'Business as Usual' at Seal Beach Base After Historic Decision

The military's decision to allow women in combat will have little impact at the weapons Station because women have been allowed to serve on Naval combat ships since 1993.

The Pentagon’s historic decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat Thursday won’t have a day-to-day impact at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, a spokesman said.

“It’s going to be business as usual for the base,” said Gregg Smith, station public information officer. “I don't foresee any significant changes in the way we do things.”

That's because women have been allowed to serve on naval combat ships for about 20 years, said Smith.

“As far as the ships that come and visit us from everywhere, there won’t be any difference in the types of crew members that serve (on those ships),” Smith said.

According to the United States Navy history website, in 1993 Congress repealed the law banning their service.

“Previous to that, women had been allowed to serve (only) on non-combat ships: auxiliary ships like repair ships and oilers,” Smith said.

Another reason the change won’t have a big effect on the station, according to Smith, is that the facility is a “logistics” base – it provides resources like ammo and supplies to Naval ships.

“(The Pentagon's decision) really more specifically refers to combat units, and when you’re talking about a logistics base like Seal Beach, there aren't a lot of combat units,” Smith said.  

As for operations on the base itself, Smith said, for the last 15 to 20 years, “crews have been mixed gender in our security forces, as well as all other jobs on board the installation."

According to Smith on any given day there are about 700 to 800 people on base, about 150 of which are uniformed officers.

He estimates that about 20 percent of those officers are female.

Smith said he thinks the Pentagon's decision will bring changes to combat units nationwide, but women "have already been able to serve in a large number of different units across the military.”

Smith added, however, that he can only speak for the base, not for the military in general.


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