AUSN

SUMMER 2017

Navy magazine is distributed on Capitol Hill,the Pentagon and naval bases around the world. It provides information that impacts Sailors, their families and the Navy. Navy is published quarterly by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).

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came up from the enlisted side. It was Dec 7, 1975 when I landed in Washington, D.C. for my next duty station. e high-level security clearance would take about six months to process—time to research this matter, with my boss's permission. Answering the questions provided by the American Civil Liberties Union /Women's Rights Project occupied this time. I never claimed to be a feminist until Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now a Supreme Court Justice, changed my mind with her assertion that "a feminist is anybody who supports the betterment of women in our lives." at's what I was trying to do. We filed the court case in November 1976, when I had six or seven months le in my enlistment. I was promoted to E-5 but couldn't get hands-on training to advance and decided not to re-enlist. Not many people—espe- cially Sailors—have a case against their employer tried in court. Eventually, there were four enlisted women and four female officers. We were apprehensive since District Judge Sirica had not heard an EEO-type case before. As I remember it, each side had about 15 minutes to present their argument, and then he said he would return with a judgement. District Judge Sirica published his decision on July 27, 1978. I don't think it was coincidental that was also the WAVES' birthday. He didn't make the removal of the limitation on shipboard service for women imme- diately mandatory; he recog- nized a period of adjustment toward that end. Since 1993, women have been allowed to serve on combatants. As of 2016, women can now apply for all warfare and technical specialties. These changes can be attributed to the eponymous court case. What are your thoughts, in retrospect of the 40 years since your case's court ruling? For years, I called it "the court case" and only learned in 1999 that the case is called "Owens v. Brown" [Harold Brown was the SECDEF]. Although my Navy career ended, I thought of what I was asking our citizens to do—to put women in harm's way. at really hit home when the USS Cole (DDG 67) was sabotaged in 2000. Two of the 17 killed were women, one from my home state, North Carolina. She's the one who sacrificed, along with those who died in the attack. Editor's Note: During FY 1979, 55 officers and 375 enlisted women were assigned to 21 ships in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, with the first officers reporting aboard Nov. 1, 1978. e first enlisted women reported in December. n CAPT Reinetta Vaneendenburg retired from the Navy in 2016 with 37 years of service. She is seeking stories of female line officers for an upcoming book: WAVES2 Warriors@gmail.com / Facebook @CaptainRVan. 33 Association of the United States Navy Special to the New York Times, Aug. 7, 1978 (page 2): United Press International article announced the first support ship to allow women as part of the crew. Navy nurses had previously served aboard hospital ships. When the USS Vulcan (AR 5) made her historic deployment from Naval Station Norfolk, former WAVES officer and contemporary artist Alice DeCaprio documented the voyage by painting the women Sailors on board. (Mary Kelly, USS Vulcan (AR 5) by Alice DeCapiro, Casein Painting, 1979.)

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