By Mike Mount
Two of the first women to be chosen by the U.S. Navy to serve on submarines have had their duties reassigned and are being investigated for fraud, according to U.S. Navy officials.
U.S. Navy investigators are looking at whether the two women committed fraud by claiming excessive expenses while they trained for their submarine duty, according to Cmdr. Monica Rousselow, a spokesman for the Navy's submarine forces. The investigation began in February.
While details of the case and the officers names are not being released because the investigation is ongoing, a U.S. Navy official with knowledge of the matter said the two women are suspected of misrepresenting information about leases in their travel documents so their reimbursement pay was higher than it should have been.
Originally, a third female officer was being investigated but she was cleared of wrongdoing three weeks ago, Rousselow said.
Both officers have been temporarily reassigned to duties at the U.S. Naval submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia, until the investigation is over, according to Rousselow.
The three officers were among a group of 24 women who were the first to be assigned to U.S. submarines in 2010 after a high-profile change of policy by the Navy that reversed the ban on women being part of the "silent service."
After being selected, the women went through an intensive 15-month submarine officer training program, which includes nuclear power school, submarine training and the Submarine Officer Basic Course.
The first of the 24 started their assignments on submarines in November and December of last year, Rousselow said.