At MilitaryConnection.com, we have been following the story of what occurred aboard the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, the U.S.S. Wyoming (SSBN-742), one of the first U.S. Navy submarines to allow women to serve onboard.
Four female officers were temporarily assigned to the sub for the U.S.S. Wyoming’s deployments in 2013 and 2014. The females had separate berthings, but shared the same bathroom facilities as the Wyoming’s male officers. Enlisted crew members have their own head (restroom/shower).
Twelve enlisted submariners are alleged to have used a smart phone to secretly record videos of the female officers while they were in various stages of undress in their assigned head. The sailors distributed the videos to each other via cell phone text messages. It is not believed that the videos were ever posted on the internet.
According to Navy prosecutor, Lieutenant Commander Lee March, the sailor who initially captured the videos of the officers undressing began telling his male shipmates that he had “a gift for them.” When the Wyoming arrived back to its homeport of Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, the sailor would share the videos with others through a smartphone data transfer application, commonly referred to as “bumping.”
“Videos were treated like Pokemon– Something to be collected,” Marsh said at the preliminary hearing in the case against two missile technicians charged with conspiracy to distribute recordings of private areas of female officers.
The defense attorney, Navy Lieutenant Paul Hochmuth, counsel for one of the accused, said that his client didn’t know what was on the files when he accepted the “gift” on his phone.
Women have only been integrated on submarines in the American Navy since 2011, Now, in 2015, there are thousands of roles opening to women that were previously closed to them for various reasons. Some of these reasons were logistical, such as how do you quarter men and women so closely together without problems and violations, such as what occurred on the Wyoming?
This case is an important one for the future of integrating females into further roles within the U.S. military. This case will not only need to carry out justice for the victims, and punish those who are found guilty. This case will also set a standard for how future service members will be discouraged from committing such dishonorable and trust-crushing acts in the future– a future that, like it or not, will see men and women serving their country together, in all roles and occupations, in all branches of the U.S. military.
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Military Connection: Navy Shower Video Scandal Update: By Debbie Gregory