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:59 am

Unagi wrote: viable way !? Hell no, not any way that anyone would be remotely happy about or want to repeat - but they would find a way. There would be something put aside - so that the baby could exist and hold space. No question - it would suck royally, and the baby would be in danger - but, I'm guess I'm just saying 'if there was no option, what are you going to do'.
You'd endanger the child, the mission and the other people on the submarine IMHO.
Are we saying that because the above "could happen", no woman should be allowed to serve on a submarine ?
You should read what you deleted from my prior post.
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Holman » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:39 am

I'm in favor of military gender integration on principle, but the close quarters and lack of leave time involved in submarine duty do give me some pause. I'll need to hear more about the adjustments. Is it possible that crews might be integrated on short duty but not long duty deployments?

Meanwhile... are we really talking about childbirth as an issue? Considering the advance notice, I think there will be plenty of time to remove the afflicted sailor before the baby wakes up the Russians.

I know subs have long deployments, but surely there are cases where a sailor develops a debilitating health concern and arrangements must be made to lift him off the boat. Pregnancy would be treated the same way.
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by AWS260 » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:25 am

AWS260 wrote:
Apollo wrote: As an ex-submariner I can assure you that one of the big perks of sub duty is the very laid-back atmosphere on most subs. Performing watches in shorts and flip-flops was not unusual at all
This needs to be reflected in Silent Hunter V.
jimbo wrote:As someone who had "intercourse" almost daily on 7 deployments it is not that difficult
This also needs to be in Silent Hunter V. I'm starting a list.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Unagi » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:50 am

The Preacher wrote:
Unagi wrote: viable way !? Hell no, not any way that anyone would be remotely happy about or want to repeat - but they would find a way. There would be something put aside - so that the baby could exist and hold space. No question - it would suck royally, and the baby would be in danger - but, I'm guess I'm just saying 'if there was no option, what are you going to do'.
You'd endanger the child, the mission and the other people on the submarine IMHO.
Agreed.
The Preacher wrote:
Are we saying that because the above "could happen", no woman should be allowed to serve on a submarine ?
You should read what you deleted from my prior post.
sorry, wasn't really directing that specific part to you (nor cherry pickin)

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Rip » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:54 pm

There is definitely a locker room grab ass camaraderie that I am worried for but just have too much faith in type of people that are attracted to doing this to get overly concerned. They worked it out on space missions they can work it out here as well.

I would definitely like to experience going on patrol on a boat made up of 50% or more female submariners. It would be interesting for sure.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Jaddison » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

I was in the first class with women at the Naval Academy and was in submarines both as enlisted and officer and honestly i don't think there will be many issues.

Change is almost always resisted but in the end the sailors will make it happen we always have and suspect and hope always will. We made poorly designed systems work and at times kept things going even though it seemed impossible. integrating women onboard won't be even close to hard.

I was on the first summer cruise with women at the Academy...actually got volunteered because I came from sea so my classmates figured I did not need a summer of going back to sea playing an enlisted guy. We were on YP patrol craft and sailed up and down the Chesapeake and East Coast to various bases for training. The women did just fine and we had limited berthing and head facilities on those things.

One thing I am sure of, no pregnant woman will stay on a submarine and certainly no woman will be onboard who might give birth. There is no doctor onboard plus there is the whole radiation thing not to mention the ability of a very pregnant woman trying to respond to an onboard casualty.

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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by UsulofDoom » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:50 pm

If the cost of changing keeps us in first place then I'm for it. There is no second place in war.
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Jaddison
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Jaddison » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:03 pm

It would be hard to imagine the US ever being second best in submarining. That said, viable missions that justify the total lifecycle cost of nuclear submarines are dwindling.

With an also dwindling supply of eligible people to man ships and submarines it was inevitable that women would have to be included in the mix. If the IDF can function effectively with women I would imagine we can make do.

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gbasden
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by gbasden » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:22 pm

If it hasn't been said elsewhere, welcome to OO, Jaddison!

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Arcanis
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Arcanis » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:08 pm

Well if our resident sub heads think it is viable then i'll set aside my skepticism until we see some results.
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Jaddison
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Re: Navy to lift ban on female submarine sailors

Post by Jaddison » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:56 pm

Thanks for the welcome. I have been a longtime reader just not a poster.

The only time things may get a little dicey is inport on duty days and during port visits. There is just going to have to be an absolute ban on on boat relationships. Any relationship will have to result in the transfer of one of the people to another ship. I don't know what the surface rules are but a submarine is such a small tight knit community that an onboard relationship has a great chance of affecting the crew in a bad way.

I don't think that will be too much to ask or all that hard to enforce. In such close quarters there is very little that is not known by almost everyone in a very short amount of time.

We had our trials and tribulations as the first class with women at the Academy but as with all things you learn in the doing, there is only so much that can be planned, much more is learned in the doing. Unfortunately there are those who take situations like this and use it for political game playing, pouncing on each misstep.

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