CRONKITE: The Galena was built
by Madison’s Cornelius Scranton Bushnell, a successful shipbuilder
and owner of the Shoreline Railroad.
starting construction of the Galena, Bushnell met John Ericsson, a
ship designer who had plans for a radically different type of ironclad. Bushnell recognized the cutting-edge
technology and brought the plans to Washington, where he lobbied
Congress for another shipbuilding contract.
was a Connecticut connection in Washington – Gideon Welles -- that
helped win Bushnell his second ironclad contract, for a ship, to be
called the Monitor.
PETERSON (Senior Curator, Mystic Seaport): Gideon Welles, is a
good example of the broader influence that Connecticut has had on
the nation’s maritime affairs over the years.
was Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy. And Gideon Welles,
although he wasn’t really a seafarer himself, had great
organizational skills and was instrumental in putting together the American Navy during
the Civil War, and building that up to a ¾
to a point where it grew from a relatively small fleet of vessels to
the largest naval fleet in the world by the time the ¾
the Civil War came to an end.
KUBLER (C.S. Bushnell’s Great Grandson): The story of getting The
Monitor accepted by the government in Washington is really where the
story intertwines with Gideon Wells knowing Cornelius Scranton
Bushnell. One thing led to another and a contract was let and
simultaneously he was building The Galena and that was happening up
the coast and meanwhile The Monitor was happening over in Green Point
Long Island and in New York. On March 9th 1862 the Monitor
fought the battle, with the Merrimack which was the first
significant battle of ironclad vessel against ironclad vessel and it
was the – the final proof that a wooden hull vessel really has no
more utility in this form of warfare.
the American Revolution, Connecticut resident David Bushnell -- an
ancestor of Cornelius Scranton Bushnell --
built the first submarine in America, the barrel-shaped Turtle.
it attacked the British several times during the War of Independence,
the reality of operating in open harbor waters proved too much for the
technology of the time. But Connecticut’s place in submarine history
would continue with Electric Boat in Groton.
Welch (Sr. V.P. General Dynamics Marine Systems Group): The first time
submarines were actually built here in New London was in 1924 when we
set up the shipyard here
the first submarine we built for the United States was in 1933, here
in New London, The Cuttle Fish. And then we built … about 112, 114
diesel submarines. Most of those were delivered during World War II
CRONKITE: Submarines built by Electric Boat
played a critical part in the Allied war effort in World War
the peak of World War Two, Electric Boat employed 12,500 people and
was launching a submarine every two weeks.
when the war ended, EB struggled to adapt to peacetime.
Welch (Sr. V.P. General Dynamics Marine Systems Group): And it really wasn’t till the early 50’s that we started building
submarines again post World War II and that really was to start to
build the workforce, the production workforce back up for the
emergence of nuclear power.
USS NAUTILUS KEEL LAYING
CRONKITE: USS Nautilus was christened by Mamie Eisenhower and launched
into the Thames River in January 1954.
was a soul-stirring moment for the thousands who came to see her and
the millions who heard or read about the launch.
her maiden voyage a year later, she shattered records -- running deep,
fast and long, powered by the first practical nuclear power plant.
spectacular success was the beginning of the nuclear navy so critical
to Cold-War strategy, andthe birth of the
controversial civilian nuclear electric power plant program
business would never be better for Electric Boat.
WELCH (Sr. V.P. General Dynamics Marine Systems Group): We grew the
workforce a total of about 28,000 people in the early 80’s and that
was associated just with the high production rate of submarines. About
3, 4 submarines a year were being delivered out of this facility
CRONKITE: The USS Connecticut, commissioned in 1998, was the 98th
nuclear submarine delivered by Electric Boat
to the U.S. Navy.
end of the cold war the demand for submarines has gone down.
So today we’re just over 9,000 people but the engineering
design workforce and the production workforce is as skilled as its
(Sr. V.P. General Dynamics Marine Systems Group): There’s not much
like designing and building a submarine. That’s probably one of the
most complicated structures that ever comes together and it’s a huge
systems integration job.
a lot of the technology associated with the sonar, the combat system,
the torpedo technology, much of that was developed here in the region.
So there became sort of a cottage industry that supported the
production, the research and engineering activities in this region.
think you can easily call it the “submarine capital of the world.”
The fact that the submarines are based here, that really becomes the ¾
the key ingredient and the submarine base is really the heart of the
Navy’s submarine training program as well.
so that ¾
that core of both technology production skills and operational skills
is as strong today as its ever been
CRONKITE: The Submarine Base New London was established in 1868 as a
coaling station.’ It
was built on land donated by the town of New London and the State of
Connecticut to the Navy.
the 19th and 20th Centuries, the base expanded
each time there was international tension or conflict.
recent years the number of people stationed at the base has declined,
with the end of the cold war to about 9,000 Naval personnel and 1,000
civilians. The Naval impact on the area remains strong, however, with
an additional 19,000 family members who live on the base or in surrounding