Sea History 178 - Spring 2022

Page 43

Cmdr. Darlene Iskra Darlene Iskra became the first woman officer to command a Navy ship when she took command of USS Opportune (ARS 41) on 27 December 1990. One of the first three women to become a diving officer, her first assignment was as the diving officer onboard USS Hector (AR 7), a World War II vintage repair ship. When more ships opened to women in the mid-1980s, Iskra requested a transfer and was assigned as operations officer aboard USS Grasp (ARS 51) during her pre-commissioning and through the vessel’s first year of commissioned service. She was selected for executive officer afloat, and served on two different ships in a split tour: first with USS Preserver (ARS 8) and then USS Hoist (ARS 40). Less than three weeks after she took command of USS Opportune in Naples, Italy, the ship put to sea to support Operation Desert Storm. Iskra retired from the Navy in 2000 after 21 years of service. After retirement, she went to graduate school and got her PhD in sociology, with the specialty areas of Military Sociology and Gender, Work, and Family; taught for nearly ten years; and wrote two books about women in the military. Lt. j. g. Madeline Swegle Madeline Swegle became the Navy’s first-known black woman to become a tactical air pilot when she earned her Wings of Gold on 31 July 2020. Swegle is part of a new generation of TACAIR pilots to qualify on the state-of-the-art aircraft launch and recovery equipment unique to the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78): the electromagnetic aircraft launch system and advanced arresting gear. She completed carrier qualifications in May 2020. She is currently stationed at Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ-130) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt Amy Bauernschmidt became the first woman commanding officer of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier when she took command of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the summer of 2021. Bauernschmidt was also the first woman to serve as the executive officer aboard an aircraft carrier, a position she held from September 2016 to January 2019.

These are just a select few of the dynamic women who are featured in Celebrating Navy Women. To view the full eBook, you can download the pdf via the website. SEA HISTORY 178, SPRING 2022


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