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    Stepping Into a New Navy


    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Mariano Lopez | Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Recruit Crystal Garza, from Odessa, Texas,...... read more read more

    Stepping Into a New Navy

    By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Angel Thuy Jaskuloski
    USS Gerald R. Ford Public Affairs

    ATLANTIC OCEAN - For many junior Sailors serving aboard naval vessels today, it is difficult to imagine a crew composed exclusively of men. However, this was the reality 27 years ago before Congress repealed 10 USC 6015, a law barring women from serving aboard combatant ships, on Nov. 30, 1993.
    "My first duty station was with a training squadron in San Diego and it was predominantly male populated," said Master Chief Logistics Specialist Jeany Nemenzo, from Evan Beach, Hawaii, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford's (CVN 78) supply department. "To be taken seriously, women had to 'prove' that we weren't afraid of getting dirty. I had to work twice as hard to be recognized as 'capable.'"
    Instances of women contributing to the warfighting efforts of the United States can be traced back to the Revolutionary War, where women served as nurses, seamstresses and cooks. Later, in 1917, they were officially recruited as Yeomanettes, extending their roles to include administrative jobs.
    When Nemenzo joined in 1992, she had to battle the stereotype that a woman's place in the military was as a nurse or behind a desk.
    "I was an undesignated airman and the jobs offered to me by my male leaders were office related jobs," said Nemenzo.
    In March of 1994, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) spearheaded the Navy's effort to integrate women into the fleet and opened up doors previously denied to them.
    "I felt extreme pride for the women that jumped into these new opportunities," Nemenzo said. "The women who volunteered were fearless."
    Since the repeal of 10 USC 6015, women have steadily worked their way towards titles and responsibilities that were previously exclusive to men. The most recent milestone is Capt. Amy Bauernschmadt being selected to serve as the first female commanding officer of an aircraft carrier.
    As of March 2021, female Sailors make up 21% of Ford's crew, with 2% of them being chiefs and officers.
    "I am beyond grateful that I get to witness female leadership as a junior Sailor," said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Imani Griffin, from Alexandria, Virginia, assigned to Ford's administration department. "We are lucky to have women to look up to, while they had no one early on in their careers."
    Nemenzo explained how she did not meet a female master chief until she became a chief herself and that there is still a necessity for women in leadership positions. Seeing more women take on those roles makes Nemenzo optimistic for the future.
    "Last month I went to Portsmouth Naval Hospital and on the wall I saw a picture of the commanding and executive officer- both women," said Nemenzo. "I beamed, because seeing women in leadership roles, both enlisted and officer, was not the norm when I was a young Sailor."
    To the women who continue to step into roles that are primarily made up of men, Nemenzo offered this thought.
    "There will be those that will continue to doubt their ability. I say to them to keep their heads high, continue to believe in themselves and forge on," said Nemenzo. "The doors they've opened will benefit so many behind them, and many will thank and remember these heroes for years to come."
    For more news from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit



    Date Taken: 03.29.2021
    Date Posted: 03.29.2021 21:51
    Story ID: 392541
    Location: US

    Web Views: 61
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