Located in Groton, Connecticut, Naval Submarine Base New London is the United States Navy’s first submarine base (also called a SUBase by the Navy). The main offices and housing for base personnel are located in New London, giving the base its name. The base is home to 17 attack submarines and the nuclear research deep submersible (NR-1). It is located next to an important submarine construction yard, General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Corporation.
Occupying almost 700 acres, the Naval Submarine Base New London contains over 500 acres for family housing for more than 21,000 civilians, service members, and families. Submarine force officers and enlisted sailors will likely be assigned to the base during their military career.
The State of Connecticut gave the US Navy over 100 acres of land for a naval station on the banks of the Thames River in 1868. It was 1872 before the federal government could afford to build a couple of brick buildings and a pier. Until World War I, the new naval yard was used mainly for coaling small vessels in the Atlantic Fleet. In 1912, the Navy commissioned the first diesel-powered submarine at the Naval Submarine Base New London.
In the fall of 1915, four submarines and a monitor arrived at the Naval Submarine Base New London. More submarines arrived the next year, as the war in Europe and the Atlantic was underway. In 1916, it was named the Navy’s first official submarine base. After the Great War, schools and training facilities were established.
In January 1954, the USS Nautilis, the first nuclear-powered submarine, was launched from the Naval Submarine Base New London. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1982, the Nautilis is moored near the main gate as part of the US Submarine Force Museum where visitors can take self-guided tours through the historic sub.
The Pentagon recommended closing the base in 2005; however, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission removed the Naval Submarine Base New London from the list of closures.
The names of the streets and buildings on the base reflect it’s the history and tradition of the US Navy and submarine force. To learn more about this heritage, visitors can go to the Submarine Force Library and Museum and the Nautilis adjacent to the base.