Armed Forces News

Persian Gulf - July 2013: Engineman 3rd Class Alexander Wendell inserts a torch into a boiler during a manual boiler check aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50). Carter Hall was part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the US 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (Navy photo by MCS 3rd Class Sabrina Fine) 

Chief Machinist’s Mate (SW/AW) Mayra Hudgens is the Navy’s first female certified steam generating plant inspector (SGPI). Hudgens, who works at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center at Norfolk, Virginia, earned the distinction after completing the certification course. In doing so, she fulfilled a career-long wish.

“When I was aboard USS Boxer (LHD-4) and as an E-5, this was a goal I set for myself. Everyone there was telling me there had never been a female boiler inspector in the Navy,” Hudgens said. “I remember saying, ‘One day, I’m going to be the first.”

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Hudgens joins a rather exclusive club. The Navy has more than 6,000 sailors holding the machinist’s mate rating. Of that number, roughly 25 hold boiler-inspector certifications. She hopes younger female sailors will be encouraged by her example.

“There are not a lot of female machinist’s mates, especially in propulsion. My hope is that by me achieving this it will push more female machinist’s mates to set their goals high and realize they could be doing the same thing the guys are doing, if they work hard and don’t give up.”