Joyce Pascoe made history in January 1966, when she and fellow oceanographer Mary Middleton set sail on the U.S.N. Lynch, a Navy vessel used for oceanographic research. The two women joined other oceanographers and scientists for an expedition up the Canadian coast.
Their mission was to run tests at eight different stations—taking water samples, testing temperatures, collecting plankton. They were the first women assigned to sea duty in the 135-year history of the Navy Oceanographic Office.
According to an April 1966 profile of Middleton in Ebony magazine, “The two also stood bathymetric watches and performed needed calibrations necessary to reduce field data to meaningful terms.” In the same article, T. K. Treadwell, the Navy’s deputy commander of oceanography, said: “We have some good women scientists. Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing an entire ship’s scientific complement staffed by women.”
Unfortunately, fierce storms forced the Lynch and its crew to abandon some of the expedition’s planned stops, and after only 19 days Pascoe and Middleton’s historic journey came to an end. But, reported Ebony, “The two landlubbers had more than proved their mettle.”