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Three women become the first females to serve in a Royal Navy submarine

Tuesday, May 6th 2014 - 21:22 UTC
Full article 9 comments
Left to right: Lieutenants Maxine Stiles, Alex Olsson and Penny Thackray Left to right: Lieutenants Maxine Stiles, Alex Olsson and Penny Thackray
HMS Vigilant HMS Vigilant

Three women have become the first females to serve in the Royal Navy Submarine Service: they are pioneering lieutenants Maxine Stiles, Alex Olsson and Penny Thackray, reports UK defense news.

 Following months of specialized training, the three women have each earned their ‘dolphins’ badge; the hard-won and much-prized symbol of a submariner. They are the first women to serve on a submarine in the 110 years of the 'Silent Service'.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he was delighted “to be able to congratulate our first ever female submariners and wish them all the best in their future careers”.

“Our armed forces offer an enormous range of opportunities and careers, no matter what your gender. This is another important step forward as we strive to make sure our armed forces better represent the society we serve”.

During the rigorous training, previously only undertaken by men, the three female officers conducted operations on HMS Vigilant, a Vanguard Class submarine, learning how to run the complex systems on board that keep our country safe.

The final hurdle was a robust examination program, culminating in an intensive board with the commanding officer, which they all passed with flying colors.

All three women will now embark on careers in the Submarine Service, working in support of our continuous at-sea deterrent, the ultimate guarantee of our nation’s security.

Lieutenant Maxine Stiles, one of the newly-qualified female submariners, said: “I am immensely proud to wear the dolphins and say that I am now a part of the Submarine Service, with its great tradition and ethos.

”My first deployment at sea on a nuclear submarine is one I’ll never forget. It was a challenging but hugely rewarding experience. It was a unique experience but one that I hope becomes commonplace for many future female submariners.

The role of women in the Royal Navy has changed drastically over the years: 20 years ago they began serving at sea in surface ships, and in 2011 Philip Hammond lifted the ban preventing women from serving on board submarines.

Women can now serve in all of the Royal Navy’s seagoing branches, demonstrating the service’s commitment to making sure all its personnel have the same opportunities, with exemptions only made where there is a clear operational need.

The three officers will now all take up their new positions: Lieutenant Stiles will continue in her logistics officer post on board Vigilant; Lieutenant Olsson is undertaking deputy weapons engineering officer training; and Lieutenant Thackray will become an education officer. (RN)

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • LEPRecon

    Oh no! Women on those pesky submarines, of which there are millions lurking off the shores of Argentina, just waiting to attack (according to CFK and her lapdog Pepe).

    I find this a surprising move though. Women can get PMT quite badly. Submariners are notoriously good at winding up people. They've made it into an art form over the years.

    So put these together in a pressurised tin can under the sea and it could spell disaster!

    Those submariners won't stand a chance against the PMT monster!!!! AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!

    On the other hand, what happens if the boat sets out on a year long patrol with 110 crew members, and comes back with 111?!? ;P

    May 06th, 2014 - 09:46 pm 0
  • paulcedron

    three beauties, indeed.

    May 07th, 2014 - 02:52 am 0
  • Rufus

    @ Lep

    I'd imagine that given the work environment (a big tin tube with no daylight at a constant alert footing where if anything goes properly wrong they'd be recovering the bodies with a tea strainer) anyone would have to have had an unreasonable amount of headshrinker time before they put to sea at all.

    That and I'd imagine that long-term contraceptives would be standard issue/required (partly for the obvious reasons, but also it has been reported to lessen the symptoms of PMS), especially seeing as one of the three is going to be playing with the buckets full of sunshine.

    May 07th, 2014 - 10:59 am 0
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