Three women become first to qualify as sub officers

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Three of the U.S. military’s first female submariners have earned their dolphin pins, signifying that they have met all of the requirements to serve on subs, one year after the Navy began allowing women to do so.

Lts. j.g. Marquette Leveque, Amber Cowan and Jennifer Noonan are the first women to be qualified as unrestricted line, or warfare, officers on U.S. submarines. They received their dolphin pins during ceremonies on Wednesday.

“Qualifying is a huge accomplishment for any submariner, and it feels no different for me,” Lt. Noonan said in statement released by the Navy. “I am thrilled to finally be a member of this elite community. I’m particularly grateful to my crew, officers and enlisted for supporting me and holding me to the same standards as those who have gone before me.”

Other women in the past also have qualified to work on subs, but Lts. Noonan, Leveque and Cowan are the first to have served a tour aboard a submarine and will be permanently assigned to do so.

As unrestricted line officers, they could become the commanding officers of submarines someday.

Lt. j.g. Luke Leveque, assigned to the Gold crew of the ballistic missile submarine USS Maryland (SSBN 738), pins the submarine officer warfare device on his wife, Lt. j.g. Marquette Leveque, assigned to the Gold crew of the ballistic missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742), at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay on Dec. 5, 2012. Leveque is one of three sailors to become the first female unrestricted line officers to qualify in submarines. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James Kimber/U.S. Navy)

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Lt. j.g. Luke Leveque, assigned to the Gold crew of the ballistic ... more >

They were among 24 women whom the Navy first allowed to serve on submarines last year.

Lt. Leveque was assigned to the USS Wyoming, based at the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Ga. Lts. Cowan and Noonan were assigned to the USS Maine at Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Wash.

“I am honored to be joining the long tradition of the submarine force by earning my dolphins and excited for the journey to come,” Lt. Leveque said in a statement. “I could not have accomplished this without the help of the wardroom and crew of the USS Wyoming.”

In June, a female supply officer, Lt. Britta Christianson, received her dolphin pin as the first female supply officer to serve and qualify on a submarine.

To qualify, the women underwent extensive training at the Submarine Officer Basic Course and the Naval Nuclear Power School.

In addition, they were required to qualify as officer of the deck and engineering officer of the watch, perform damage control functions, and demonstrate leadership abilities.

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