Tag Archives: Groton

Submariner proposes to his boyfriend on dock as submarine returns to Conn. from deployment

In this Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerrel Revel, left, proposes to his boyfriend Dylan Kirchner during the homecoming of the USS New Mexico at the submarine base in Groton, Conn., after the ship’s inaugural six-month deployment. They have not set a wedding date. Defense officials estimate there are 18,000 same-sex couples in the active-duty military, National Guard and Reserves. It’s unclear how many of those are married.

GROTON, Connecticut — A Navy sailor returning from a six-month deployment emerged from his submarine, dropped to one knee and proposed to his boyfriend during the homecoming celebration in Connecticut for USS New Mexico.

About 200 people were gathered at the dock of the Naval Submarine Base New London where Machinist’s Mate Jerrel Revels proposed to Dylan Kirchner. Kirchner said he had thought about getting married but the proposal Monday came as a surprise.

“I didn’t really care everybody was around. It felt just like the two of us,” Kirchner told The Day of New London

The couple has not set a wedding date.

The repeal of the ban on openly gay military service took effect in 2011.

Defense officials estimate there are 18,000 same-sex couples in the active-duty military, National Guard and Reserves. It’s unclear how many of those are married.

The attack submarine traveled more than 34,000 miles over six months and stopped at ports in Norway, Scotland and Spain. It marked the first deployment for more than 70 percent of the crew. The sub was commissioned in 2010 and is the second Navy vessel to be named for New Mexico.

Source – Daily Journal

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US – Two submarines on deck at Electic Boat

Submitted photo courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat
The first module for the future USS Illinois, the 13th member of the Virginia class, arrives at Electric Boat in Groton by barge from EB’s Quonset Point facility Tuesday, June 18, 2013.
For first time in decade, shipyard builds two boats at once

 

Groton — For the first time in a decade, Electric Boat is simultaneously working on two submarines in its main building shed.

The first module for the future USS Illinois, the 13th member of the Virginia class, arrived by barge from EB’s Quonset Point facility Tuesday. It was placed next to the North Dakota, the 11th of the class.

Two submarines have not been side by side in Building 260 since 2003, when EB was building the USS Jimmy Carter and the USS Virginia, the first of the class.

“This is our first step to ramping up in Groton to two boats a year,” said Todd Beardsley, the ship’s manager at EB for the Illinois (SSN 786).

The first module for the follow-on submarine at EB normally arrives after its predecessor is put into the water for the first time. The “float off” for the North Dakota (SSN 784) will not happen until September or October. That submarine is on track for the fastest delivery of the class yet.

“Everything keeps getting earlier and earlier, so we’re ready to go to two boats a year,” Beardsley added.

The Navy began buying two submarines per year in 2011 but the Groton waterfront is where the final assembly and testing of submarines is done, so it is not projected to have a steady workload until 2015. EB is under contract to build the 11th through the 18th ships of the class, with Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

About 600 people in Groton and Quonset Point are working on the Illinois. Next year, once all four modules are in Groton, nearly 1,000 people will be working in the yard on the submarine.

The arrival of the first module, in this case, the forward half of the engine room, is a milestone, Beardsley said, because major work on the submarine can now begin in Groton. The next task is to attach the reactor compartment to the 50-foot-long cylindrical module, he said.

Cmdr. Jess Porter, the submarine’s commanding officer, arrived in Groton on Monday to begin assembling the crew. The first group, about 35 people, will spend the next few weeks in school in Schenectady, N.Y., learning how to operate the propulsion plant, Porter said.

Porter said being in command of a new Virginia-class submarine is “a phenomenal opportunity” because the culture for the ship is set in the early stages of construction.

“That culture, in large measure, goes a long way toward building that ship to a viable and powerful platform,” he said.

First Lady Michelle Obama was named sponsor for the submarine last year.

Construction on the Illinois began in March 2011. The submarine is contracted to be delivered to the Navy in 66 months, on Aug. 31, 2016. Beardsley said his goal is to finish earlier in 2016 and to beat whatever record the North Dakota sets when it is delivered in early 2014.

Female officers will begin reporting aboard Virginia-class submarines in January 2015. Porter said that if women are assigned to the Illinois, “my ship will be ready to support that.”

Porter, 46, who is from Pocatello, Idaho, took the USS Missouri through the delivery and commissioning process as that submarine’s executive officer. He spent 12 years as an enlisted nuclear electrician’s mate in the surface fleet before being commissioned as an officer and joining the submarine force. He served on the USS Michigan and the USS Connecticut.

