U.S. Navy to allow women to serve on submarines

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Washington, Apr 30(ANI): The first women allowed to serve aboard submarines will be reporting for duty by 2012, the U.S. Navy said.

The century-old ban on women serving with men in the cramped quarters, group bathrooms and shared bunks for enlisted personnel on submarines passed quietly as Congress made no objections to the Navy plan.

"We're going to look back on this four or five years from now, shrug our shoulders and say, 'What was everybody worrying about?'" The New York Daily News quoted Rear Adm. Barry Bruner, Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base Commander, as saying.

Women will be integrated slowly into the now all-male submarine service of 13,000 sailors.

After 15 months of training, the first 24 women will be limited to serving in the 160-member crews of the big guided-missile and ballistic missile "boomer" subs, rather than smaller attack boats.

"The boomers require fewer modifications to accommodate women other than changing the sign on the door to the head," said Lt. Cmdr. Mark Jones, a spokesman for the Naval Submarine Force.

The women will be assigned by 2012 to two submarine on the East Coast and two on the West Coast. (ANI)

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