Female lieutenant leads combat operations center in corvette

Female lieutenant leads combat operations center in corvette

Female lieutenant leads combat operations center in corvette

The combat operations center of the TCG Heybeliada, the lead ship of the Ada-class ASW corvettes of the Turkish Navy, is being led by the warship’s only female marine officer, Lieutenant İrem Köksal.

“Man or woman… does not matter who officiates. Fulfilling the duty is more important,” Köksal told İhlas News Agency on Dec. 22.

In an interview she gave at the TCG Heybeliada, which is anchored at the Foça Port in the western province of İzmir, she stressed on the importance of the combat operations center in a corvette.

Her daily routine is “to perform administrative affairs and accounting,” and “to pursue the military training conducted in the ship.”

However, the center turns into a heart of the warship in case of a “military tension or war.”

“In such cases, the commander leads the ship and gives the crucial decisions from the combat operations center,” she said and added: “That’s why, this center is very important.”

TCG Heybeliada is named after the Heybeliada Island, one of the Princes’ Islands of Istanbul where the Turkish Naval High School is located. Having laid down in 2007, launched in 2008 and commissioned in 2011, TCG Heybeliada received the moniker the “Ghost of the Seas.”

“Military and naval services are both tough jobs. You have to be prepared for everything in any condition. You have to adopt a dynamic life,” she said proudly while telling of her naval life.

Joining the Naval High School in 2005 and graduating as a sub-lieutenant in 2009, Köksal noted, “I was raised with
naval traditions. After graduations, I served at various ships and corvettes at different posts.”

When asked about her love for the sea, Köksal highlighted that the “sea is a teacher.”

“The sea teaches us how to manage and unite with nature.”

So, spending most of her days at the sea is a “part of the job.”

“We spend most of the year away from our families and houses. Apart from being brothers in arms, we become family members with all the crew on board.”

TCG Heybeliada, which is 99.56 meters in length and 14.4 meters in beam, has a displacement of 2,300 long tons. Having a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 kilometers) at 15 knots, she has an endurance of 21 days with logistic support and 10 days while operating autonomously.

According to official data, she has a crew of 93, with space for up to 106. The ship is armed with a 76-milimeter OTO Melara gun, two ASELSAN STAMP 12.7-milimeter guns, eight Harpoon missiles, 21 Rolling Airframe missiles and two 324-milimeter Mark 32 triple launchers for Mark 46 torpedoes.