When the first class of 24 officers began studies for submarine duty in the summer of 1916, the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, was little more than a handful of buildings scattered across the area now known as lower base.
By Christmas 1916, the 22 graduates of the first submarine officers’ course were heading out for assignments after spending six months training on submarines, torpedoes, engineering and electricity. Records are sketchy on the nature of much of that training, especially since the bulk of the early trainers were salvage material from decommissioned submarines. Within a year, the submarine officers, and those who followed them through Naval Submarine School, were serving around the globe when the United States entered WorldWar I.
Nearly 100 years after that first graduation, the Naval Submarine School, the submarine base, the U.S. Navy and the world have all undergone radical and profound change, but the tradition as the center for submarine training excellence continues.
From one building on lower base in 1916, Naval Submarine School has grown to the largest single tenant unit on SUBASE with nearly 40,000 Sailors graduating annually from nearly 200 different courses. From an era when training aids were Mark I Attack trainers and a German-built trainer of unspecified history, Naval Submarine School maintains and operates state-of-the-art trainers costing millions to design and develop. These trainers are vital tools in providing realistic individual and team training for the submarine fleet.
Naval Submarine School course offerings include introduction, apprentice and basic skill level training; encompass initial technical proficiency training and advanced team operator and team training in electronic and combat systems employment, navigation and damage control; and provide mid-career professional growth courses for both officers and enlisted Sailors.
Naval Submarine School also conducts refresher training of all Atlantic Fleet submarines completing construction or overhaul and pre-deployment and training ashore for all submarines of the Atlantic Fleet.
No one can forecast the future. But Naval Submarine School can look to our history with confidence that we will continue to serve the Navy and the nation with pride in our past and a continued commitment to excellence in the future.