By Min Joo
"Fifteen minutes left until the official start of work,"an announcement exactly at 7:45 a.m. spreads throughout the Naval Operations Command located at Jinhae, Gyeongnam Province. Cho Seung-yeon (Political Science & Diplomacy, '01) who is currently a Lieutenant, Junior Grade in the Navy, a rank given after serving as an Ensign for a year, gets ready for her day in the Information Department as the announcement once again reminds the navy officers that there are only five minutes before the working hour starts.
"Punctuality and organization is very important here in the Naval Operations Command, as we deal with boarding and departure of ships which must be exactly ready and set on time,"said Cho. Cho possessed an interest in military life in the past, but the opportunities that the Navy provides, such as chances to go abroad through financial aid provided by the government and the system organized to lead a healthy and orderly life set her mind to apply for the Navy as an officer.
"My dream is to one day become a person that is essential in the naval affairs and diplomacy. Currently, as part of the Information Department, I collect information accumulated by the wet officers who are officers that actually board the ship. Then, I evaluate, analyze, and transmit information from an integrated data base to meet the information requirements of the Navy,"said Cho. The department is divided into four parts; information about the weather, sea, war, and security.
Although it is a rare case for a female to apply and dream to make a living as a navy officer, Cho feels a sense of pride and finds value in what she does. In comparison to ordinary companies, as the Navy puts importance in the dignity and competence of commissioned officers, female officers cannot be undermined just because they are women. ?lthough there are minor inconveniences such as lack of facilities for women, once the facility is constructed to suit women's needs, it is of high quality and technology,"said Cho, emphasizing the fact that discrimination between males and females rarely occurs in the Navy.
People tend to imagine life as a military officer to be difficult and rigorous in an isolated part of the country. However, according to Cho that is actually not the case. "Becoming a navy officer is an experience to develop oneself into a commander. Rather than rigorous work that people usually relate with the military and the navy, a commissioned officer is usually said to be the brain of the navy. It is the ranks under the commissioned officers that do work which require physical strength. Physical training for commissioned officers is only required during the first month to turn a civilian into a soldier."
Cho also said that the conditions and atmosphere of the Navy is improving. "I believe investing your living as a navy officer or even just experiencing three years in the Navy as a female is worthwhile. The chances to widen your eyes to the broader world of the military life, and various types of people that you get to meet will all be helpful as you live your life."The Naval Operations Command recruits new officers every year and a certain number is set for female officers through the quota system. One will certainly be able to check for oneself that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. "Anyone who is willing to dedicate one's life as a person that is essential for our nation's security and become one that our nation cannot do without is welcome to apply for a position. I am looking forward to seeing more alumnae of Ewha who are interested in this field to apply and join in this exceptional experience as a navy officer,"said Cho.