USS Mobile Bay Celebrates Women's History Month

WATERS SURROUNDING THE KOREAN PENINSULA (NNS) -- The crew of guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) celebrated Women's History Month with a presentation on the ship's mess decks, March 25.

Crew members honored the service, leadership, and tradition of women in the Navy by focusing their celebration on this year's theme, "Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government."

"It is great that we highlight the amazing contributions that women have made over history," said Cmdr. Lynn Hazlett, executive officer of Mobile Bay. "The role of women continues to evolve and expand in the Navy, and by celebrating women's history we bring attention to the fact that it is still changing and that every Sailor is part of that change."

Compared to 1908, when women first served as part of the Navy Nurse Corps, women now make up nearly 20 percent of today's Navy. As the ranks continue to grow, awareness grows Navywide as well.

"In the past, women in the military were sometimes looked at as liabilities, and thoughts like that are some of the silent things that many women have had to fight against," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Omolola Olawale, a native of Baltimore, Maryland. "Women are still the minority in the Navy, but having female leadership representation onboard, like our executive officer and command master chief, helps to shed more light on what women can achieve in today's Navy."

The celebration started off with a historical presentation by Mobile Bay's Heritage Committee, followed by a cake-cutting ceremony on the ship's mess decks. After the ceremony, Hazlett and Mobile Bay's first female command master chief, CMDCM Lisa Thomas, took time to answer questions about women in the Navy during a question and answer session with the crew.

"The Navy continues to close the gender gap by opening more opportunities to women," said Hazlett during the exchange. "I know that they are just as qualified and deserving of those positions and have worked extremely hard to get where they are. We are different though, and those differences need to be celebrated as well, but that doesn't mean that we are any less of a naval officer, chief petty officer or Sailor because of it."

Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Mobile Bay is operating as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.

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