Roselle Woman Poised to Make Naval History

Article excerpt

Byline: Elisabeth Mistretta

Even though Laura Martindale is about to make history, the U.S. Navy midshipman is "just proud to serve,"

The 22-year-old from Roselle is among 11 women who graduated Friday from the U.S. Naval Academy and were selected to serve on a submarine. This marks the first time women are allowed to join a submarine crew since the Navy changed its policy this year.

The women join 127 men chosen from the academy this year for submarine duty. Historically, women were barred from joining sub crews due to "limited habitability and privacy on board," according to U.S. Navy Web archives. This is the latest landmark since the Navy's 1994 decision to let women serve on ships.

Martindale, an alumna of Lake Park High School, said she's received only positive feedback.

"There is, of course, going to be some resistance, but my male classmates in particular have been extremely supportive," she said. "This is just another step forward and it's only going to make the Navy better for it."

Martindale was quickly fascinated by submarines after enrolling in the academy's summer training program on the U.S.S. Miami. Midshipmen spent 24 hours on the vessel and Martindale discovered her calling.

"Immediately, I fell in love," she said. "It's not just because of the technical expertise required, but everyone is extremely excited about their jobs. I love the closeness of the community."

Midshipmen like Martindale who are selected for this elite post must excel in technical sciences and earn high academic ranks. Fluent in Russian, Martindale holds a bachelor's degree in science and studied physics, thermal dynamics, propulsion and chemistry at the Naval Academy. …