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First female ‘chief of boat’ named in U.S. Navy history

U.S. Navy Master Chief Information Systems Technician Angela Koogler poses for an environmental portrait aboard the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Louisiana (SSBN 743). Koogler is the Navy’s first female chief of the boat. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian G. Reynolds)
September 02, 2022

A Kettering native has been named the first female “chief of the boat” — or highest ranking enlisted person serving on a U.S. submarine — in the history of the U.S. Navy.

The appointment is historic. Women weren’t always permitted to serve with male counterparts in the submarine force. It wasn’t until 2011 that female officers began serving aboard Navy submarines, the Navy said. And female enlisted sailors did not follow until 2016.

“There have been challenges,” Master Chief Information Systems Technician Angela Koogler said in a statement from the Navy announcing her appointment. “But you just have to keep going. There are going to be walls you have to knock down, but you can’t let them stop you.”

Koogler, who comes from Kettering, learned last year that she had been selected to serve aboard a submarine as the Navy’s first female chief of the boat.

She joined the crew of the USS Louisiana submarine Aug. 22. The chief of the boat is an enlisted Sailor who serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the commanding officer and executive officer of a Navy submarine.

Koogler credits her motivation and drive for success to her mother, who worked for 33 years in civil service at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“I’ve always kind of been a go-getter and hard charger,” Koogler said. “My mom was like that. She was a hard worker and it was just instilled in me as a child. She worked as a civil servant for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base my whole life, and being around the military with her all the time kind of put me in that direction.”

Koogler’s plan was always to join the military after high school, until an injury sidelined her for a few years, the Navy said.

“I was going to join right out of high school, but I tore everything in my ankle my senior year playing soccer,” said Koogler. “So, I went off to college, was working and went back in when I was 23 to see what I could do.”

Koogler joined the Navy in July 2002.

“Once I joined, I knew I found my career, and my Navy family and friends that I would have forever,” she said. “I have continued to serve over the years because it is a good fit for me and I love it.”

“Every time I was up for orders, I was always looking for something different and challenging,” she said. “Then when it was announced that enlisted women could apply for submarines, with some encouragement from my Sailors, I went ahead and applied.”


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