Looking Back at Historical Women

March is Women’s History month and for the 50th Anniversary edition of the Log, we are looking back on prominent women who made it into our pages.

CALIFORNIA一 Women’s history month began as a single week in 1982 and progressed into a full month after a petition in 1987 from the National Women’s History Project convinced Congress to pass resolutions requesting that the President proclaim the month of March as Women’s History Month. After a series of additional resolutions from Congress between 1988 and 1994, the President of the United States began to issue an annual proclamation to designate March as National Women’s History Month, according to the Women’s History Month website. Journalism allows reporters to become the flies on the wall and recorders of history, in this segment we are reliving historical moments created by women that the Log has covered in the past 50 years.

In 1978, a 203-year tradition of exclusively male crews on naval vessels was broken when eight women joined the ranks of sailors on five different sea-going vessels. The headline made the front page of the Log for the November issue. The eight women, all ensigns, reported for sea duty on Nov. 1, 1978, until that moment women had only served on hospital ships and on transports vessels. Two of the five vessels, the USS Dixon, a submarine, and the USS Norton Sound, a seaplane tender, were homeported here in Southern California. The three sailors that reported for duty on the West Coast were Ensign Bobbie McIntyre, Ensign Macushla McCormick aboard the USS Dixon, and Ensign Charlene Albright aboard the USS Norton Sound. McIntyre served as the operations officer and assistant navigator while McCormick served as the weapons quality assurance officer.

Fast forward to 1983 and staff writer Lucy McBride covered the first Women’s Offshore Clinic sponsored by the United States Yacht Racing Union. The clinic was hosted at the San Diego Yacht Club and was attended by 70 women from all over the U.S. The clinic was directed by the 1982 National Sailboard Champion Anne Gardner. Gardner went on to compete in the 1984 Olympic Sailing Team and took a silver medal for boardsailing and now holds five world titles and 17 national and international titles, according to the TeamUSA 11 website. The same year a Point Loma woman Tami Lee Oldham survived 41 days at sea in a battered yacht after her partner was swept overboard in 110-knot winds and 35-foot waves. Oldham and her fiancé Richard Sharp met, fell in love, and took off to sail around the world aboard the Hazaña when they were caught in a storm and Sharp was swept overboard. Oldham survived 41 days at sea alone before being rescued by a Japanese research vessel. Oldham turned her story into a book in 2002, Red Sky at Morning, and the book was turned into a movie titled Adrift with Shailene Woodley in 2018.

In 1992, Assemblymember Doris Allen was honored for her conservation work towards the gill net ban by the International Game Fish Association. Allen led the charge in the 90s gathering 600,000 signatures to put Proposition 132 on the 1990 November ballot. The proposition established the Marine Protection Zone within three miles of the coast of Southern California; Prohibited the use of gill and trammel nets beginning in Jan. 1994; Required additional permit use for gill and trammel nets between Jan. 1991 and Dec. 1993; Required the purchase of a $3 marine protection stamp for fishermen within the protection zone; Established a permit fee and $3 sportfishing marine protection stamp fee to provide compensation for fishermen for loss of permits after Jan. 1994; And directed the Fish and Game Commission to establish four new ocean water ecological reserves for marine research, according to Ballotpedia. Allen served in the California Assembly from 1982 to 1995 and was the first woman to be elected as the Speaker in 1995 according to the Los Angeles Times. Her work on the gill net ban has a bit of a legacy as the ban on drift-gill nets was passed and is set to be enacted in California by 2023.

In 2016, Valerie Termini was hired as the first female Executive Director for the Fish and Game Commission. Termini succeeded Sonke Mastrup whose role came to an end in Dec. 2015. Previously serving as the fisheries policy advisor and interim executive director of the California Ocean Protection Council, Termini began her role on May 16, 2016, and held the role until 2019 when Governor Gavin Newsom appointed her chief deputy director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The Log is proud to have enshrined the accomplishments of these women in its pages over the past 50 years and continues to cover women making history in sailing, fishing, and boating in Southern California to this day.

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