Decades Old Ban Dropped. Women May Now Serve In Submarine Force

by Daniel Russ on April 29, 2010

Virginia Class Submarine

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military’s ban on women serving on submarines passed quietly into history Thursday morning.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates notified lawmakers in mid-February that the Navy would be lifting the ban, unless Congress took some action against it. And Navy spokesman Lt. Justin Cole said Thursday morning that the deadline for Congress to act passed at midnight.

The Navy plans a press conference later Thursday to talk about the new policy.

“There are extremely capable women in the Navy who have the talent and desire to succeed in the submarine force,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said hours after the congressional deadline passed. “Enabling them to serve in the submarine community is best for the submarine force and our Navy.

“We literally could not run the Navy without women today,” Mabus said in a statement released by the Submarine Force headquarters in Norfolk, Va.”

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