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Darlene Iskra

Cmdr. Darlene Iskra became the first woman officer to command a Navy ship when she took command of USS Opportune (ARS 41) in 1990. One of the first three women to become a diving officer, her first assignment was as the diving officer on USS Hector (AR 7), a World War II vintage repair ship. When more ships opened to women in the mid-1980s, Iskra requested a transfer and was assigned as operations officer aboard USS Grasp (ARS 51) during its pre-commissioning and through the first year of commissioned service. She was selected for executive officer afloat and served on two different ships in a split tour, first aboard USS Preserver (ARS 8) and then USS Hoist (ARS 40). Seventeen days after she took command of the USS Opportune (ARS 41) in Naples, Italy, the ship was sent underway in support of Operation Desert Storm. Iskra retired from the Navy in 2000 after 21 years of service. After the Navy, she went to graduate school and earned a doctorate in sociology, with a specialty areas in military sociology and gender, work, and family. She taught for nearly 10 years and wrote two books about women in the military.

Last Updated: 29 March 2023



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