Curator’s Corner- First Female Civil Engineer Diving Officer

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Diving Officer Pins, belong to the first female CEC Diving Officer, Captain (Diann) Karin Lynn [U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Collection]

In celebration of women’s history month, we will kick off March by showcasing the courageous women who have joined the ranks of the Seabees and the Civil Engineer Corps.

Historically, women were discouraged from becoming Navy divers; it was exclusively reserved for men for over one hundred years. The diving gear was designed with men in mind and not compatible for women divers. Through determination, persistence, and a love of diving, many early pioneers proved themselves in a male-dominated world to become valued and respected members of the diving community.

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Diving Officer Pins, belong to the first female CEC Diving Officer, Captain (Diann) Karin Lynn [U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Collection]

One of these women is Captain (Diann) Karin Lynn, the first Civil Engineer Corps female diving officer. During an interview with the newsletter Bee in the Know she was quoted saying, “A major factor in my career decision was the respect I always had for my dad and a desire to emulate him. I always knew in the back of my mind that a Navy career was what I wanted.”

She gained her master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia and joined the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps in 1977. Captain Lynn obtained her second master’s degree in Ocean Engineering from the University of Hawai`i and qualified as a Basic Diving Officer and Ship Salvage Officer in 1983. She went on to specialize in diving and underwater systems. From 1997 to 2001, Captain Lynn was the Director of the Naval Ocean Facilities Program where she managed 250 professional military divers and ocean engineers. Captain Lynn retired from a 30-year career in civil and ocean engineering for the Navy in 2007.

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Naval Ocean Facilities Program Mission: To serve as the U.S. Navy’s facilities expert for engineering, maintaining and installing ocean littoral and underwater systems, and for design and certification of shore based hyperbaric facilities. [Courtesy of Naval Facilities Engineering Command]

The diving pins, also called diving badges, shown here belonged to Captain Karin Lynn. They are awarded to servicemen and women who qualify as divers. These two gold badges are the Navy diving officer insignia. The diving patch was created during WWII and became a breast insignia in the late 1960s. The large badge was worn over the left breast pocket above ribbons and metals. The smaller badge is a miniature version and worn on formal and dinner dress jackets on the left above miniature medals.

Come visit the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum today, Tuesday March 1, 2016, between 2-4pm and meet the curator and see Seabee artifacts showcased in Curator’s Corner!

Robyn profile picMeet the Curator: Robyn King is pursuing her master’s degree in Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management through Johns Hopkins University.  She earned her Bachelors in History and Anthropology from the State University of New York at Oneonta.  She has experience working at state museums, historic sites, the National Park Service, and most recently the Navy.  She is an expert in collection management, and has worked closely with both natural and cultural collections.  Robyn loves all museums and sharing her love of history.  When she is not working, she is volunteering her time with the National Peace Corps Association, as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from West Africa.

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