How’s that Women in the Service Thing Working?

In the Navy, not so good. Especially in submarines, last year’s (well, 2011’s) Triumph of the Sisterhood. Color us shocked: the lady officers (1) don’t stick with it; (2) often expect assignment to where Hubby is even if they have to create a make-work job for her; (3) caused disruption to the culture and undermined the command climate on at least one boat, through no fault or failing of their own, but because horny, immature sailors acted like horny, immature sailors; (4) neither join nor stay in sustainable numbers; and, (5) are the beneficiaries of an (unsought, we believe) culture of impunity which guarantees the advancement of any toxic leaders in their ranks.

USS Wyoming, SSBN-742. Aka The Perv Boat.

USS Wyoming, SSBN-742. Aka The Perv Boat.

These outcomes are not only predictable, they were predicted at the time by various sharp-eyed kids who were shouted down by Acela Corridor admirers of the Emperor’s New Clothes Girls.

Diversity is Our Vibrancy®!

Item: Train Two Dozen, Keep Three.

exit signThe women who pushed their way in to submarine officer slots are pushing their way out — of subs, and of the Navy.

Most of them are punching out because they met and married a guy, almost always another Naval officer (and usually of higher rank), and they want to be closer to him. That would really frost the balls of the lesbo-feminists, such as DACOWITS, who pushed for this — if they had any balls. Navy Times:

For the first women to earn the coveted dolphin pin, it’s decision time about whether to stay in the Navy. And so far, only three of the original 24 have signed up.

That’s twelve and a half percent. (As we’ll see, it’s eighteen percent in Navy Diversity New Math). Of supposedly career-bound Academy graduates. What will happen when they open this opportunity to the proletariat, and not the supposedly monastically dedicated order (and certainly careerist ticket-punch collectors) of national defense?

And why are they leaving?

The reasons span the work-life spectrum. The demands on a nuclear engineering trained submarine officer. The strain of balancing careers with a spouse who’s also a military officer. A lingering sense of disgust after the submarine video scandal.

We’ll get to the video scandal in a minute — the disgust there was well earned. But a Unique And Special Snowflake™ who would quit over “a lingering sense of disgust” is probably not someone you can count on for steady leadership when you’re being hunted by a couple of Kilos and an Admiral Gorshkov or two.

“I would probably expect that most of the women are going to get out,” Lt. Jennifer Carroll told Navy Times. “I don’t know exactly what everyone’s personal reasons are for it, but I think a lot of it has to do with co-location.”

Carroll, 28, was one of the first women to earn her dolphins in 2012 as a junior officer aboard the ballistic missile sub Maine, and today works with the Submarine Force’s integration office in Norfolk.

Carroll’s job progression is typical of those women who do stay in — they migrate from the point-of-the-spear jobs they demanded for a career boost, to a 9-to-5 (or less) headquarters office job with no hardships attached or heavy lifting. In other words, they go onto the mommy track. But even she isn’t sure she’s going to stay in.

If she does, it probably won’t be in subs, as her hard-won husband’s an aviator and she, reasonably for a newlywed, wants a compatible deployment schedule and location. The Navy’s air bases are near their fleet bases, but the sub bases are not.


We’re up against the married-couple problem that old Agency hands cynically call OFTPOT — One For The Price of Two. Other government and government-funded fields have long had this problem: whee do you put the spouse of the member you need, when he or she’s a member, too? The answer, whether in CIA, the military, or academia, is usually to create a do-nothing surplus position to make work for the surplus spousal unit. Harvard famously did this for the dullard husband of US Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, when all-Anglo paleface Warren was selling herself as a unicorn-rare (if fraudulent) American Indian law professor. The Agency, which has long encouraged marriages in-house for the convenience of Security, does the same thing almost daily. In the military, more of a shrinking headcount is employed at make-work spousal jobs all the time. OFTPOT, it’s a real thing. The spooks just named it first.

Item: The Sub Scandal, or, A Boat Full of Pervs

You probably didn’t hear about this, because it flies directly in the face of Diversity is Our Vibrancy®, the current US Navy motto.

The Village People made a whole career out of the idea that almost anything looks pretty cute after 150 days at sea, and everyone wondered just what would happen when something that actually does look cute got added to the mix. We knew from surface ships and ground forces’ deployments that fraternization, misconduct, pregnancies, and the heightened emotions of relationships rejected, initiated, and terminated were all going to be problems. The military with its uneven and inconsistent response to these issues (for instance, punishing only the male in pregnancy and fraternization cases, which is the de facto norm) doesn’t have moral high ground to stand on, but what happened in subs was worse, to the point of being creepy.

navy_video_pervs_chartAnd the Navy, which could have made a big deal out of standards here, botched it. Navy Times again (a different article):

The filming wasn’t a one-off or a prank. It was a sophisticated and repeated invasion of privacy, where male Wyoming sailors acted as lookouts while a friend filmed female shipmates undressing with cell phones or an iPod Touch — both of which are banned aboard the sub.

