This weekend we reached an important milestone in United States submarine history – the centennial of the first submarines to be assigned homeport in Groton and the beginning of what would become Naval Submarine Base New London and the Naval Submarine School. Groton, known to many as “The Submarine Capital of the World,” holds a special place in the heart of U.S. submariners, as it is the professional birthplace of our submarine officers and most of the submarine crews.
For years, Naval Submarine Base New London maintained its status as the first and only submarine base in the United States, and today about one-quarter of our sub fleet still call it “home.” It’s also where nearly one-third of all U.S. submarines were built, starting with USS Holland VI in 1900. Furthermore, since the dawn of nuclear-powered submarines with the building of USS Nautilus in 1954, half of our nuclear powered submarines were built in Groton. Now home to the Undersea Warfighting Development Center, Submarine Squadron Four, Submarine Development Squadron Twelve, 19 of the world’s best submarines, and several supporting commands, Connecticut’s support of the Navy is as strong as ever.
Yesterday [Oct. 18], in particular, is of historic importance. The U.S. Navy received 86 acres of land along the eastern shore of the Thames River in 1868 but it was not until 1915 that the installation, then a Navy Yard, became home to the Submarine Force. On October 18, 1915, 100 years ago this weekend, submarines G-1, G-2 and G-4 arrived at the Navy Yard in Groton under the care of the tender USS Ozark. Just eight months later in June 1916, the Navy Yard changed forever when Commander Yeates Stirling assumed command of the newly designated Submarine Base, the newly established Submarine School and the New London Submarine Flotilla.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy recently designated October 2015 through October 2016 as a year-long observance of “Connecticut’s Submarine Century,” celebrating 100 years of submarine activity in Connecticut. I am proud of our historic ties to Connecticut and the constant support we receive from its residents. Because of that support, our families feel welcomed in their communities, allowing our submariners to focus on the serious nature of their work and maintaining undersea superiority.
Congratulations to Groton and the state for “Connecticut’s Submarine Century!”
Editor’s note: This blog was originially published Oct. 19 on Commander, Submarine Forces’ blog.