Lt. Britta Christianson scores Navy first

Lt. Britta Christianson, USN, a Gold Crew supply officer assigned to the guided-missile submarine USS
Ohio (SSGN 726), is presented with her Submarine Supply Corps "dolphins" by her commanding officer, Capt. Rodney Mills, during a ceremony at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard as Capt. Dixon Hicks, Ohio's former commanding officer, looks on. Christianson is the first female Supply Corps officer to qualify in submarines. She is a native of Chippewa Falls and a graduate of Chippewa Falls High and UW-Madison.

June 25, 2012



The Commander, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs, reported on June 22, 2012 that Lt. Britta Christianson, USN, received her Submarine Supply Corps “Dolphin” badge at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on June 22, 2012. She is a native of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and a graduate of Chippewa Falls Senior High, Class of 2000. Britta earned a bachelor of arts in political science and international relations, with an emphasis in southeast Asia, from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004. She has served in Afghanistan.


Christianson joined the Gold Crew of the USS
Ohio (SSGN 726) nuclear submarine (shown here) in November 2011 while the Ohio was deployed. She is the first female submarine supply officer to receive the Supply Dolphin.

The Navy said, “In order to receive her Supply dolphins, Christianson - already a qualified Naval Flight Officer (NFO) and surface supply officer - was required to demonstrate knowledge in basic submarine operations and engineering fundamentals, perform damage control functions, and qualify as a diving officer of the watch (DOOW).”


A NFO is an aeronautically designated commissioned officer in the United States Navy or United States Marine Corps that specializes in airborne weapons and sensor systems. NFOs are not pilots (Naval Aviators), but they may perform many "co-pilot" functions, depending on the type of aircraft. She flew aboard the E-2C Hawkeye with VAW-123 “Screwtops” out of Norfolk, Virginia. One of VAW-123’s (Early Warning) Hawkeye “Screwtops” is shown here aboard a carrier. She is, I believe, the largest and heaviest aircraft to fly off a carrier.

Christianson is one of 13 women who have been trained for submarine duty, four supply officers and nine submarine line officers. These women are in the process of being deployed to the
Ohio, Wyoming, Georgia and Maine. They first graduated from the Submarine Basic Officer Course in Groton, Connecticut. The Ohio and Maine are Trident submarines.

Each of the four subs has two crews, Blue and Gold. Each crew has about 154 people aboard. There are three women on each crew, two on their first assignments and a more experienced supply officer who serves as their mentor. The female supply officers, also new to submarines, provide advice, guidance and a link to the upper chain of command. The
Ohio has four women because fewer women dropped out of training than expected.

Ohio is a guided missile submarine delivered to the Navy in 1981 and was originally commissioned as a ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) in November 1981. She is the lead submarine of a series of 14 Ohio class submarines. Her home part is Bangor, Washington, making her part of the US Pacific Fleet.


She was designed to carry Trident C-4 missiles, a submarine launched ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead. This is a long-range, multiple warhead three-stage missile with a range of 4000 nm, a launch of one shown here.


However, a decision was made to convert the
Ohio to what is known as a SSGN, or guided missile destroyer, vice ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), largely as the result of the war on terrorism. The Ohio was the first to be converted. Her missiles are conventional, employing missiles such as the Tomahawk cruise missile shown here. She can carry up to 154 of them. She has 24 launch tubes, 15 of which are fitted for multiple Tomahawks.

She is also now outfitted to carry Navy SEALs and deploy them on clandestine missions for extended periods of time. The
Ohio class submarine was ideal for this because she is large submarine, 506 ft. in length, vice the fast attack boats which were used previously but were much smaller. The Ohio had to be designed inside to array all the equipment needed by the SEALs. Several of the launch tubes mentioned in the previous paragraph have been converted to deploy SEALs in submersible boats.

The submarine is a great vehicle for the SEALs because it is stealthy. The combined capabilities of the cruise missiles and SEALs make the
Ohio and the others so converted very lethal and powerful machines.