The shipyard is a challenging environment, Porter said, but the crew will come away from it knowing “that ship inside and out.” Porter and Beardsley met for the first time on Wednesday so Porter could see the hull section.

Outside of the bustling building shed, EB’s three graving docks are currently filled with three submarines undergoing repairs. Beardsley, who has worked at EB for 14 years, remembers when the Jimmy Carter and the Virginia were there.

“This is by far the busiest we’ve been since then,” he said.

Source – The Day

Electric Boat gets contract to help lighten Spanish sub

Groton — The first of the Spanish Navy’s four new submarines is too heavy and Electric Boat has been asked to help.

The U.S. Navy hired Electric Boat as the contractor for a foreign military sales agreement with the Spanish Ministry of Defence, in support of the Spanish Navy, according to a statement the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command issued Monday.

The agreement is worth up to $14 million, an official at the Embassy of Spain who is familiar with the contract said. EB will provide technical assistance and review the S-80 Submarine project for almost three years, the official added.

The S-80 Submarine is Spain’s first submarine design. According to Spanish press reports, the S-81 Isaac Peral, the first member of the class, is at least 75 tons overweight. The diesel-electric submarine weighs 2,400 tons submerged and the excess weight could prevent it from surfacing after it dives.

Navantia, a Spanish state-owned company, is building the S-80 submarine fleet. Each submarine will have a crew of 32 and eight special forces.

The Isaac Peral was scheduled to be delivered in 2015 at a cost of about $700 million, but it is estimated that correcting the weight and balance issues could take up to two years.

When asked whether EB would help with the weight problem specifically, the Embassy official said, “We hope.” He did not know how many EB employees would be involved.

EB referred questions to the U.S. Navy.

In 2003, the British Ministry of Defence solicited EB’s help for its Astute submarine program through a foreign military sales agreement with the United States.

With a substantial gap between the design and construction of the Vanguard class and the start of the Astute program, submarine design and construction skills had atrophied in the United Kingdom, according to the RAND Corp., and about 100 experienced EB designers and managers worked with BAE Systems on the design effort.

Source – Patch . Com

USS Nautilus lets visitors experience life down below

USS Nautilus

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a submariner and dive deep below the ocean surface you can do just that at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton. There you can see the history of the submarine service and climb aboard the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear powered vessel.

The Nautilus, named after the ship depicted in Jules Verne’s novel, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” was first launched Jan. 21, 1954, after 18 months of construction. First lady Mamie Eisenhower broke the traditional bottle of champagne across Nautilus’ bow during the ceremony. On Sept. 30, 1954, Nautilus became the first commissioned nuclear powered ship in the U.S. Navy.

Nautilus made naval history on July 23, 1958, when it departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, under top secret orders to conduct “Operation Sunshine,” the first crossing of the North Pole by a ship. It was at 11:15 p.m. Aug. 3, 1958, that Commander William R. Anderson announced to his crew, “For the world, our country and the Navy … the North Pole.” With 116 men on board, Nautilus had accomplished the seemingly impossible task of reaching 90 degrees north, the geographic North Pole.

The museum with more than 33,000 artifacts is dedicated to saving the history of the submarine. The museum can trace its roots back to 1955 when the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics founded the Submarine Library with a huge collection of books and documents relating to the history of the submarine. In 1965 the facility was donated to the U.S. Navy and moved to its current location. The name was changed to the Submarine Force Museum in 1969 and efforts began to convince the Navy to donate Nautilus to the museum. A new 14,000-square-foot museum was built in 1986 and was expanded in 1997 and again in 2000.

On display in the is a replica of the Turtle, the world’s first combat submarine built in 1775. The Turtle was designed to attach a mine to the hull of an enemy ship. It was used against the British during the Revolutionary War but was not successful.

Also on display are models of several different classes of submarines and a control room where visitors can sit and operate the controls of a sub. A 50 foot-long 1/6th scale cutaway model of the submarine USS Gato is suspended from the ceiling in the main exhibit area. The Gato was the primary class of submarine used by the United States during World War II. Other displays include midget submarines from WWII, working periscopes and the Explorer, an early U.S. research submarine.

The museum library has a collection of more than 20,000 documents and 30,000 photographs related to the history of the submarine. The collection has 6,000 books including an original 1870 copy of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

The centerpiece for the museum is the Nautilus which was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior on May 20, 1982. The historic ship then underwent an extensive conversion at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, Calif., to make it more accessible to visitors. When the conversion was complete it was towed to Groton and on April 11, 1986, the museum and Nautilus opened to the public.

