Like much of the social media world where we all spend way too much of our time, the comment strings on Military/Veteran Facebook can be as dank and dark as the cruiser Shiloh catacombs where Peter Mims once hid.
Facebook posts showcase thread dwellers writing all manner of vile insults and baseless proclamations. Some of the nastiest commenters’ profiles often feature pics of them with their little kids. Sweet irony.
But last week on Facebook, a Navy command clapped back at commenters bemoaning increased opportunities for women on submarines.
The April 12 post on the official Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic page notified followers that the Navy was extending the deadline for enlisted women to convert to SUBFOR ratings.
With that, the outrage began to ooze.
“So glad I am retired and not involved with this social engineering experiment,” one male commenter wrote.
But unlike most comment threads, SUBFOR answered the trolls who lamented women on boats.
“Integrating women aboard submarines is not a social engineering experiment and it is not something new,” SUBLANT replied. “Women have been serving aboard submarines in other nations since 1995. The U.S. Submarine Force requires the best and brightest America has, regardless of gender. Glad you are enjoying retirement.”
Another commenter framed the policy as an attack on male submariners.
“So MORE males are getting screwed out of the chance to get assigned to the big boats,” he wrote. “Reminds me of when women were allowed in certain rates awhile back. Sea shore rotations for males got really bad because the girls sucked up all the shore billets. Political correctness DOES NOT BELONG IN THE MILITARY!”
“The integration of women aboard submarines is not about political correctness,” SUBLANT replied. “It is about having the best Submarine Force.”
Currently, 18 boats have crews with female officers, while four subs have female enlisted sailors in their crews, according to SUBLANT officials.
By the end of 2024, 21 sub crews will have female officers, while 14 of those crews will have both enlisted and commissioned women, according to the command.
One commenter was a bit more sharp in his criticism of people who were bent out of shape.
“I have been on three classes of submarine and have yet to find a piece of equipment you have to stick your d**k in to operate,” the commenter wrote.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at email@example.com.