On Saturday, September 19th, Albacore Park celebrated Navy History Day. Events were centered around the 100th anniversary of the building of the first submarine by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 1915.
During World War I, the shipyard began constructing submarines, with the L-8 being the first ever built by a U.S. Navy yard. The yard work force grew to almost 25,000 civilians in World War II, when over 70 submarines were constructed at the yard, with a record four being launched in a single day. A record number of 32 boats were built in the single year of 1944. When the war ended, the shipyard became the Navy's preeminent center for submarine design and development, overseeing the creation of several innovative vessels including Albacore, Thresher and Dolphin. Today, the shipyard provides overhaul, refueling and modernization work on Los Angeles class submarines.
Events conducted during the day included: the monthly meeting of USSVI Thresher Base; an address by Captain William Greene, Commander, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard; a submarine film festival showing "Run Silent, Run Deep", "The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!" and "The Hunt For Red October"; music by RedHook (songs of the sea); the swearing-in of new recruits by Cdr. Ronald Stowe, CO USS Scranton; a drill demonstration by Naval Sea Cadets; and a discussion on the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard's early years as a submarine building facility by Captain Rodney Watterson, USN (Ret).
Marblehead Base's cutaway model of USS Albacore
Recruits being sworn in by Captain Stowe
The Sea Perch test tank
A number of participating groups hosted booths and offered information. These included: the Friends of Albacore; Kittery Historical & Naval Museum; Naval Recruiting Stations Nashua and Portsmouth; Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum; Sea Cadets, New Hampshire (SSN 778) Division; the Sea Perch Program; Trading Faces Artistic Face Painting; U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary; USS Scranton (SSN 756); and USSVI Marblehead Base. The Portsmouth Submarine Museum Association was the host for the day's events and offered popcorn and hot dogs to hungry members of the crowd.