[[[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.]]]
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 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.
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.
NCIS spokeswoman MaryAnn Cummings confirmed an investigation is underway but would not comment further.
"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.
"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."
"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.
There are now 14 crews with women on three Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines and four guided-missile subs.
Staff writer David Larter contributed to this report.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.