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Focus on Service

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Women divers in the United States Navy



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Babette "Bette" Bolivar
Rear Admiral


Captain Bette Bolivar Bush earned her initial diving qualification in 1989. From 1988-2000 she was the Commanding Officer of USS Salvor (ARS-52) and served as the director of ammunition offload from USS Cole (DDG-67) after the 2000 terrorist attack in Yemen. Captain Bush served as the first female Commanding Officer of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One from 2003-2005. In 2006 she deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2005.

"When I was 8 years old, I was a near-drowning victim and had to be resuscitated. From then on, I told myself I would conquer both the seas and my fear of the seas by learning more and becoming part of the underwater environment. I took swimming lessons and gradually eased my way back into the water...and eventually earned a degree in oceanography.

In August of 2014, Bolivar was promoted to Commander of the Joint Region Marianas, the Commander of the US Naval Forces Marianas, and the U.S. Defense Representative for Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau. Her father started as a steward in the Navy and retired as a Chief Petty Officer. Both her brothers also served in the Navy.

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Graphic illustration of eight US Navy women divers.