18 September 2016
As fall in New England looms ahead, the conclusion of the yearlong celebration of Connecticut’s Submarine Century draws near. Designated by Governor Dan Malloy to run from October 2015 through October 2016, the celebration has had as its cornerstone the commemoration of the centennial anniversary of our nation’s first permanent, continental submarine Base – Naval Submarine Base New London – and its Naval Submarine School.
These naval institutions along with along with businesses, industries, and communities throughout the state have collectively and affectionately earned Groton and Southeastern Connecticut the mantle of Submarine Capital of the World.
Of course, Connecticut’s Submarine Century also honored the local heritage and global impact made over the last 100 years by those who have and those who continue to design, build, and operate one of the most complex and influential marvels of the deep, our United States submarines.
The all-volunteer Connecticut’s Submarine Century Committee, chaired by City of Groton Mayor Marian Galbraith, has hosted a series of outstanding events to educate and engage citizens and sailors alike.
And Governor Malloy and Congressman Joe Courtney spoke of the base, the Submarine Force, and Connecticut’s role in our nation’s military history at the base’s formal centennial ceremony held in June onboard the Historic Ship Nautilus at the Submarine Force Museum.
The governor and congressman touched on the incredible technical achievements in subsea technology and the continuing importance of the submarine and undersea warfare to our national security.
This year has also provided me the opportunity to lead one of the Navy’s newest organizations, the Undersea Warfighting Development Center (UWDC) which is headquartered at the submarine base. UWDC was established on Sept. 1, 2015 with the official opening commemorated by a formal ribbon cutting on Sept. 21 with Congressman Courtney and Vice Admiral Joe Tofalo, the commander of the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Forces.
As part of the UWDC establishment, the legendary Submarine Development Squadron 12 that had been in existence in Groton since 1949 was transitioned to Submarine Squadron 12 with their Tactical Analysis Group shifting to UWDC.
The Arctic Submarine Laboratory (ASL) in San Diego was also transitioned to UWDC. ASL was established in 1941 and was responsible for the incredible success of Operation SUNSHINE in 1958 in which the USS Nautilus made the first Arctic transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic under the polar ice cap. This pioneering feat and technological achievement is still as challenging today, even as our submarine force continues to regularly demonstrate this capability.
Additionally, the Navy Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) stood down and transitioned its fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare mission to UWDC. This transition included staffs in the fleet concentration areas of San Diego and Norfolk which magnified the important role our core team in Connecticut plays for undersea warfare and our nation’s defense.
UWDC now touches undersea and fleet operations worldwide on a daily basis!
And, after a year of operating the UWDC Headquarters from the submarine base, I have come to realize the tremendous synergy of the organizations here in Connecticut and the New England corridor.
The submarine base; the two submarine squadrons and Regional Support Group maintenance facility; the Navy Submarine Medical Research Laboratory; the Submarine Force Library & Museum; and now, UWDC make up the key local Navy elements.
But there is more. Synergy is also created by General Dynamic’s Electric Boat shipyard, which in partnership with Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, constructs and puts to sea the world’s most advanced submarines.
Additionally, just up the interstate in Rhode Island, the Navy’s Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Newport Division provides the technical excellence required for our undersea superiority. All through the region, industry, academic, and research institutions provide the innovative edge that the greatest Navy in the world demands.
I know of no other region in our nation that has a focus of effort and capability equal to what Connecticut brings to undersea warfare.
As I turn over command of UWDC to Rear Admiral Jimmy Pitts on this Sept. 21, I want to express my sincere appreciation to the state of Connecticut and local communities for the tremendous support they have shown to the Navy during our first century here.
I eagerly look forward to the great things that will come as we dive into our next 100 years.