Tours aboard the Nautilus are self guided and visitors get an audio wand that describes each numbered stop on the tour. The first stop after entering the forward part of the ship through a specially constructed glass house added during the conversion to a museum is the torpedo room. The Nautilus has six tubes for its 24 torpedoes. Plexiglas partitions have been installed throughout Nautilus so visitors can see but not touch the historic vessel.

As the tour continues visitors pass by berthing areas for the crew and the wardroom for the 11 officers on board. On the wall behind the wardroom table are instruments showing the ship’s speed, course and depth. Also on display in the wardroom is an original copy of Jules Vernes’ “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

Next on the tour is the Attack Center where the periscopes are located as well as the firing panel to launch the torpedoes. The Control Room is located directly below the Attack Center and has all the instruments and controls for diving, surfacing and steering the ship. To the right of the Control Room is the Radio Room where all the ship’s communication equipment is located.

The final stop on the tour is the Crew’s Mess where the enlisted men ate. Food was served every six hours and because living conditions were stressful, submarines had the best food in the military.

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Worker who set fire to USS Miami submarine to be sentenced today

Submarine Fire1.jpg

Casey Fury is seen in a file booking photo provided by the Dover, N.H., Police Department .

The man who set fire to USS Miami has a long and debilitating history of anxiety and depression, was homeless for a while as a child and is a “passionate, gentle and caring individual,” according to his defenders.

For these reasons, his attorney wrote in court documents, former Portsmouth Naval Shipyard worker Casey Fury should get 15 years, eight months in prison instead of the 19 years recommended by the U.S. attorney.

Fury, 26, of Portsmouth, N.H., will be in U.S. District Court in Portland today to be sentenced for setting fire to USS Miami at the shipyard in May 2012, causing $450 million in damage. Several weeks later, he set a second fire outside the nuclear submarine.

Fury pleaded guilty to those charges last November. Under the plea deal, Fury agreed to a sentence of between 15 years, eight months and 19 years. The maximum sentence for the crimes is life in prison.

In seeking the 19-year sentence, federal prosecutor Darcie McElwee wrote in her pre-sentence report that Fury’s “intentional fire setting on and around a nuclear submarine was beyond reckless. Frankly, as the court is aware from its view of the Miami, this fire easily could have been fatal.”

Fury said he set the two fires because wanted to leave work early. Defense attorney David Beneman contended Fury was in the throes of depression and was not thinking clearly. McElwee wrote that Fury’s actions were deliberate and precipitated on the fact that he had no more sick or vacation time left.

In his 15-page pre-sentence report, Beneman painted a picture of a troubled young man whose parents divorced when he was 4. As a third-grader, he was homeless for a period after his mother and a boyfriend broke up, Beneman wrote.

At the time of the fires, he wrote, Fury was not getting sufficient benefit from his medications for anxiety, depression and panic attacks. “He never intended for anyone to be hurt or for the first fire to result in the amount of damage it did,” Beneman wrote. “On the dates of the two fires, he suffered from anxiety attacks and ‘just freaked out.'”

The attorney said that several days after his client set the second fire, Fury checked himself into Portsmouth Regional Hospital for mental health treatment. “He was anxious, depressed and having ‘passive suicidal ideation,'” Beneman wrote. After the hospital changed his medication, Fury “reported an immediate change.”

Beneman said his client accepts full responsibility for his actions. In the first Miami blaze, Fury set a rag on fire and placed it on the top bed of one of the state rooms in the mid-level of the submarine. Beneman said tests conducted afterward established that the fire spread rapidly due to the enamel paint on the walls and ceilings “that provided fuel for the fire to expand.”

He said the judge should take into consideration the fact that Fury did not intend for the fire to spread as it did. “Casey lacks coping skills” and shows “hasty and poorly thought out decision making,” the attorney said. “At the same time, he does not display criminal thinking, nor attributes of an arsonist.”

McElwee painted a decidedly different picture of Fury. She wrote that while “the government appreciates” the USS Miami fire might have been set “simply to create a distraction,” Fury escaped the sub and “watched while others risked their lives to battle the fire; all while he stood safely on the pier.” The second fire, she wrote, “demonstrates the true disregard the defendant has for others” because he knew what happened in the first instance, but set a second fire nonetheless.

Fury, she said, “concluded that his personal desires were worth more than the safety of all the people with whom he worked … and more than the property of the United States Navy.” McElwee said the “ripple of consequences” of the USS Miami fire is far reaching. “The damage to Miami and its removal from the fleet, whether temporary or permanent, will continue to affect the United States Navy for years to come,” she wrote.

