50TH ANNIVERSARY OF Z-GRAM 116, EQUAL RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN IN THE NAVY:
R 261205Z JUL 22 MID200080056205U
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//DNS//
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC//DNS//
PASS TO OFFICE CODES:
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC//DNS//
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SUBJ/50TH ANNIVERSARY OF Z-GRAM 116, EQUAL RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN
IN THE NAVY//
RMKS/1. August 7, 2022 marks the 50th year anniversary of the Z-gram 116, an
all-Navy message from then-Chief of Naval Operations ADM Elmo Zumwalt Jr.,
that declared the Navy would now be guided by truly equitable standards,
marking a distinct step forward in breaking existing barriers to women in the
2. Z-gram 116 announced the establishment of a task force to review laws,
policies, and regulations necessary to eliminate inequities and open
opportunities for women in the Navy. It directed the Navy take nine concrete
steps to increase equity and enjoined "all commanding
officers and others in position of authority" to "ensure that women are
accorded full trust and responsibility to function in their assigned
position" and "be guided by standards of duty, performance and discipline
which are truly equitable."
3. CNO Zumwalt embraced the idea of lifting restrictions placed on women in
the Navy. "I believe we can do far more than we have in the past in according
women equal opportunity to contribute their extensive talents and to achieve
full professional status," he wrote in Z-gram 116. He understood that the end
of conscription and resulting shift to an all-volunteer force required
significant shifts in policy and Navy culture. "We must be in a position to
utilize women's talents," he wrote, "to help us achieve the size Navy we need
under an all-volunteer force environment."
4. Of the nine concrete steps, CNO Zumwalt first directed the limited entry
of women into all ratings. Next, he lifted restrictions of women in the
Chaplain and Medical Staff Corps communities, opened Midshipman opportunities
at all NJROTC campuses, Joint Colleges, and offered women various paths to
Flag rank. Finally, to align with pending legislation and Navy regulations,
he directed that women be afforded the opportunity to command ashore and to
serve aboard ships at sea.
5. The Navy counted approximately 9,000 women in its 1972 population, but the
restrictions of 10 USC 6015, precluding women from serving in ships owing to
what was commonly known as the "Combat Exclusion Rule." Originally part of
the Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948, the statute stated "women
may not be assigned to duty in vessels or aircraft engaged in combat
missions." This rule limited the types of jobs available to women and thus
restricted their opportunities to advance. Z-Gram 116 worked around 10 USC
6015 by establishing a pilot program aboard hospital ship USS SANCTUARY (AH
17), enabling women to fill a variety of shipboard roles from which they had
previously been excluded. The first women assigned to SANCTUARY were LTJG Ann
Kerr and PN3 (Personnelman) Peggy Sue Griffith. They were joined later by 53
other enlisted women and 14 more officers. After a Federal judge ruled the
combat exclusion rule was unconstitutional in 1978, the success of the
SANCTUARY program influenced Congress' modification of 10 USC 6015, allowing
women to serve in all Navy auxiliary ships. The later experience of women
during the First Gulf War in 1991 led to the law's ultimate repeal in 1993,
followed directly by the first cadre of women to report aboard aircraft
carrier USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) in 1994.
6. Z-gram 116 was a significant step forward for women in the Navy. By
declaring the Navy would now be guided by truly equitable standards, CNO
Zumwalt emphasized the principle of equality and inclusion that remains a
core component of our Navy today. Over the past 50 years, generations of
women have served in the Navy with honor, courage, and commitment.
Their skills, professionalism, and pride made the Navy a better force then
and continue to do so today. As I look at the nearly 70,000 women in our
Navy, I see an incredible force of professionals who will help guide us
through the challenges that lie ahead.
7. Mission. Recognize the impact Z-Gram 116 had on equal rights and
opportunities for women in the Navy and the progress the Navy has made since
its release in 1972.
8. Commander's Intent.
a. Purpose. Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Z-Gram 116 throughout
the Navy on 7 August 2022.
b. Method. Command-centric execution of a coordinated Navy-wide Z-Gram
(1) Use available Navy outreach assets to maximum extent possible.
(2) Be guided by, and supportive of, the Navy's strategic messaging.
c. End State: The Z-Gram 116 anniversary commemoration becomes a
standard community outreach and Navy pride event for all Sailors, past and
a. Suggested online resources for this commemoration:
(1) Z-gram 116:
(2) CNO - Women in the Navy: https://www.navy.mil/Women-in-the-Navy/
(3) CNO - WIN Book: https://media.defense.gov/2022/Mar/22/2002961213/-1/-
(4) NHHC Women in Combat:
b. Public Affairs Guidance: This is an active public affairs posture
10. Point of contact. NHHC POC is James Slater, email@example.com;
NHHC main number: (202) 433-1426. Released by Mr. Andrew S. Haeuptle,
Director, Navy Staff.//