New shipyard commander makes history as first woman to hold the job in the country

Capt. Dianna Wolfson was formerly the operations officer at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia

The new commander of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Capt. Dianna Wolfson, made history Wednesday, becoming the first woman to command any of the Naval shipyards in the country.

Wolfson relieved Capt. Howard Markle and will become the 50th commander of PSNS. Markle acted as commander since 2015 and will now leave for Washington D.C. to serve on the executive staff for Vice Adm. Thomas Moore, who oversees the four Navy shipyards in the U.S. The historic achievement was observed by thousands in PSNS Building 460 at the east end of the shipyard, near the Bremerton ferry terminal.

The new commander was formerly the operations officer at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia and has served aboard the USS George Washington and the USS Carl Vinson.

“I look forward to bringing value and contributing to this high-performing Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility team,” Wolfson said. “I’ve had many great opportunities so far in my naval career, but the greatest opportunity of all is the one before me at this very moment.”

Wolfson praised Markle for the job he has done the last four years.

“It’s clear that you’re leaving a legacy and it’s an honor to follow in your footsteps.”

Markle deflected his praise towards to the workforce that kept the well-oiled machine of PSNS running day in and day out.

“Others seek to understand your success,” he said. “It is simple; roll up your sleeves, hydrate yourself, prepare to get your hands dirty and join us on the waterfront where great people make great things happen with the enduring support of the other local commands, our regional private sector partners, our surrounding communities and our local, state and federal governments.”

The shipyard had other good news Wednesday, receiving the meritorious unit commendation from the Navy, which is one of the highest honors in the branch and the fifth one received by PSNS since it was established in 1891.

“I will sleep well tonight knowing that the incredible men and women of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Trident Refit Facility and Northwest Regional Maintenance Center have the watch,” Markle said. “You should be incredibly proud of your many accomplishments; I am, and there are many people in line behind me who feel the same way. Thanks for all you do.”

Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at

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