|Naval Submarine Base New London|
|Controlled by||United States Navy|
Naval Submarine Base New London is the United States Navy's primary East Coast submarine base, also known as the "Home of the Submarine Force". It is located in Groton, Connecticut directly across the Thames River from its namesake city of New London.
In 1868, the State of Connecticut gave the Navy 112 acres (0.45 km2) of land along the Thames River in Groton to build a Naval Station. Due to a lack of federal funding, it was not until 1872 that two brick buildings and a T-shaped pier were constructed and officially declared a Navy Yard. In 1898, Congress approved a coaling station to be built at the Yard for refueling small naval ships traveling through the waters of New England. The Navy Yard was first used for laying up inactive ships. The Congressional appropriations were small and the Navy had little need for the yard, which was closed from 1898 to 1900 and its personnel reassigned. By 1912, oil replaced coal in warships and again the Yard was scheduled for closure and the land relinquished by the Navy.
The Navy Yard was spared permanent closure in 1912 by an impassioned plea from Congressman Edwin W. Higgins of Norwich, who was worried about the loss of Federal spending in the region. On 13 October 1915, the monitor Ozark, a submarine tender, and four submarines arrived in Groton. Additional submarines and support craft arrived the following year, and the facility was named as the Navy's first submarine base. The first commander of the Yard was retired Commodore Timothy A. Hunt, who was recalled to service. He was living in New Haven, and he used the Central Hotel on State Street, New London when in town to attend to Yard duties on an "as needed" basis. The submarine base is physically located in the Town of Groton, but New London became associated with it because the base had its main offices and housing in New London. Following World War I, the Navy established schools and training facilities at the base.
The Base property expanded during the latter part of World War I. Congress approved over a million dollars for Base real estate and facilities expansion. By the end of the war, 81 buildings had been built to support 1,400 men and 20 submarines, although the land expansion was slowed through much of the 1920s. However, the Great Depression of the 1930s saw an expansion and enhancement of the physical plant of the Base. President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a series of Federal Government employment programs that contributed significantly to the Submarine Base. Over 26 high quality warehouses, barracks, and workshops were built at the base under these Federal job-spending programs. The second largest expansion of the Base occurred during World War II, when it grew from 112 acres to 497 acres (2.01 km2). The Submarine Force leaped in size, and the Base accommodated thousands of men to serve the growing combat fleet. Immediately after World War II, the Submarine Force was significantly reduced and many submarines were sent into storage. Most of the World War II fleet was sold for scrap metal during the early 1960s.
From 1930 to 1994, the most recognizable structure on the base was the 100-foot-tall (30 m) Escape Training Tank. Generations of submariners learned to escape in up to 80 feet (24 m) of water using buoyant ascent, and were trained in the use of the Momsen lung or Steinke hood. In 2007, the Escape Training Tank was replaced by the Submarine Escape Trainer, which has two types of escape trunks in up to 40 feet (12 m) of water. The Steinke hood was replaced by the Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment in the 2000s.
The New London Base is homeport to 16 attack submarines and full Navy base situated in Groton, Connecticut. The Base is also neighbor to the major submarine construction yard of General Dynamics' Electric Boat Division. All officer and enlisted submariners are stationed at Groton during their training, with the exception of nuclear trained Electronics Technicians (ETs), Electrician's Mates (EMs), and Machinist's Mates (MMs). Enlisted sailors attending sub school will first go through Basic Enlisted Sub School (BESS), an eight-week program that teaches the rigors of undersea life. BESS includes training in shoring, patching leaks and ruptured pipes, firefighting, and boat handling techniques. After BESS, sailors will either go to a boat or to follow-on schools.
The main base occupies more than 687 acres (2.78 km2) plus over 530 acres (2.1 km2) of family housing. It also supports more than 70 tenant commands, including Naval Submarine School (NAVSUBSCOL), Naval Submarine Support Facility (NSSF), three Submarine Squadron staffs, and the housing and support facilities for more than 21,000 civilian workers, active-duty service members, and their families.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2019)
On 13 May 2005, the Pentagon recommended that the base be closed. After review, the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission voted on 24 August 2005 to strike New London from the list of possible closures, thus allowing the base to remain open.