Wednesday, January 05, 2011

SUBASE New London Receives $3.2 Million for Infrastructure Improvements

By Seaman Michael Henderson, Naval Submarine Base New London Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, joined Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell during a ceremony held Dec. 23 at the Historic Ship Nautilus and Submarine Force Library and Museum aboard Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London, Conn.

Jackalyne Pfannenstiel is a Connecticut native and attended the ceremony to accept the state's second investment in infrastructure improvements aboard the base.

Rell presented the Navy with a state-sponsored gift of $3.22 million for SUBASE projects which will fund the development of a Virginia class Submarine "training galley", and an expansion of a current Naval Submarine School building that will house a new submarine bridge trainer.

"These projects mean this base will remain the undisputed home for training our nation's submarine crews," said Rell.

In acknowledging the state's gift, Pfannenstiel noted Connecticut's long affinity for the base.

"I grew up a few miles from here," Pfannenstiel said. "I realize how important this SUBASE is to the economy of southeastern Connecticut. And clearly governor Rell realizes it also. We're using this money to modernize the base's infrastructure and maintain cutting-edge technologies. We're giving our people the best training possible, so they have the skills they need to successfully complete their missions."

The training galley will replicate the same conditions and working space that culinary specialists are required to make use of while deploying aboard a Virginia class submarine.

"[It's] a perfect platform for junior culinary specialists in transition to the fleet," said Chief Culinary Specialist Michael Wanca, SUBASE New London Cross Hall Galley leading chief petty officer. "This replica will provide all the characteristics of a full sea going operation, minus the angles and dangles."

According to Wanca, the training galley will allow culinary specialists to be proficient in food preparation, presentation, and sanitation.

"The program will offer not only OJT (on the job training), but also have a classroom setting for professional knowledge and further career development," said Wanca.

Naval Submarine School's Nimitz Hall will be expanded to accommodate the Submarine Bridge Trainer, where submariners will learn navigation and other critical skills.

"They'll operate in a 360-degree virtual environment - so real, that they'll sense the vessel's motion," said Pfannenstiel.

Recognizing the governor's last official visit to the base, and her service and support of the base's fleet, fighters, and families, the Navy New London team presented Rell with a few mementos. The Governor received a National Ensign flown that was flown aboard the base and Connecticut's state ship, Nautilus, as well as the title of honorary submariner, complete with a set of miniature gold "dolphins."

Capt. Marc W. Denno, SUBASE New London commanding officer, highlighted the long-time support of the base by the Connecticut community.

Since the service first received the initial land for the installation through a "Deed of Gift" from the state in 1868, one thing has remained constant, said Denno, "the support our Navy has received from our friends and neighbors in the community."

Three years ago, in a unique initiative, the State of Connecticut, through a Connecticut General Statute, had authorized proceeds from a $50 million bond sale to enhance SUBASE New London's infrastructure.

In 2009, Connecticut became the first state to fully fund a construction project on a base when Rell presented Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus $7.65 million to improve the base.

Last year's funding allowed the construction of a new Diver Support Facility aboard the base and the modernization of a boiler at the base's power plant.

"The base has been transformed from one that was slated for closure a few short years ago…to the winner of "Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic's Award for Installation Excellence," said Rell, "I am very proud of the role the state has played in those changes."

SUBASE New London is home to 15 fast-attack submarines and more than 70 tenant commands and activities.

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