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Courtney Sails Aboard USS Minnesota And Meets Some Of The First Female Officers Assigned To An Attack Submarine

August 31, 2016
Press Release
The USS Minnesota recently returned to service after extensive repair work was completed at Electric Boat in Groton

NORWICH, CT —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that he rode aboard the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Minnesota on Monday into Tuesday morning after setting sail from Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, Florida. While aboard, Courtney met some of the first female officers serving aboard an attack submarine since the Navy opened submarine service to women. Courtney also experienced the USS Minnesota performing training maneuvers such as an emergency main ballast tank blow which uses high pressure air to rapidly surface the submarine. The Minnesota recently returned to service after being docked for nearly two years for repairs.

Rep. Courtney presenting Commander Brian Tanaka of the USS Minnesota with a Connecticut Submarine Century print on Monday

Rep. Courtney presenting Commander Brian Tanaka of the USS Minnesota with a Connecticut Submarine Century print on Monday (Photo Courtesy: USS Minnesota) High-resolution photos

“I want to thank the Commanding Officer of the USS Minnesota, Brian Tanaka, for allowing me the opportunity to see his officers and hardworking crew in action,” said Courtney. “It was especially gratifying to see the Minnesota being put through its paces after its unexpected stay in the shipyard. I know that he and his crew have been straining at the leash to get Minnesota out to sea, and I am gratified to see them once again patrolling the waters protecting our national security and our allies. The Groton-based crew could not have been more accommodating, and it was a real pleasure to see them doing what they do best.

“During my time on board, I was also fortunate to meet some of the first female officers to serve aboard an attack submarine.  It was remarkable to see these incredibly talented and passionate officers serving right alongside their male counterparts almost as if this is the way it has always been. My time on board confirmed to me that both our submarine force and our nation are stronger thanks to the integration of women into our undersea forces.”

Additional high-resolution photos of Courtney aboard the USS Minnesota can be downloaded here

Until recently, service aboard a submarine remained one of the few areas of military service not open to women. In 2010, the U.S. Navy lifted the prohibition against women serving aboard submarines, and in December of 2012 the first female officer received her ‘Dolphins’ before being assigned to service aboard a ballistic missile submarine. In January of 2015, the first female officer to serve on an attack submarine reported to the USS Minnesota, followed by two additional female officers months later. The Navy is also implementing plans to incorporate female enlisted crew on attack submarines by 2020, as they already have on one of larger SSGNs.

After commissioning, the USS Minnesota entered into an repair period after it was determined that a defective part was provided by a subcontractor during construction. The boat was returned to service this summer after engineers at Electric Boat and the Navy performed a detailed investigation and repair that corrected the problem.