ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) celebrated Women’s History Month in Ike’s Five Star Classroom, March 30.
With this year’s theme, “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace,” Ike’s Multi-Cultural Committee honored significant women in Navy history.
Lt. Cmdr. Holly Taylor, Ike’s administrative officer, spoke at the event.
“When I joined the Navy in 1993, women were not allowed on ships,” said Taylor. “We honor the women who paved the way and who got us here. Their contributions are significant to how we serve today.”
According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, on March 7, 1994, the Navy issued the first orders for women to be assigned aboard a combatant ship: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Taylor said she is proud to serve on Ike, because it was the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier to welcome women as crew members.
More recently, the Navy’s Submarine Force began accepting applications for the Enlisted Women in Submarines (EWIS) initiative in 2015.
“I was one of the first senior enlisted members on a submarine to set the standard for introducing female Sailors in the ranks,” said Chief Navy Career Counselor Bobbie Gunderson. “It is only recently that we celebrate the often unrecognized and extraordinary accomplishments of women.”
Gunderson said the power of a warship maintains peace. The mission of the Navy is built on the idea of deterrence.
“It was hard for me to grasp the idea of peace and nonviolence when thinking about women in military history,” said Taylor. “Mostly when you think about peace, you think about ending war and gun violence, but as military members we have to bear arms to fight in the war. Overall, our mission is to have peace in the world and I think women warfighters are significant to achieving that objective.”
Women prevailed with the determination to expand to new frontiers of opportunities. The time is not in the distant past, said Gunderson.
“I was on the Nimitz in 2013 when Syria became somewhat of a threat,” said Gunderson. “We went to the Red Sea to protect the waters. Our job was to maintain an environment for open seas and open commerce. We make history everyday while maintaining freedom of the seas, so the theme ‘Champions of Peace’, is fitting for commemorating women in the Navy.”
Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Cassandra Holmes said it’s important to observe Women’s History Month out to sea because we have so many people from varied backgrounds who have contributed greatly to the Navy.
“It is critical to recognize the big contributions that women have made in the Navy and armed forces,” said Legalman 1st Class Chardae Longshore, Ike’s Legal Department leading petty officer. “I feel like I can do anything. I feel like I can achieve those same goals and more.”
For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.