Surplus Navy boats get new home in Connecticut
Following a successful transfer between GSA and the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services, two former Navy troop transport boats made a 500 mile journey from Virginia to Connecticut, reaching their destination Monday, Nov. 30.
The boats, which were reported as excess property to GSA by the United States Navy, were officially transferred on Nov. 9.
Through the efforts of GSA, the Connecticut State Agency for Federal Surplus Property, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services and numerous other volunteers, the transfer went smoothly.
“Throughout, I felt that everyone was not only professional and helpful, but actually enthusiastic about the transfer,” said Mayor of Groton, Conn. Marian Galbraith. “In my communications with Philip St. Amand (of CT DAS), he always relayed that everyone - DLA, GSA, NAVSEA - was working with us to make this happen.”
The boats will now become part of the Thames River Heritage Park, a new concept in Connecticut park experiences.
The park will be anchored by four spots in Groton and New London, Conn. – the existing Fort Trumbull State Park, Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, the historic Ship Nautilus/Submarine Force Museum and Library, and the future National Coast Guard Museum.
Because these sites are connected by the Thames River, the two boats will be used as water taxis.
"It's great to be able to help New London bridge its maritime tradition and its maritime future," said Regional Administrator Bob Zarnetske.
The military-style boats, each touting gray topsides and black hulls, were assigned to active ships for a number of years.
One was a part of the USS LaSalle, which in 1988, while in the Persian Gulf, assumed the role of Commander of Middle East Forces. The other boat was assigned to the USS Hunley, a submarine tender homeported in Charleston, S.C.
“Because much of our heritage is defense based – being the home of both the Coast Guard Academy and the Naval Submarine Base New London – we were excited by the prospect of being able to use Navy boats,” said Galbraith.