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Naval Submarine Base New London Celebrates Its 100th Birthday

Brian Scott Smitth

On Tuesday the Naval Submarine Base New London, in Groton, Connecticut, celebrated its 100th birthday. Known as the “Home of the Submarine Force,” the base opened on June 21, 1916. It sits on the banks of the Thames River and is now home to 18 fast attack submarines and nearly 10,000 naval personnel.

At Tuesday’s centennial celebration, military and elected officials walked on to the USS Nautilus, the world’s first operational nuclear powered submarine, now permanently docked as a visitor’s attraction at the Submarine Force Museum, and heard the story of the base’s humble beginnings as a naval yard, storage depot and coaling station.

The State of Connecticut has invested heavily in the submarine base over the years, even when it came under threat of closure, Governor Dannel Malloy recalled.

The base survived “because of the foresight of those individuals who were originally responsible for donating a portion of this base and protecting its operation through various challenges, some not so long ago.”

The base's future was also celebrated. Rear Admiral Jeff Trussler said, “Submarines will be interacting with unmanned systems. You’re not going to recognize the difference between a torpedo or an autonomous underwater vehicle in the future.”