US Submarine Museum

Bitter and I went to the Submarine Museum in Groton, CT, where they have the USS Nautilus displayed:

Sadly, they don’t tour you through the reactor or engine room.  I’m wondering if any of that stuff is still classified.  USS Nautilus is the only nuclear powered submarine on display to the public anywhere in the world.  You can visit the submarine museum in an hour’s time if you want, and it’s worth the visit.  Especially if you have kids of the right age.  You can show them where the nuclear warheads would be mounted on the Polaris missile they have on display.

USS Nautilus is the official ship of Connecticut, which is only fitting.  Groton, CT is the home to General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division, which is the birthplace of much of our nation’s submarine fleet going back a century.

I’ve been on more than a few submarine museums, and I have to say, I have a lot of respect for anyone who could spend months at a time on something like the Nautilus.  Even on a nuclear sub, quarters were cramped.  It was tough for me just walking around for a few minutes, but then again, I’m probably a bit tall to be a submariner.

10 thoughts on “US Submarine Museum”

  1. I think I may have been on a military submarine once at/near San Francisco. Other than that, my experience is limited to those Disneyland tour subs.

  2. A few years ago I toured an old Russian sub (probably built in the 1950’s or so). The captain’s cabin was smaller than a closet, and you had to be really short to work on this boat (like Russian tank crews). Frankly, the boat was so small and frail I would have been scared to serve on it.

  3. I’ve never been on a boomer, but if they’re anything like the fast attacks, the reactor compartment is pretty boring.

    With time, the boats have actually grown to accommodate their crews. I served aboard 637s and 688s (Sturgeon- and Los Angeles-class submarines), and at 6′ 4″ and upwards of 225 lbs, I can’t recall ever feeling very cramped. Well, the showers, but even they weren’t too bad.

    I daresay the Nautilus is so cramped more because of her age (designed and built in the early 50s) than because she’s a sub. I have it on good authority that the most recent boomers are downright spacious. :)

  4. You’re right, she’s SSN-571. Boomers are designated SSBN. D’oh!

    Admiral Rickover would have fried my ass for that!

  5. Just for giggles, did you know that we have a nuclear submarine base in Idaho?

    NO kidding, we really do.

  6. I didn’t know, but am hardly surprised. Unless that’s the nuclear reactor school – ISTR hearing that it was out int he midwest someplace.

    Admiral Rickover’s legacy, no doubt.

  7. yes it is training school. it submerges and surfaces just like any nuclear submarine, however only the portions of the sub necessary to train for conning are there, if it hasn’t changed in the last 25 or so years.

  8. Hey, I’ve been there. I’ve also (hypothetically) hung a banner on said that sub that (hypothetically) might have said “Go Coast Guard, Beat Navy”.


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