U.S. Naval Submarine Base, New London Submarine Escape Training Tank, Albacore & Darter Roads, Groton, New London County, CT
Significance: The Submarine Escape Training Tank was constructed for the purpose of training U.S. Navy submariners in the use of re-breathing apparatus and in emergency procedures for escaping from disabled submarines. The 119-foot, 6-inch steel standpipe contained locks or compartments, modeled on those in actual submarines, at the 18, 50 and 110-foot levels, through which students from the U.S. Naval Submarine School entered the tank and ascended under close supervision from instructors. Successful completion of the escape training course was a prerequisite for all prospective submariners. The experience provided not only practical training for emergency situations, but, through accomplishment of a rite of passage, fostered a sense of individual pride and confidence, which the Navy considered an important quality in its submarine personnel. In addition, the tank, for much of its history under jurisdiction of the Medical Research Laboratory, was employed in numerous research programs that examined biomedical and behavioral problems associated with submarine and diving environments, or were designed to test and improve escape techniques and equipment. Six of the eight small building that envelop the base of the tank were constructed, at various times, to support these training and research activities. The remaining two buildings contained machinery and equipment for operation of electrical, heating, compressed air and hydraulic systems. The Submarine Escape Training Tank is one of two essentially identical structures designed by the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks. The second tank was erected at Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to serve personnel of the Navy's Pacific fleet.
Survey number: HAER CT-37-A