The Miami has remained at the shipyard since the fire, and money had been found in the Navy budget and appropriated by Congress to repair it. However, that work is uncertain in the wake of recent automatic federal budget cuts. McElwee wrote, “it is anticipated that other submarines will have to go to sea and deploy for more time to account for the absence of the Miami” — time that sailors will not be spending with their families.

Both the defense and the prosecution have the right to withdraw the plea agreement if the court imposes a substantially higher or lower sentence at the hearing today.

Source – Sea Coast online

US – Sequestration Could Jeopardize Two Contracts For EB, Second Submarine

‘This is a very serious impasse that could really put a cloud over EB’s projected hiring,’ Congressman Joe Courtney says. But he adds that Congress still has time to fix the impasse.

Welding on the hull of the Mississippi in Building 260, Groton. Credit Electric Boat photography department

Welding on the hull of the Mississippi in Building 260, Groton. Credit Electric Boat photography department

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney said the federal cuts slated to go into effect under sequestration would affect shipyards across the country, including Electric Boat in Groton.

Sequestration – or $1.2 trillion in cuts – are slated to go into effect March 1. Half the cuts would come from the defense industry.

Electric Boat has two contracts with the Navy – one a $94 million contract to repair the USS Miami, the Groton-built nuclear submarine that caught fire at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard May 23; and the second a $34.9 million contract to work on the USS Providence, which was scheduled to come into Groton later this year.

Both could be suspended if sequestration occurs.

“This is a very serious impasse that could really put a cloud over EB’s projected hiring,” Courney said, referring to the optimistic picture painted by the company during a legislative breakfast in January.

“But Congress still has time to fix the impasse and allow the great work that people do there to go forward. The leadership of the Navy, over and over again, repeated their desire to have this work move forward in Groton. But their hands are tired until Congress and the White House come to an agreement,” he said.

According to the Electric Boat website, repairs to the USS Miami would involve 300 EB employees.

Electric Boat has declined comment on the potential impacts.

“The Department of Defense has not informed us how it intends to implement sequestration, if it occurs. Consequently, any response on our part would be speculative,” Spokesman Dan Barrett said in an e-mail.

Courtney said that in addition to the repair contracts that could be placed on hold, Congress last year got a defense bill through that provided funding for a second submarine to be built in 2014. But he said Congress does not have a budget bill passed to go with that defense bill, The current spending bill ends March 27.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, who testified last week before the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, said that if the Navy did not get a spending bill to match the defense bill, the second submarine would be at risk.

Electric Boat is meanwhile proceeding with the Ohio replacement program, which deals with a different class of submarines. As of Monday, the company was still hiring engineers and other positions.

“There’s still time to stop the madness here, and that’s true,” Courtney said. “It’s not like the law takes away the money irrevocably in one day.” He said sequestration was designed to be completely unacceptable but cutting indiscriminately across all areas, thereby forcing a compromise.

“And hopefully,” he said, “as in the past with sequestration, cooler heads will prevail.”

Source – Groton Patch

 

Navy to Congress: No budget, no second submarine in 2014

USS Providence (SSN – 719)

Service releases plan in face of looming, automatic budget cuts.

If Congress doesn’t pass a budget this fiscal year, the Navy said it likely would not purchase a second Virginia-class submarine in 2014.

The Navy released its latest plan to Congress on Tuesday for how it will be affected if the government keeps operating on a continuing resolution that funds spending at last year’s levels, and if Congress does not act before March 1 to prevent the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.

The continuing resolution expires March 27, and Congress could extend it for the rest of the fiscal year.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said the House Armed Services Committee created and passed a plan that authorized two submarines in 2014.

“Now it is incumbent on congressional appropriators to work with us to get the rest of the way there,” he said. “The House’s plate is full and time is running out to act. That is why last week I voted against Speaker Boehner’s motion to adjourn, shutting down the House for 10 days that would be better used tackling these issues, supporting our critical defense priorities, and protecting our economy.”

The Navy told Congress last month it would cancel a $45 million repair job on the USS Providence (SSN 719) at Electric Boat and two demolition projects involving three older buildings at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton unless Congress agreed on a new budget. And if sequestration occurs, the Navy said, it would delay repairs to the Groton-based USS Miami and cancel several ship deployments.

At that time, the Navy did not say the second submarine in 2014 was in jeopardy. A Navy spokeswoman said Tuesday’s update provides a higher level of detail.

EB in Groton and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia jointly build two attack submarines per year. The plans for two submarines in 2013 are not expected to change.

Source – The Day