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Women on the ships?


No, I'm not of the generation (though some of my age group are) that believes women should necessarily remain at home, do the cooking and cleaning and raise a flock of young'uns, though I do believe that kids are raised with more love if a nurturing parent is involved in their day-to-day introduction to life better than if it is provided by a minimum-wage hired hand at some day care facility.

I believe that kids raised by a parent are less likely to be hoodlums later in life.

I do also strongly believe that a woman doing the same job as the man alongside should be receiving the same rate of pay as her male counterpart.

But, as an old swab jockey, I can't help but wonder how the fairly recent introduction of women becoming members of the crew of a Navy fighting ship will affect normalcy.

Without specific knowledge, I can only guess that millions of dollars must have to be spent per ship to modify sleeping quarters and bathroom/shower facilities to accommodate the division of sexes.

My first ship, an aircraft carrier, the USS Bataan, was a leftover from WWII laden with reconnaissance aircraft, attack helicopters and a large detachment of Marines (also known to us sailors as "jarheads, jungle bunnies” and other labels I won't share here) on their way to Korea.

As a somber aside, on the return trip to Pearl Harbor, as I stood honor guard watch in full dress uniform on the hangar deck for a score of flag-draped Marine caskets, I gained a lifetime respect for Marines.

At the sound of reveille, at a disgustingly early hour, the men (boys actually) jump out of their multi-tiered bunks with their bare feet hitting the cold deck and clad only in a tattered towel and a shaving kit under one arm on their way to the community shower several compartments away.

Wouldn't that required a necessary separate area for women (girls actually) in the crew?

Bear (I almost said "bare") in mind that a Navy ship's crew consists mostly of young men in their late teens and early twenties. Add young women to that mix and what's bound to happen?

You guessed it ... a cut back on beans in the chow line and other possibilities with more permanent results.

But that's about aircraft carriers. Imagine the introduction of women in submarines.

The head Navy brass and Congress have recently concluded that there won't be any need for expensive modifications on the larger submersible vessels. Horse feathers!!

Any of them should try a cruise on a sub. They might be persuaded to alter their ill-thought-out opinions.

Ahoy matey! That's the long and the short of it.


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