HONOLULU, HI — Lt. Melanie Martins, a supply officer aboard the USS Ohio, has become one of the first Filipinas to earn a submarine warfare insignia.
“It feels great because back in the day, we as Filipinos, we were only allowed to be cooks on ships. So I just like, feel good because now we’re allowed to do anything.”
The submarine warfare insignia, also known as ‘dolphins,’ is worn by all qualified submariners and are acknowledged as part of an elite community. The pin symbolizes one’s experience, competency and ability to assume command in an emergency.
While it usually takes a person about a year to earn the submarine warfare specialist pin, it took Martins only nine months.
“When I volunteered to go submarines, everybody’s talking about this qualification. They always tell me, oh, it’s hard to get. You’re gonna go through these, all these stuff. And it’s very, very hard to get.”
Martins confessed that earning her ‘dolphins’ was difficult but she was not alone in her journey as she received support from colleagues throughout the whole process.
She shared that whenever she would get discouraged, she would remember the people who pushed her to succeed.
“Whatever keeps you going, you have to do… so it keeps you motivated. Mine is my family and my, my little girl.”
Martins shared that she is the only Filipino aboard her guided-missile submarine and that she would cook Filipino dishes for her fellow submariners whom she describes having a brotherhood with — as they navigate the depths of the seas together.