USA: First Female Supply Officer to Qualify in Submarines

First Female Supply Officer to Qualify in Submarines

A Sailor assigned to USS Ohio (SSGN 726) became the first female supply officer to qualify in submarines, June 22.

Lt. Britta Christianson of Ohio’s Gold Crew received her Submarine Supply Corps “dolphins” from the Gold Crew Commanding Officer Capt. Rodney Mills during a brief ceremony at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF).

“I’m very proud of Lt. Christianson’s accomplishments today,” said Mills, “and I’m glad to welcome her to the elite community of dolphin-wearing submariners, past and present. She is a superb supply officer, an excellent watchstander, and she will be critical to ensuring the ship’s success during our upcoming deployment.”

Ohio is currently undergoing maintenance at PSNS & IMF, having returned to the Pacific Northwest in March after a 14-month forward deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Christianson, a native of Chippewa Falls, Wis., joined the Gold Crew in November 2011 during Ohio’s deployment. She is one of 13 women – four supply officers and nine submarine line officers under instruction – assigned to Ohio and USS Maine (SSBN 741) at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Wash. Twelve other women are assigned to USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) and USS Georgia (SSGN 729), based in Kings Bay, Ga.

In order to receive her Supply dolphins, Christianson – already a qualified Naval Flight Officer and surface supply officer – was required to demonstrate knowledge in basic submarine operations and engineering fundamentals, perform damage control functions, and qualify as a diving officer of the watch (DOOW).

“I was honored to be given the opportunity to serve aboard a submarine, so receiving my dolphins is like icing on the cake for me,” said Christianson. “It was a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day, two things bring us and our submarine home safely: knowledge of the submarine and our ability to execute the mission, and that basically sums up what dolphins are all about. I owe a lot of my thanks to my captain, chiefs and crew members who trained me and helped me to learn my boat.”

Prior to reporting to their boats beginning in November 2011, Christianson and the other women assigned to Ohio, Maine, Wyoming and Georgia graduated from the Submarine Officer Basic Course in Groton, Conn. In addition, the submarine line officers under instruction graduated from the Naval Nuclear Power School at Charleston, S.C., and underwent naval nuclear prototype training.

Ohio and USS Michigan (SSGN 727) are homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and forward deployed to Guam.

Naval Today Staff, June 26, 2012; Image: US Navy