IN HONOR OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CONNECTICUT'S NAVY INSTALLATION; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 57
(Extensions of Remarks - April 10, 2018)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E427-E428]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




IN HONOR OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CONNECTICUT'S 
                           NAVY INSTALLATION

                                  _____
                                 

                           HON. JOE COURTNEY

                             of connecticut

                    in the house of representatives

                        Tuesday, April 10, 2018

  Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today, in honor of the 
Sesquicentennial of Connecticut's Navy installation. On April 11, 1868, 
one hundred and fifty years ago today, a Deed of Gift from the State of 
Connecticut and the City of New London was signed, conveyed, and 
presented to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, himself a native of 
Glastonbury, Connecticut.
  The suitability of New London Harbor as a possible site for an 
established Navy base or depot had been discussed as early as 1799, but 
it was not until 1862 when a naval committee began considering possible 
locations for such a base. Instead of choosing a competing location, 
southeastern Connecticut's Congressman Augustus Brandegee succeeded in 
inserting language into the 1867 Naval Appropriations Act which 
directed the Secretary of the Navy ``to accept a deed of gift when 
offered by the State of Connecticut.'' Following a scouting visit by 
Commodore J.P. McInstry, the land along the eastern side of the Thames 
River, straddling the towns of Groton and Ledyard, was selected as the 
desired location. The local New London Navy Yard Committee, led by John 
Rogers Bolles, purchased all or portions of three large farms and other 
adjoining parcels to compose that initial gift of land.
  The footprint of that nascent naval base was only 5,200 feet long and 
700 feet wide, but the base slowly expanded as it served in the dry-
docking of ships and then as a coaling station. Between 1868 and 1912, 
the New London Navy Yard supported a diverse range of missions, 
including berthing inactive Civil War-era ironclad warships and 
refueling naval vessels traveling in New England waters.
  The installation's beginnings as the ``Home of the Submarine Force'' 
can be traced to 1900, when the Navy acquired its first submarine, USS 
Holland, for a sum of $160,000. In 1912, Congress rejected the Navy's 
proposal to close the New London Navy Yard, following an impassioned 
effort by eastern Connecticut Congressman Edwin W. Higgins, one of my 
predecessors in this office. During that debate, he stated that the 
``action proposed is not only unjust but unreasonable and unsound as a 
military proposition'' He was right, and thankfully he prevailed in 
ensuring that the base remained open. New London then became the 
homeport for six submarines in October 1915, as well as the first ship 
built specifically as a submarine tender, USS Fulton, which arrived 
that November.
  One-hundred and fifty years after its humble beginnings, Naval 
Submarine Base New London has grown to occupy more than 680 acres along 
the east side of the Thames River, with more than 160 major facilities, 
15 nuclear fast-attack submarines, and more than 70 tenant commands and 
activities, including the Submarine Learning Center, Naval Submarine 
School, the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory, the Naval 
Undersea Medical Institute, and the newly established Undersea 
Warfighting Development Center.
  Every day, our deployed undersea Sailors conduct intelligence, 
surveillance, and reconnaissance missions along coastlines across the 
globe, track the movements of adversary navies, and deter threats to 
our homeland. While SUBASE New London has grown in size and importance, 
and the technology aboard submarines has evolved, the men and women who 
crew these vessels have constantly served with Honor, Courage, and 
Commitment.
  In 1912, Congressman Higgins told his colleagues in Congress that 
``Connecticut stands ready, as she always has, to bear her part of the 
burdens of the national defense.'' This remains as true today as it was 
in 1912 or even in 1868. My state is proud to be home of our nation's 
``first and finest'' submarine base, and I ask all my colleagues to 
join me in honoring this important milestone for Connecticut, for our 
nation, and for all those who serve, and

[[Page E428]]

have served, at Naval Submarine Base New London.

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