OK let’s get this out of the way: I believe that if a person – man, woman, gay, straight, Black, White, Hispanic, or whatever – is qualified to and has proven that they can do a certain job, that they should be allowed to do so. Having said that, I also believe that not one iota of said job standards and expectations should be changed. If a person wants to do the job that badly, they had better step up and perform like those before them. And in the case of one US Navy sailor, those expectations were met, and in the process, a long-time barrier was breached. Yesterday, the first female enlisted sailor pinned on the “silver dolphins” which qualified her to serve aboard submarines.

During a ceremony at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington State, Chief Culinary Specialist Dominique Saavedra was awarded the qualification pin, noting her pride by stating “To have earned the respect of my fellow submariners is more rewarding than expected. I am honored to serve as a qualified member in such a prestigious community.” Saavedra has orders to deploy aboard the nuclear powered guided missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727), which will be the first sub to deploy with a crew which includes female sailors. Females will make up roughly 20 percent of the crew, or 29 sailors (2 chief petty officers and the remaining 27 at the rank of petty officer and below.)