[[[Very nice job here, Meghann. Great scoop. Couple questions to address: What's the crew size and what accommodations were made for these women -- what's the berthing situation and how do the shower arrangements work? You might look to add this info after the graph taking about this being a big scandal amid an otherwise smooth transition//A.deG.]]]
Some of the first female sailors women to serve on Navy submarines were secretly recorded while they were undressed. furtively filmed in a shower changing area for more than a year aboard their sub, and the secret videos were allegedly passed among the crew, Navy Times has learned officials confirmed.
Female officers aboard the ballistic missile submarine Wyoming, Gold crew, were recorded secretly filmed multiple times by a sailor who allegedly distributed the videos to crew members and fellow submariners, according to a Nov. 14 incident report circulated among the service's most senior leaders obtained by Navy Times.
The women were recorded aboard the ballistic missile submarine Wyoming, Gold crew, which is home ported in Kings Bay, Georgia. Navy officials are investigating an unidentified 24-year-old male who is accused of making and distributing E-5 allegedly made and distributed the videos, according to a Nov. 14 incident report circulated among the service's most senior leaders the message. The sailor was identified only by his rank: second class petty officer.
The videos are believed to show at least three female officers while showering or undressed that were recorded over more than a year, according to a source who has spoken to one of the alleged victims.
It amounts to a huge The secret shower videotaping is the biggest scandal for a community sub force that has prided itself on an otherwise smooth integration effort, begun four years ago when women first entered submarine training. And it comes as the Navy moves towards its next milestones, integrating Virginia-class attack subs and then the enlisted submarine ranks.
A ballistic missile sub typically has 15 officers and 140 enlisted on board, with unisex heads in "officer country." When a woman is using the shower, for example, she puts up a sign to indicate the head is in use by a female officer and men must wait to enter until it's unoccupied.
It's possible that the cameras caught both men and women showering, but the source in touch with an alleged victim believes only the videos of women were distributed.
Some of the women are upset with leadership's the sub brass' handling of the situation, citing due to what they feel is a lack of seriousness towards the harassment and sensitivity toward those affected.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service NCIS Kings Bay is investigating, according to the unclassified incident report, which characterized the incident as a "privacy violation." But a retired supply officer who's in touch with at least one of the victims said this was more like a case of clear-cut "sexual harassment."
NCIS spokeswoman MaryAnn Cummings confirmed an investigation is underway but would not comment further.
Lt. Leslie Hubbell, spokeswoman for Submarine Group 10 in Kings Bay, said the Navy would hold individuals involved accountable if the allegations prove factual, but said it would n't be inappropriate to comment further while the investigation is ongoing.
Hubbell described said the allegations as of what she termed "criminal activity" and said they came to light last month.
"The Navy became aware of the alleged criminal activity in November 2014 and promptly began an investigation, which is ongoing," she said in a written statement.
The videotaping affected at least three women assigned to the ship, of which are there a mix of submarine and supply officers, according to a retired female supply officer whom a victim reached out to this week.
The petty officer was working on the Kings Bay, Ga., homeported sub while assigned to submarine training, the message said.
Details of how many videos were made, how widely they were distributed, or how many women were filmed were not included in the message. The second class petty officer accused of filming and distributing the videos is assigned to Trident Training Facility, according to the incident report.
A report was initially filed after an officer on a different submarine received the videos, which had been circulating, according to the retired supply officer.
One of the women filmed was nearly forced to deploy get underway, the retired officer said, but the decision was reversed two days before the sub's boat's Tuesday departure.
The Wyoming was one of the first submarines to take on women in 2011, beginning with 12 female supply and line officers in both crews. The retired officer said this incident should give women pause about seeking such jobs joining the silent service.
"I just want women, who are all starry-eyed about this, to know what they're getting themselves into," said the retired officer, who was among the first cadre of female trailblazers in the submarine force.
The retired officer, who asked not to be identified, was one of the first women assigned to ballistic- and guided-missile subs.
She asked not be to identified, but shared her experience as a newly minted female submariner back then, offering some advice.
She said that there has been intense interest in female crew members from the get-go. She recalled her first day on a sub, when a young male sailor came into her stateroom and asked, "Where are the females?"
"I looked at him and said, 'All right, let's get one thing straight: They're not females, they're junior officers on this boat, they're division officers, and you will address them as Ensign So-and-So, and you can tell everybody else on the boat,' " she said.
As a supply officer and lieutenant, it was her job to serve as a mentor for the younger female submariners and to be a leader among the crew.
"The only reason I was there was to stop the submariners from being a--holes, and to get the women to stop crying," she recalled. "I felt like it was fine, but I felt like I was in control of the situation."
The officer pointed out that the same things went on when women were integrated within other communities into surface ships, but that transparency exposing it is the only way to deal with it.
"If you don't talk about it, and you let the offenders get away with it, at the end of the day you're actually saying it's OK," she said.
The videos' discovery of the disturbing videotapes comes just weeks before the Navy's next round of integration, the first time women will be assigned to Virginia-class fast attack boats.
In January, six female officers, two supply and four nuclear-trained, are set to report to the subs Virginia and Minnesota in Groton, Connecticut, in January. Two Pacific Fleet submarines, this time from Pacific Fleet, are due to be announced soon as the next round of subs to take on female women officers in 2016.
There are now 14 crews with women on three Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines and four guided-missile subs.
Enlisted women are also on scheduled to join the submarine force at large within the next few years. According to the Navy's integration plan, women will make up 20 percent of the enlisted crew on seven of the 18 Ohio-class submarines by 2020.
Staff writer David Larter contributed to this report.