The sub’s missile technicians discovered a hole in a bulkhead that gave them a view in to the female changing and shower area. Which they then exploited. MT’s that weren’t comfortable with the idea of filming their shipmates weren’t comfortable with turning in the other shipmates who were doing it, either. In the end all were swept up in a muti-million-dollar investigation, which produced the lovely chart you see here (via Navy Times, reconstructed into a single document by At least, all the junior ones. One of the guilty sailors’ lawyers charges that the Navy did not investigate senior personnel (yet another Navy Times article):

[O]ne sailor’s attorney contends that the Navy has so far failed to punish others in the alleged ring, based on information provided by his client. This includes allegations that two chiefs watched the videos but have not been charged.

“We gave them a barrel full of information,” Jim Stein, a Georgia-based civilian attorney, told Navy Times on Wednesday. “There was no way in this world that they followed up on it.” ….

All four female officers who were assigned to Wyoming testified at the court-martial. Stein said he thinks the Navy is dropping the ball in holding every party responsible.

“On cross-examination, I said, ‘Do you want each and every person held responsible?’ ” he said, talking about the female officers. “They all said yes.” ….

Greaves contends that two of his chiefs asked to see the videos and did not report them, his lawyer said.

“I feel sorry for those ladies. What happened to them was unbelievable,” Stein said. “But to not follow up on it is letting down these ladies and the ones to follow.”

Ah, but were the immunized Chiefs and their officers valuable diversity beans themselves? There’s nothing simple about the bean-counting tournament, not at this level of competition.

Original Wyoming Perv article again:

One sailor admitted that he and a male peer rushed to secretly record each female midshipman while she was in the shower changing room. They filmed every woman each time she took a shower during the three-month patrol, he said — several times a day, according to a new report.

Peer pressure allowed this ring to persist for 10 months on the Wyoming, recording and sharing videos of dozens of women they served alongside every day.

The scandal has dismayed the sub force and some of the trailblazing officers who made history as the first women submariners.

The Navy, which is usually quick to fire commanding officers, was in a quandary. The CO had no knowledge of the misconduct of lower-ranking personnel, and he was a certified Social Justice Warrior himself. In the end, the investigation was curtailed at the PO2 level and senior personnel got a bye from the investigators.

By the way, those warrior women who were so ill done by, by these creepy shipmates? One of them, asked how she reacted, said, quote, “I broke down.” Fortunately, nothing in combat is as stressful as some perv taking nekkid pictures of you.

Oh yeah, Diversity is Our Vibrancy®!

Item: The Numbers Aren’t There

Back to the first Navy Times article again, we l earn some interesting facts about women officers in the Navy. In the first case, their uptake rate to stay in beyond initial obligated service is very low: 18%. (This is far lower than their male peers, and we’re told the delta is even bigger among Academy grads, even though male and female Canoe U grads are more likely to make a career of it).

Five officers have washed out of the program for medical issues, academic failures and other reasons. Something as simple as a shellfish allergy could disqualify a person from submarine service. The service also only counts those who have reached three years of commissioned service.

Factoring in those unplanned losses leaves the retention rate at 16 percent for the first submarine officers, Crosby [a PR droid] said.

By which he’s saying, if they are out for some reason other than saying they quit, we can’t count them in the denominator of the equation. It’s a thumb on the scale. The zero-intgrity spokesman follows up with a tu quoque logical fallacy:

Crosby noted that retention for nuclear-trained women in surface warfare stands at 14 percent, and pointed out that one women from the 2011 year group has already committed to being a submarine department head.

One! One! She’s Our Diverse Vibrancy in action, personified. No pressure.

And hey, it’s okay for retention in the sub service to suck, because female officer retention in this other career sucks too.

Keeping women officers serving is a challenge across the force. In the surface and aviation communities, 36 and 39 percent of officers take the department head bonus, according to statistics.

But within those communities is a great disparity. While 41 percent of male SWOs stick around, about 22 percent of their female colleagues do.

And for aviators, the numbers show a 48 percent take rate for men and just 18 percent for women. Women make up less than 20 percent of the Navy and are much less likely to stay past an initial contract regardless of their specialty.

The priests of the Cult of Diverse Vibrancy® explain this as not enough women to serve as examples. See if you required half the Navy to be women, you might get half of every single specialty to be women.

And if through some miracle you did not, you would enjoy guaranteed job security for the acolytes of the Cult of Diverse Vibrancy® for all time, or at least, until the Republic fell.

Item: A Culture of Impunity

Another problem that sits, unaddressed, is that lady officers are such Unique and Special Snowflakes™ that they are not subject to the sanctions and correctives males would be, and therefore a disproportionate number of them evolve into toxic leaders, continually screwing up and moving up until some cataclysmic failure of leadership is so large that even the Navy has to react (c.f.  Holly Graf).

You can go too far with that — for instance, some have suggested the innocent officers and midshipmen filmed by the gang of creeps on Wyoming were somehow to blame, and we reject that idea utterly — but if the Navy, and the other services, want their female leaders to be respected, they need to hold them throughout to the same standard as the men, and the effect on numbers, which currently hovers in the background of every discussion of a standards breach, needs to be absolutely disregarded.

And they’ll never, ever do that. They’re too committed to an a priori position that Diversity is Our Vibrancy®! Which is why you have a culture of impunity. Which is why you have a female Marine officer crucified for trying to lead lady Marines to meet the same Marine standards the gentlemen do. Which is why you end up with Holly Graf, instead of the lady Marine who set a positive example for her Marines male and female alike.

And That’s How We Wind Up Here

So, bottom line, the Navy is struggling with the only metric that’s of concern to the current SecNav and CNO, Holy Diversity. You had One Job, Mabus….

Keeping subs pierside while NCIS flatfeet systematically grill everybody may be having an impact on stuff like readiness, but that’s not something those worthies value, which is why they’ve let the Navy decline to this point. Any day, we expect the British will  be able to impress sailors again. But they have not yet begun to fight their war, the Social Justice War, with its real casualties and ever-shifting victory conditions.

Sure, our subs have 1990s technology, crews who never know who’s a shipmate, who’s a careerist, and who’s an informer, and Russian boomers (and even Chinese diesels) can hear ’em coming miles off. But hey, the crews that will drown inside them in wartime will have perfect racial and sexual balance, and will have boosted female Academy graduates along their ladder of ambition. Isn’t that why we have a Navy?

20 thoughts on “How’s that Women in the Service Thing Working?

  1. Trone Abeetin

    Just thinking, seeing as how the armed forces are all into the defining deviancy down thing. They could take a bunch of pre op transtesticles make them female naval orificers. You’d kill two, or possibly three birds with one stone. 1) Transtesticles 2)They’d be considered Females 3) they’d have the physical stamina of men, while unable to get preggers. I could go on, but I’m sure you feel me.

    1. Y.

      Or in the US penis is now not exclusively a male organ, and trans status undefined, they could just get some dudes and persuade them to declare themselves female. Diversity/gender quota fulfilled.

  2. Kirk

    This is the Navy version of what I’ve been saying about women in the Army, playing out before our eyes.

    The issue isn’t the women, at the root of it all. The real issue is the demonstrated incapability of dealing with this situation that the institutions manifest when they try to incorporate women into the services in all roles and jobs. They just can’t bring themselves to do the things they would need to do, in order for this to work. It’s an interlocking problem of political and military culture, as well as trends in civilian life. Hell, NYFD can’t make this shit work, either–Why would the Navy or Army be any different?

    I don’t blame the women involved here, not at the low levels. The ones to hold responsible when this all blows up in our faces are the elder harridans running things like DACOWITS, and who are pushing this while simultaneously stopping the services from adopting rational policies towards things like pregnancy. The kids coming in have no idea what the realities are, and have been lied to by the fantasists running this game. Once they find out, the whole shoddy edifice is going to come down, as witnessed by the retention rates and the opportunity costs associated with this bullshit.

    I look for common sense to assert itself in a couple of generations, or after the next war we lose. Someone really needs to start honing their skills as an author, because I can see a clear opening ahead for another Fehrenbach, and another iteration of This Kind of War. The opening chapters could probably just be copied over, changing the names and weapons nomenclature.

  3. Stacy0311

    With the “make work” jobs, that’s what I see happening with combat arms jobs.
    Get women through the MOS qualification, get the designator, work in the job for the minimal accepted time and then move to staff, HQ, or military aide to Congress. Where they can continue to advocate for “moar wymyn!!!!”
    Meanwhile, the infantry MOS will be “overstrength” because all of the special snowflakes who have the MOS but aren’t actually humping the ruck.
    It will be interesting to see what happens when they lat move some senior female officers into the career fields so they can mentor the huge amounts of junior officers who are sure to rush to join infantry, armor, Ranger, SF and SEALs
    I’m retirement eligible so I’m just hanging out until the stupidity becomes overwhelming

    1. Kirk

      That’s only the tip of the iceberg, really. What happens when all those admin role jobs like ammunition NCO get filled by women who can’t hack life on the line, and the males wind up spending their entire careers at the coalface, without break or opportunity to recover from injuries?

      The rest of the iceberg will manifest itself in lower retention rates, lowered readiness as injured men are kept in active leadership roles, and a lot more men going down from overuse in general. People do not appreciate how crucial those breaks from line duty are, in the enlisted force. As the saying goes, an officer’s career consists of a series of sprints, line leadership positions interspersed liberaly with staff and lengthy school times. On the other hand, an NCO’s career is generally a marathon of continuous service in the line, with alternate assignments in even more stressful jobs like drill and recruiting. Taking all the slack out of the system by adding women in, who will almost by necessity wind up in those jobs like ammo NCO, we’re consigning the men to continuous service in the hardest jobs. That isn’t going to work, over the long haul. Not in our Army.

    1. Trone Abeetin

      Got three daughters, sometimes I hear the TP spooling off from outside the bathroom. I think to myself “what the hell are they doing with all that paper?”

      1. obsidian

        Stopping up the toilet while deforesting the trees.
        The cure?
        Get some really rough John Wayne style toilet paper.

  4. Jim Scrummy

    Ahhhh, Diversity! Yay! How’s it feel to be fundamentally transformed…into a laughingstock? Good times.

  5. PBAR

    Retention rates for female aviators in the Air Force is similarly very low. I saw several female aviators turn in their wings (it’s very rare for people to turn in their wings voluntarily) in order to be moms or to be stationed together with their husbands, etc. Huge waste…

  6. Mike

    I’ve seen the retention difference between male and female soldiers, officer and enlisted.

    I will note that there is definitely a higher retention rate for female soldiers in physically undemanding jobs than there are in physically demanding jobs. (Surprise, surprise.) My unit Personnel Office has a female OIC, a female NCOIC, a female Warrant Officer, a female Sergeant, and a female Corporal. In fact, 9 of 11 in the personnel office are female. Both of the males in the office are E1-4, but no bean counters care about adequate male representation in the leadership. OTOH, in the headquarters company maintenance platoon, there are only 3 females out of about 30 personnel; 2 are E1-4, and 1 is an E5. This despite every MOS in the maintenance platoon being open to females for at least 18 years, and probably more.

    No one in authority within the military is all that interested in doing a study as to why, because they won’t like the answers they get if the study is done honestly.

    1. Kirk

      The situation with women in the Combat Arms is probably self-correcting, if we leave things to take their natural course. The problem is, the institution is incapable of that, and the responsible whining bitches (male and female…) will not accept nature taking its natural course. They’re going to want to force the issue, and will demand that we have proportional representation of females in the combat arms, whether they want to be there or not. The existing institutional structure will kowtow to them, and make it happen, regardless of the effects on both the men and women involved. This will, naturally, end in tragedy on a scale to make Task Force Smith seem like a minor bump in the road. At which point, the responsible parties will all blame the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps for making it happen…


      These United States have been served by far better men than they really deserve, who have had to put up with shit that the institutions created by these states have been shoveling out for a lot longer than most rational creatures would tolerate. I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen the rise of a soldier caste that just decides to put the knife between the teeth, set hair afire, and burn the government to the ground along with the politicians. God knows, they deserve it. This BS would be “just cause #437,393”

  7. Don Williams

    Back in the dark ages (early 80’s) as a surface puke Nuc Electrician (NEC 3384) the shore billets for Nuc’s were predominately taken by women. During that time they went thru nuclear power training and got the sub tender billets. Those were the bulk of the “shore bullets” that the enlisted Nuc’s got. So that meant the sea/shore rotation got crappier for those who wanted to stay in as lifers.

    Women weren’t allowed in operational billets because of the danger that their eggs were subject to biological damage if they were in the propulsion plant while the reactor was at power. I haven’t kept up with the trends since I’ve been out.

    I can’t imagine how the stress of the added sexual tension hurts operational readiness. It must be a real strange time having the watch and crossing thru ” women’s country” on the mid watch.That and the smell which I am sure gives the males blue balls like you’d never seen must be a real bitch (Can I use that term?)

  8. Aesop

    But on the plus side, when they need to convince the wily destroyer captain the sub was sunk, those small-boned crewpersons will fit better in the torpedo tubes to be ejected up with the other flotsam and jetsam. Be a real bummer when some of them are still screaming when they seal the inboard loading hatch, but sacrifices have to be made for the good of the crew, and war is all hell.

    I can promise there will be more than a couple posthumous DSCs and Navy Crosses when gruntettes get “volunteered” to throw themselves on live hand grenades by the closest-standing line brute as well, who then sits on them until their final mission is accomplished. S**t happens.

    1. Hognose Post author

      A friend of mine happened to note that an ARVN liaison’s driver got the Silver Star (maybe the DSC) from the 4th Infantry Div. circa 1970-71. As the US was remarkably stingy with decorations for ARVNs, this struck him wrong and he asked around. Apparently a sapper attack enabled a grenade to roll into a command bunker, and he was the nearest, lightest guy to the ex-lineman CO. Just call him Nguyen Van Tamp.

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