First Lady to Function a Submarine XO Experiences for Obligation > United States Navy > News-Tales

The submarine officer stopped by for an interview between lessons whereas finishing the Submarine Command Course in Pearl Harbor. The Colorado Springs, Colo. native has two grandfathers who served within the U.S. Air Drive, and he or she attended the College of Washington on a scholarship from the Naval Reserve Officer Coaching Corps, her head stuffed with goals of turning into an aviator. Her eyesight saved her grounded, however then the chance to be among the many first girls to serve aboard submarines opened up. It was the whole lot she was searching for, and he or she’s by no means regarded again.

On Nov. 12, 2022 Cowan turned the manager officer (XO) of the Gold Crew of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), making her the primary lady to function XO of a U.S. Navy submarine.

Cowan was within the first cohort of girls to serve aboard submarines. After graduating from the College of Washington in 2010, she acquired her first set of orders to attend Nuclear Energy Faculty in Goose Creek, South Carolina, the primary of many colleges required for submarine officers. The Nuclear Energy Faculty curriculum lined subjects like math, physics, chemistry and nuclear reactor expertise, and after finishing Energy Faculty she attended Naval Prototype Coaching Unit and Submarine Officer Primary course. Then Cowan, together with the remainder of her classmates, reported to submarines throughout the Navy as division officers.

Cowan’s first boat was the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maine (SSBN 741) (Blue). Over the course of three years, which included three-and-a-half strategic deterrence patrols, she served because the Primary Propulsion Assistant, Injury Management Assistant and Tactical Methods Officer.

“I began within the engine room, which is the place we construct our basis,” stated Cowan. “It teaches officers to belief their enlisted counterparts and still have possession of and in a watch group.”

One among Cowan’s favourite reminiscences from her division officer tour is from an obligation day, when she discovered herself making rounds at evening because the Engineering Obligation Officer and Ship’s Obligation Officer. Her ship was in dry dock on the time, and as she walked round and underneath the practically 600-foot submarine she thought to herself, “I can’t consider it’s my job to be accountable for this!”

Following her time with Maine (Blue), she served because the Assistant Nuclear Packages Coordinator at Naval Service Coaching Command in Pensacola, Fla., after which attended the Submarine Officer’s Superior Course in Groton, Conn. in preparation to function a division head.

By Might of 2017 Cowan was serving because the Engineering Officer aboard the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Texas (SSN 775). On Texas, she loved seeing the distinction in assault submarine missions in comparison with her earlier expertise aboard a ballistic missile submarine. Cowan noticed that whatever the platform, working as a group with the opposite Sailors on board was important to mission success.

“Lots of submarining is speaking with others and understanding the people-to-people dynamic in a hectic atmosphere,” Cowan defined.

After Texas, Cowan served at Commander, U.S. Submarine Forces Pacific Fleet because the Drive Radiological Controls Officer. When she was chosen to function an XO, she started the Submarine Command Course on the Naval Submarine Coaching Middle, Pacific.

Whereas the mantle of being the primary at one thing could weigh heavy at occasions, Cowan takes all of it in stride and remembers the inspiring phrases of one in every of her grandfathers, who informed her, “If anyone’s going to do it, you gotta present ‘em find out how to do it proper.”

Her ardour for what she does is seen when she speaks. She talks about submarining as a verb, and fondly remembers the numerous ‘we actually simply did that’ moments she’s shared along with her shipmates underway. Whereas some could relish shore responsibility, she’s genuinely excited to be going again to a ship.

“I’ve missed being part of a crew, and fixing issues collectively as a group,” stated Cowan.

Cowan had this to say to anybody contemplating the silent service:

“I, we, want good gifted individuals such as you. If you’re good with group success, the submarine drive is for you as effectively. It’s going to problem you in methods you received’t discover anyplace else on the planet.”

As of November 2022, girls Sailors are assigned to twenty-eight operational submarine crews. Based mostly on general retention charges and excessive accession supply curiosity, the Submarine Drive plans to combine 33 submarine crews by 2030.