The Navy has selected the first woman to serve as a chief of the boat — the senior enlisted advisor to the commanding and executive officers of a submarine.

Master Chief Information Systems Technician (Submarine) Angela Koogler, who joined the Navy in 2002, became the chief of the boat for nuclear ballistic missile submarine Louisiana Aug. 22. The submarine is based out of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington.

“If you have something in your mind that is your goal, you can’t let one person or one obstacle stop you,” Koogler said in a Navy news release. “You have to keep driving for it. And sometimes instead of running those obstacles over, you might have to go around them. You might have to find a different path that works for you.”

Women were barred from serving on submarines until 2011, when female officers were permitted to serve on subs. Female enlisted personnel began serving on submarine crews in 2016. Koogler was assigned to guided-missile submarine Michigan in May 2016 and subsequently completed a tour with Submarine Squadron 19.

“Every time I was up for orders, I was always looking for something different and challenging,” Koogler said. “Then when it was announced that enlisted women could apply for submarines, with some encouragement from my Sailors, I went ahead and applied.”

According to Submarine Squadron 19 Command Master Chief Travis Brown, Koogler was an ideal candidate because of her drive and ability to quickly adapt.

“Koogler only has 36 months on board a submarine, but I knew she was the perfect candidate to be the first woman COB,” Brown said in a Navy news release. “In 36 months, she walked off a submarine as a qualified diving officer of the watch, and everything in between, while also learning how to lead submarine Sailors.”

“We kind of pushed her a little bit because it’s always spooky if you’re going to be the first person to do anything,” Brown said. “But this is a huge glass ceiling busted in the submarine force. Now there’s a path to the top of the submarine force.”

Koogler, who is shooting to become a command master chief, said that gender shouldn’t stop sailors from serving in specific fields, so long as job performance isn’t impacted.

“We need to keep breaking down the barriers so that it just becomes all Sailors,” said Koogler. “A Sailor is a Sailor to me, and we shouldn’t have to define their gender. It’s important to integrate everybody, and it shouldn’t matter as long as they get the job done.”

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