He said the officers will serve on two nuclear ballistic (SSBN) and two nuclear cruise missile submarines (SSGN), which are Ohio-class vessels converted to carry out special operations. The model used to integrate submarines is similar to the model used on surface ships.“I think the way the submarine force is going about business and bringing in officers first is a very good model for us,” he said. “It will have some emotion tied to it but the feedback I’m getting from the sailors overall is that it’s a good opportunity to move forward.”
The Navy’s top enlisted sailor said the Ohio-class submarines will not require retrofits to accommodate the female officers. The subs will operate with two alternating crews changing at 90-day intervals much like the Blue and Gold crew model.“They are going about it smart. They’ve got an excellent plan,” he said.
Overall, West said the Navy is undertaking so many more missions than it did 30 years ago when training was designed more toward conflict between two world super powers.
There are about 13,000 sailors on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan performing a variety of jobs from detainee operations to community liaisons and humanitarian operations.Imagine the impact the two hospital ships U.S.N.S. Comfort, on the East Coast, and U.S.N.S. Mercy, on the West Coast, have when they anchor in a place where the population does not have access to a hospital.“It is an amazing thing our Navy is doing,” he said. “They are embedded with the Army and Marines and they’re performance is outstanding.”