April 22 (UPI) -- A Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center sailor recently became the first woman certified as a Steam Generating Plant Inspector for the U.S. Navy, the service announced Thursday.
Marya Hudgens, a chief machinist's mate assigned to the MARMC Engineering Department's Steam and Propulsion Branch, completed the SGPI certification course after a lengthy process including screenings, shipboard qualifications and courses of knowledge.
"When I was aboard USS Boxer as an E-5, this was a goal I set for myself," Hudgens said in a press release issued by the branch. "Everyone was telling me there had never been a female boiler inspector in the Navy. I remember saying, 'One day I'm going to be the first.'"
According to the Navy, there are more than 6,000 machinist mates in the service, but only about 25 certified SGPIs.
SGPIs perform specialized tasks like inspecting material condition, monitoring general readiness, diagnosing improper operating procedures and detailing repairs of all marine main propulsion plant boilers and steam catapult accumulators.
According to Senior Chief Machinist's Mate Michael Barton, who is also assigned to the Steam and Propulsion Branch, the training program begins early in a sailor's career.
Sailors who show potential and interest are added to a list, which is whittled down before they make it to the final certification course.
Hudgens, a 15-year veteran of the service, said she hopes her accomplishments will influence others to aim high.
"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 that the guys are doing, if they work hard and don't give up," Hudgen said.