February 24, 2010

Navy set to end ban on women serving on subs

Posted: 09:34 AM ET

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has notified Congress of plans to allow women to serve aboard submarines, a Defense Department official said Tuesday.

Letters of intent were sent Monday to Congress, which has requested briefings on the matter, said the official, who asked not to be identified. There will be no vote on the matter in Congress.

The change was recommended by the chief of naval operations and the secretary of the Navy in addition to Gates, the official said, adding that there was no opposition to the move among Navy leaders.

A phased approach is being considered under which officers - who already have separate living quarters - would be the first to go co-ed, followed by crews, with the women bunking together, the official said. Crew space would have to be modified prior to that happening, the official added.

The submarines expected to carry women initially would be the larger ones - nuclear-powered, missile-carrying submarines known as SSBN and SSGN, the official said.

(read more)


Filed under: Military

Share this on:
cedric beene   February 24th, 2010 11:54 am ET

i think that a woman is as good as a man on a sub as a man they both could work together to accomplish working together on a sub

Maria Copelli   February 24th, 2010 12:10 pm ET

In all truth ,there should be no need for such weapons,my ex was asubmariner ,and the schedule can make or break amarriage.It is not easy being in the military.I hate war!And looking forward to a timeof PEACE ALL OVER THE EARTH under Gods rule. Love to All Maria C.

Hannah   February 24th, 2010 1:11 pm ET

I could never envision living in such cramped quarters. If this becomes policy I would hope all members of the navy would act professionally. Females are allowed in the army in combat. I know on a submarine it's living together 24/7 in close quarters which might create a problem but I do think it should be allowed.

Ted   February 24th, 2010 1:31 pm ET

What a great idea, taking food, drinks and the evening entertainment right on board.
In the old military we had to go off post for a sweet embrace.

lola   February 24th, 2010 2:11 pm ET

Human nature is human nature. It sounds great in theory......but will it really work living in such close quarters?????...only time will tell. But, if there are many babies born 9 months later, we will know that it wasn't a great idea after all.

A. Smith, Oregon   February 24th, 2010 4:24 pm ET

I highly applaud this decision by the US Navy to allow and encourage Women to serve in submarines to help defend our nation. I would like to see more combat units fully integrated with women at the front lines of the battle fields. That would frighten the Islamic Ayatollahs more than anything America could do in overcoming the Muslim threat against the world of religious freedoms.

Hannah   February 24th, 2010 4:58 pm ET

@Lola–have you ever heard of birth control.. I think living in such close quarters without a break from some people could be more frustrating than anything else. I would hope there wouldn't be any sexual harassment.

Frank   February 24th, 2010 5:05 pm ET

Why is it necessary to have a woman on a sub?

Alison   February 24th, 2010 5:08 pm ET

congradulations on this decision, I visited a submarine when I was a kid (as well as as a destroyer) and man did it make an impression on me Women serve our country and the relationships that evolve are important. I love both of you and truly I wouldn't want to have you see action until after you have lived full and long lives. So I would have women serve on subs with men after they turned forty. The Navy has a proud history of fighting nazism, fascism, imperialism, even racism and sexism. Under Bush sr. they sent they giant fan boats to clear food supply lines in Africa and this such a credible action.

Lakia   February 24th, 2010 5:26 pm ET

I personally think that everyone should be mature enough to handle situations such as this... at the end of the day, they should do what's been working best for them.

Cajazz76:24:8   February 24th, 2010 6:01 pm ET

I wanted to join the Navy and ride the Waves. Too bad I was drafted by the Marines and ridden by Sailors. We've come a long way baby! Imagine the day when the well manicured fingernails, brightly lit by the hue of red nail polish, resting ever so gently atop a round, fire engine red plastic button. Somehow, I feel I could rest easy those nights, as long as her former address wasn't Wahzoo, Alaska. Yubetcha!

Hannah   February 24th, 2010 6:48 pm ET

@Cajazz-I don't know if amanicure would be the most imp't. factor on her mind!!

Trish   February 24th, 2010 6:53 pm ET

It's like anything else-change is hard for some to accept. Right now it's accepting gays in the military. A few years ago it was allowing females in combat. Pre civil rights equality for blacks. 50 years ago how many female lawyers,doctors,engineers,were there. After time –it just becomes the norm.

Cajazz76:24:8   February 24th, 2010 8:37 pm ET


I was being a bit facetious. It would be preferable to witness a president with dirt under their fingernails, wearing wrinkled clothing with perspiration rings under the armpits for a change, right?

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   February 24th, 2010 9:02 pm ET

I don't want to sound sexist, but would the men be happy with this. Maybe they should take a poll.

Women are going into all sorts of areas like never before, it's almost becoming the norm.

I wonder if it will be a good idea. After all men and women are quite different in a lot of areas.

But I say, if the women can wing it, good for them.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   February 24th, 2010 9:05 pm ET

@ Maria Copelli February 24th, 2010 12:10 pm ET

Lovely comments.

pt4themind   February 24th, 2010 11:20 pm ET

This sounds like a good idea and I believe in equality but I think there has to be some level of realism. This just sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen, but if they can find a workable solution by all means full steam ahead.

Cajazz76:24:8   February 24th, 2010 11:30 pm ET

@Jessie from Auckland N.Z.

Jessie your one of my favorite blogger's. Am I reading you wrong that you would deny to any woman, that which you are allowed to do if they wish it?

This world, including the U.S. has in the past, even denied them the right to choose those who govern them. It is too prevalent today, in too many places.

Why would anyone deny to those, who gave them life, an opportunity to improve their own.

