Sarah West from Grimsby joined the Royal Navy back in 1995, when she says the Navy was the only service training its male and female personnel together. She realised straight away that her gender was not going to hold her back.
She has become the first woman to command a frontline warship in the Navy's 500 year history.
Commander West will be working on HMS Portland, which is currently undergoing a £20 million refit in Fife. It was first commissioned in 2001 and is being modernised. She will be in charge of a company of 185 staff.
She says of her appointment:
– Commander Sarah West
Hopefully for males and females it does demonstrate that you can do anything in the Navy - it's a challenging and rewarding career which promotes on merit