Yes, we can

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Hospitalman Briana Bartholomew belts out a “hooyah!” after completing several pushups with Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SS/SW) Rick West in San Diego March 16 at the Sea Service Leadership Association annual women’s symposium.//Photo by MC1 Elena Pence

In a crowd of more than 1,300, Hospitalman Briana Bartholomew answered a challenge from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SS/SW) Rick West and knocked out several pushups on the stage at the Sea Service Leadership Association Women’s Symposium before she gave a loud “hooyah.”

“OK, now I’m ready for some questions,” West told the group of mostly female service members March 16.

The MCPON earlier highlighted the advancements that military women have made since he joined the Navy in 1981 and joined the submarine force. “We have come a long, long way,” he said, noting that female sailors swept the coveted Sailor of the Year awards last year, a first. He’s eager to see the arrival of women in the submarine community, adding, “it’s about damn time.” But enlisted sailors may have to wait a bit longer. “We are trying to get this phased in,” he said. “I just don’t know when or where.”

Women in the Navy today number about 63,000 and are slowly making process into the senior ranks, with 60 female command master chiefs and senior enlisted women representing 10 percent of the MCPON’s leadership mess. But, West said, “we still have a lot of work to do.”

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