Sub captain weighs in on women in service

Concerning the letter, "Old-salt submariner: Keep ladies off subs," (March 3): Wow, way off the mark! I must assume that writer has had little opportunity to work with the very high quality young women who serve in our armed forces today.

I commanded a nuclear powered fast attack submarine (USS Trepang, SSN 674) for more than three years, then two major operational commands in the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System, where 40 percent of my sailors were women. Their quality, intelligence and professionalism were unparalleled. I would have gone into combat with them in a heartbeat; and without question we would have prevailed.

It is too simplistic to imply that women must serve in submarines because it is the law of the land and submariners follow orders. The real reason for welcoming women into submarines is blindingly obvious: Why in heaven's name would we turn away this superb pool of talent? Yes, there will be physical and cultural issues to overcome, not the least of which will be establishing a viable career path for women in submarines. But there is no doubt in my mind that the young men and women of today's Submarine Force will overcome those impediments, and that we as submariners will all be better for it.

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