First Naval females who can serve on submarines graduate |

First Naval females who can serve on submarines graduate

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – The first female U.S. Naval Academy graduates who will be able to serve as officers aboard submarines said Thursday they feel ecstatic, thankful and blessed by the chance to break one of the military’s last gender barriers.

So far, eleven female midshipmen have been accepted into the Navy’s training program. Several talked about how their hopes and aspirations went from the buzz of possibility to thrilling reality.

“I didn’t want to get excited yet,” Midshipman Abigail Gesecki, of Nanticoke, Pa., recalled when she first heard that a policy change to allow women to serve on subs was under consideration. “And then it happened, and I was like: Wow! I’m in shock. It was a little bit of a feeling of shock that everything that I really wanted I got. It doesn’t always happen that way in life.”

A total of about 20 women will begin training this summer to become submarine officers in a program that takes at least 15 months. They will report for duty aboard a submarine by 2012. The first group of women will consist entirely of officers. They will be assigned to guided-missile attack submarines and ballistic-missile submarines, which have the most living space in the Navy’s fleet.