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Throughout the delayed entry program (DEP), recruiters hold regular meetings to prepare Future Sailors for boot camp and eventually the Fleet. These meetings sometimes focus on specific fields such as special warfare and nuclear engineering. After transferring from Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Philadelphia, Navy Counselor 1st Class Priscilla Haughey noticed that despite specialized meetings being common enough, she had not yet heard of DEP meetings for females entering the Navy.


Now assigned to NRD Dallas, Haughey holds quarterly meetings designed specifically to address the concerns of and instruct the female Future Sailors.


“In NRD Philly, we would have female Sailors get together and go to a national women’s museum, so that was common, but nothing for Future Sailors,” said Haughey. “Maybe it’s because the Future Sailors were never invited, but I feel like it should be no different.”


Almost immediately after her transfer to NRD Dallas in Jan. 2015, Haughey organized and implemented the meetings covering a wide spectrum of topics related to female Sailors, ranging from grooming standards, to fraternization and sexual assault. While both her male and female Future Sailors receive equal training on these topics during weekly DEP meetings, she feels it’s important to have separate talks to give the Future Sailors a time where they feel comfortable discussing topics they may not feel comfortable bringing up around their male counterparts. As a result, Haughey has noticed a positive trend in retention rates of the Sailors she ships to boot camp.


“These actually have reduced our female attrition and I believe it builds camaraderie among the females in the military,” said Haughey. “The males always seem to outnumber the females in the military and I want to change that.”


Haughey’s goal of retaining more females through boot camp and into the Fleet is also shared by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michelle Howard, who challenged recruiters to increase active duty females in the Navy to 25 percent of the force by 2025. As of March 2015, females only made up 15 percent of the Navy’s active duty force.


Lt. Cmdr. Amy Simek, operations officer for NRD Dallas, spoke at Haughey’s first meeting of 2016.


“A majority of our recruiters, DEP pool and our Navy are male and sometimes females don’t feel comfortable asking questions about birth control or having children later in their careers with a male recruiter,” said Simek.

“I think when you offer them the opportunity to speak to another female, you ease a lot of anxiety that if not dealt with here can surface at boot camp which ultimately leads to an attrite.”


Hope Blankenship, one of Haughey’s future Sailors, who only attended one meeting since entering DEP in January, says the meeting opened her eyes to things she had not considered prior to beginning her enlistment and also helped many in her group.


“I think it’s helpful for them to know we’re not alone,” said Blankenship. “We take a lot of pride that there are so many female leaders in the military and that even our group is getting more females.”


While Haughey is pleased with the impact her meetings have had on women entering the Navy from Dallas, she has bigger hopes for the future of the program and the Navy.


“I hope to see this become a standard for Navy recruiting,” said Haughey. “If we can put more talented and motivated women into the Navy like we have here, I don’t see a reason for this not to spread.”
For more information on NRD Dallas, visit: http://www.cnrc.navy.mil/dallas/

 



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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)