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Seoul, June 26 – The South Korean Navy on Monday said it has selected seven more sailors as part of the nation’s first female group to join the submarine crew amid a policy effort to widen women’s military roles.
The Navy recently picked the seven noncommissioned officers in addition to the two female commissioned officers selected last month, as it is preparing to have them start working aboard two 3000-ton submarines, ROKS Dosan Ahn Chang-ho and ROKS Ahn Mu, next year.
The opening of the male-dominated military specialty to female service members came amid growing concerns that the country could face troop shortages that could be caused by its low birthrate.
The female sailors are to receive training at an education unit of the Submarine Force Command before they undertake submarine duty.
Last year, the Navy announced a staffing policy change to allow female service members to join the submarine crew — a decision facilitated by its acquisition of a larger-size submarine.
Female sailors had not been allowed to serve on submarines as relatively small vessels were not equipped with basic facilities to enable their service. But the acquisition of the mid-class 3,000-ton vessel has paved the way for their submarine duty.