Specifically, the USS Illinois, which according to The Hill will have an all-female crew.
On Monday, First Lady Michelle Obama officially sponsored the Virginia-class submarine, which will be one of the newest nuclear-powered boats scheduled to enter the fleet by 2015, according to a White House statement.
Obama’s endorsement of the Illinois, particularly its all-female crew, comes as women in the military are pushing the Pentagon for a larger role in combat operations.
The Pentagon announced in February that it was opening up 14,000 new positions, most in the Army, to women after a review of its policies on women in combat.
But the Defense Department kept in place a ban on women serving in units below the battalion level with primary combat roles and specialties like infantry or special-operations units.
But last Wednesday, two female soldiers filed federal suit against the Pentagon to officially end the Department’s ban on women in combat.
The question mark is in the post’s headline because by 2015, it’s unlikely that any female submariner in the US Navy will have met the requirements to command the boat. Without a female CO or XO, the crew will not be “all-female.” Add to the question of command, the question of the crew. We don’t have any women currently serving on nuclear submarines. Virginia-class subs are nuclear powered.
Add to that, this comment left on The Hill’s story about the Illinois:
Hello, this is the Public Affairs Officer for Submarine Forces. The USS ILLINOIS will not have an all female crew. Today the First Lady accepted sponsorship of the USS ILLINOIS and she met with the group of female Submariners that have already reported to Submarines. This group is the first for the US Navy. Currently we have females serving on some ballistic and guided missile Submarines. The USS ILLINOIS will be a Virginia class Submarine. At this time, we do not have any females serving on SSNs. Tried to call your agency to correct, but received an answering machine.
The idea of an all-female sub crew sounds like the sort of politically correct nonsense that this administration might come up with, but until I see real evidence that the Illinois will in fact have an all-female crew, I’m chalking this down to a stupid rumor.