Wolverhampton Royal Navy officer first woman in top nuclear role
A Royal Navy officer from Wolverhampton has been appointed the first female commanding officer of a squadron safeguarding Britain's nuclear fleet.
Lieutenant Commander Carla Higgins, 30, joined the Royal Navy in 2005 and previously served with Type 45 destroyers HMS Dragon and Diamond, as well as Her Majesty's Ships Campbeltown, Kent and Mersey.
In July last year she moved to the Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron, the small, but elite, group of vessels charged with protecting high-value shipping on the Clyde.
For 12 months Carla, originally from Codsall and now living in Portsmouth, commanded HMS Raider, a P2000 Patrol Boat, carrying out vital force protection duties.
On July 2, she took over the top spot from Lieutenant Commander Edward Munns, making her the first female officer to become Squadron Commander since it was formed in 2010.
She said: "Both my grandfathers were in the Royal Navy and I imagine it was this that originally sparked my interest.
"Joining was a little daunting to begin with but really exciting as it was my first time away from home for any length of time.
"I joined straight up from being a fitness instructor and lifeguard.
"When I realised that the ultimate job would be to command my own warship, I started to aim towards it and realised I could achieve it if I really wanted to.
"There have been challenges along the way but the Navy has made me who I am now.
"Initially I never thought it would even be possible to command a Squadron but I am delighted to take on this role.
"I have no doubt that the job will be a challenging one, but the vessels and ship's companies are first class and I know that they will continue to be invaluable assets to HM Naval Base Clyde."
Carla, whose mother, Susan Eddowes, still lives in the Fordhouses area of Wolverhampton, has operated in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, North Sea and Arctic Circle during her career.
She has been lucky enough to visit around 15 different countries, from Iceland and Norway to South Africa and the USA, where she conducted training alongside the US Coast Guard.
She said: "My mother is immensely proud and tells me so all the time.
"She tells all her customers what I am up to and how excited she is when she is coming to visit the ship."
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