Please Jessie, let me know very soon that I have declined in my ability to understand what I have read. I may be experiencing an early episode of Oldtimer's disease.,

angirach   February 24th, 2010 11:40 pm ET

What was the reason that they weren't allowed to be on the subs in the first place?

Cajazz76:24:8   February 25th, 2010 1:08 am ET


They looked like women, walked like women, smelled like women, but talked like Sailors. It was their tooling amongst 60 or so men with different tooling spending up to 6 months at sea. Now the men are given the same tooling training, but not necessarily the same tools as the women. Got it?

Cajazz76:24:8   February 25th, 2010 1:24 am ET

Nobody on this sub but men-maids

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   February 25th, 2010 5:40 am ET

@Cajazz76:24:8 February 24th, 2010 11:30 pm ET
Well hello there. Thankyou for your kind comments.

I'm afraid I'm a bit too conservative on this. I can just foresee the problems ahead. You know where it could be too much of a distraction etc., etc.

I could be wrong though. Don't shoot me down now.

Ted   February 25th, 2010 9:06 am ET

This has nothing to do with rights.
In my humble opinion there are things done better by men and things more suited for women.
How do you plan to install extra showers for a few women, extra toilettes and perhaps a segregated part of the torpedo room for their beauty sleep?
We, red blooded men, are created to hunt! Can you imagene the chaos in that crowded place when 60 men get a call from nature? Fights over the favour of a lady in overall?

Cindy   February 25th, 2010 11:49 am ET

How would this be different than women in the space shuttles?

Cajazz76:24:8   February 25th, 2010 12:34 pm ET


Hi Ted, your fantastic and everybody loves you because what sails out the end of your finger tips we all sense it originates, first from your heart. There are, and continues to be, in our eyes, "radical" changes in the world of men and women...same world. Cindy makes a good point regarding the space shuttle.

As men, perhaps it may be our control over the launching of our torpedoes, rather than the engineering of a bidet to accommodate those who maintain the torpedo launch tube.

I believe there is a re-engineering of mindsets, constantly underway, that you and I did not have the privilege to partake. We had to peer over the barriers, today they are plexi-glass, but there are certain barrier's just the same. I will always be Semper Fi and never simply forget your opinion's and to the lifetime of your commitment, but the "times they are a changin" still. Ted, belly up and cheers!

Cajazz76:24:8   February 25th, 2010 12:52 pm ET

@Jessie from Auckland N.Z.

Jessie, your humorous and it's always a pleasure to banter with you. I would never have the audacity to go 'gun's hot' and shoot you down. But, the constant re-evaluation of our lives to survive and advance, within this universe, is certainly causing some forced landing's. We have to consider them in context, re-evaluate perhaps, and go airborne once again. Fly free, fly high!...At altitude Jessie, not under a hardened influence.

Dodie   February 25th, 2010 1:23 pm ET

@ Ted

Your wit and candor is your hallmark! Keep up the good work! Would that be ‘paid’ evening entertainment?

Small tight quarters with long lonely nights? Well …..let’s look at this in a positive perspective. If the heating system malfunctions, there will be no absence of live ‘bed-warmers’!

james   February 25th, 2010 2:58 pm ET

I think Cindy makes a good point. I would think it would be similar to women going up in the space shuttles. If there have been problems, we have not heard about them.

A.Babalola   February 26th, 2010 6:28 am ET

Sounds like fun, and will be great for moral.

Ted   February 27th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

@ cajazz and Dodie

Yes, we have changes and I am a liberal person who always believed that either you move forwards or you will be left behind!

However, you cannot change human beings in a generation, changes that may take place in a longer period. You can pass laws, but who will follow those artificial instructions willfully?

I worked in a Corps HQ during the 1970s when the first women came to fighting units. It was a complete mess! A separate building was asigned to them with two guards day and night to fend off the hungry wolves. Still, six months later, several of them were pregnant!
How are you going to send a six months pregnant soldier to a 15 days exercise? How big must be a foxhole so they can get confy in there?

Today we have single women with two children on active duty. It may be OK in the Salvation Army, but how is she going to fullfill all her duties in an Army that goes to war?

Women were fighting in armies thousands of years ago, it is nothing new. However, they must be free of any other obligations and be prepaired to leave in a short time and be gone for long periods.
A woman with children cannot do it.

As for women on subs, forget it! I would hate to be the commander of such a boat with all the problems resulting from the very close space and the months long trips.
Or make the crew half and half, issue them a large amount of preservatives and send them on a trip to the south sea islands. I am sure we would have a lot of voluntares to the Navy.

Dodie   February 27th, 2010 11:15 pm ET

@ Ted

You make excellent points! As I said above.... long lonely nights in tight quarters makes for a party of two and eventually an unexpected three. If women want to work on a sub, it would be wisest to have an all women sub. That would easily solve the problem.

Subs are a far cry from space shuttles. First of all, you do not have your own separate room with a nice comfy bed on a space shuttle. On the space station there are only two small crew cabins. Each one is just big enough for one person to slide in. Everyone uses those tiny 3 by 6 foot cabins. Impossible for two.

Second, you are not in outer space for 6 + months on end with long quiet lonely nights. There are not enough people aboard to afford that privilege.

Comments have been closed for this article

Keep up to date with Larry

Follow him on Twitter

Become a fan on Facebook

Contact us
Go Behind The Scenes


LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.

With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.

Order from:
Barnes & Noble

King of Hearts

Larry King's King of Hearts

Saving a heart a day is the goal! Learn more about the Foundation and it's efforts to help the uninsured

Visit the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP