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First three female officers officially become submariners

By Jennifer McDermott

Publication: theday.com

Published December 05. 2012 5:00PM   Updated December 05. 2012 11:56PM

The first three women who could command a submarine received their "dolphins" in ceremonies held in Georgia and Washington state Wednesday.

Lt. j.g. Marquette Leveque, of the USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) gold crew, and Lt. j.g. Amber Cowan and Lt. j.g. Jennifer Noonan, of the USS Maine (SSBN 741) blue crew, are now qualified submariners, entitled to wear the dolphins pin on their uniforms. Separate ceremonies were held at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., and Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Wash.

Leveque said she was "honored to be joining the long tradition of the submarine force" while Noonan said "qualifying is a huge accomplishment for any submariner and it feels no different for me."

"Ultimately, it is a monumental mark of the confidence my command and crew has in me," Cowan added in a statement. "And earning that respect and acceptance is a feeling that I will hold with me for my entire life."

All three women have completed strategic deterrent patrols aboard their respective submarines.

Twenty four women in total — 17 line officers and seven supply officers — are assigned to the Wyoming, Maine, USS Ohio (SSGN 726) and USS Georgia (SSGN 729). The Maine and Ohio are homeported in Bangor, while the Wyoming and Georgia are in Kings Bay.

As part of their training, the women graduated from the Submarine Officer Basic Course in Groton before reporting to their submarines beginning last November.

Lt. Britta Christianson, of the Ohio, previously received her Submarine Supply Corps dolphins. The Navy assigned female supply corps officers to submarines to fill department head roles and serve as mentors, but they did not go through the same training as the other officers. Supply officers typically only serve one tour on a submarine.

j.mcdermott@theday.com

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