Wednesday, June 22, 2016 – On Monday we went to nearby Groton, Connecticut to see the USS Nautilus Submarine and Museum there. This was on our optional to do list but we needed to go to Groton for something else, so we went here also and we’re really glad we did!
September 30, 1954, NAUTILUS became the first commissioned nuclear powered ship in the United States Navy. This was when I was only 16 days old!
Over the next several years, NAUTILUS shattered all submerged speed and distance records. On July 23, 1958, NAUTILUS departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii under top secret orders to conduct “Operation Sunshine”, the first crossing of the North Pole by a ship. At 11:15 pm on August 3, 1958, NAUTILUS’ second Commanding Officer, Commander William R. Anderson, announced to his crew, “For the world, our country, and the Navy – the North Pole.” With 116 men aboard, NAUTILUS had accomplished the “impossible”, reaching the geographic North Pole – 90 degrees North.
We first checked out the mini submarines outside the museum building.
The little vehicle below is a Swimmer Delivery Vehicle. Submarines have operated with special operations teams since the days of WWI. These were used in a variety of clandestine operations. Carried in a special watertight tank “piggybacked” to a submarine, this Swimmer Delivery Vehicle gives a SEAL team a greater range of stealth, mobility and endurance.
After entering the museum and being welcomed by a nice older man we first visited an exhibit room which is recreation of a World War II submarine attack center. The attack center has three operational periscopes through which we could see Historic Ship NAUTILUS, the Thames River and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Roy and I both enjoyed that experience. We even found Boots in the parking lot through the periscope!
One of thee torpedoes is a Mark 14 which weighs over 3,000 pounds and is 20.5 feet long. It had a maximum range of 4.5 miles. Another of the torpedoes is a Mark 48 which is the Navy’s primary submarine torpedo. It weighs 3,5oo pounds and is 19 feet long.
This is the Polaris Missile, A-3` feet long, 35,000 pounds. It is made up of four sections, the nose cone (warhead) section, the equipment (guidance) section, and the first stage and second stage boosters. It was operational from 1964 to 1981.
This is a model of a GATO Class Submarine. Here’s information on it and photos of the model. There were several Ken and Barbie sized dolls positioned throughout the submarine.
They gave us an audio tour device that explained to us every part of the ship that we saw. First was the many steps to get down below the water. Everything is protected with a glass wall which explains some of the glare in the pictures.
From the Nautilus we went into Olde Mystic, Connecticut to explore it. I’ll write about that next!
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