Jacksonville University's first female student earns submarine officer post


The first woman from the Jacksonville University Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp has earned a post as a submarine warfare officer.

Only men were allowed to serve on Navy submarines for years until female officers joined them in 2011. Another major change came in 2016 when enlisted women joined the crew of the USS Michigan in Bangor, Washington.

Misha Chalkley will join the elite circle of over 70 female officers who are serving currently in the submarine force, according to the Navy.

More women are signing up to join men in the traditionally male culture of submariners, including at Southeast Georgia's Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base where they are integrating the USS Florida.

Only 14 women from NROTC units across the nation were awarded positions in the submarine warfare program this year. The ones who make it all the way through will join just over 70 female officers who are serving currently in the submarine force, according to the Navy.

Misha Chalkley majors in math and physics as she knew it would help her in her nuclear program. She graduates in April and looks forward to a year of nuclear training, which will start once she's commissioned this spring.

According to Chalkley, Jacksonville Univsersity NROTC program has helped her grow as a person and accomplish more than she could have imagined when she first joined. 

The first six months will be intense instruction at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command near Charleston, S.C. From there, she will complete six more months of hands-on training at a Navy shore-based reactor training facility in either New York or Charleston.

After the first year, she will spend three months in New London, Conn., to complete the submarine officer basic course. When she passes that, it will finally be time for her to lead others when she's assigned as a division officer.

Chalkley’s brother and grandfather both served in the Navy and served as her inspiration.

Chalkley downplays her role as the first woman from the NROTC program at Jacksonville University to join the submarine force but goes on to say “don’t be afraid of setting lots of goals for yourself.”

As a goal oriented woman she is joining an elite club. Chalkley is a long time Jacksonville resident and has attended Hendricks Avenue Elementary, James Weldon Johnson middle school, Stanton College Prep and currently Jacksonville University.