Some of the Navy's first female submariners were secretly videotaped while undressing and showering on board the USS Wyoming, a ballistic missile submarine, service officials confirmed Wednesday.
Navy officials are investigating a 24-year old male sailor who is accused of making and distributing the videos, according to a Nov. 14 incident report circulated among the service's senior leaders, according to Navy Times, which first reported the story.
The male sailor has only been identified as a second class petty officer, according to Navy Times.
The USS Wyoming, in service since 1996, is an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine home ported at Kings Bay, Georgia. An Ohio-class submarine has about 140 enlisted sailors and approximately 15 officers. The Wyoming was one of the first submarines to bring women on board in 2011, adding female supply officers to the crew.
The videos, recorded over a one year period, are believed to show at least three female officers while showering or undressing, according to a source who has spoken to one of the alleged victims, Navy Times reported.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, is investigating the incidents in question, according to the incident report, Navy officials said.
"The Navy is aware of an allegation of alleged criminal activity onboard USS Wyoming home ported at Kings Bay. The Navy and NCIS are investigating the matter, and unfortunately further details are not available at this time due to the ongoing investigation. If the allegations prove to be factual, the Navy will ensure individuals involved are held accountable for their actions," said Lt. Leslie Hubbell, a spokeswoman for Submarine Group Ten, in a written statement.
The report of the investigation comes to light a day before the Pentagon has planned to release the annual sexual assault report.
Navy women began submarine training about four years ago and the service has been preparing to further integrate them on Virginia-class attack submarines. In addition, the Navy has been preparing to integrate enlisted women into submarine ranks as well.
One Navy official who did not wish to be identified expressed profound disappointment at the news.
"Incidents like this show we are not where we want to be. This is the stuff we need to flush out to make sure it doesn't happen again," the Navy official told Military.com.
A Navy submarine officer, who asked for his name not be published, said he was afraid something like this might occur.
"It sucks. It was bound to happen," he told Military.com.
-- Kris Osborn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org