Group 2 Commander Visits High School Submarine Team, Views Their Submersible
OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. - Rear Adm. Michael McLaughlin, Commander, Submarine Group 2, visited Old Saybrook High School on Dec. 10 to view their submarine team’s submersible vessel that will compete in the 11th International Submarine Races in 2011.
The school invited the admiral to see their partially-constructed submersible after the submarine team toured a Virginia-class submarine in May while they were still in the planning stages.
“[They] have been working on this [project] for two years. So it’s amazing to see it come to this point and have them recognized by someone like the admiral,” said Tara Winch, Associate Principal of the high school. “I think it’s very exciting, and it gives the project a lot of validity to know that other people are watching.”
Shannon Jorgensen, captain of the submarine crew, also shared in the excitement.
“We’re really honored that he’s here,” said Jorgensen. “We never thought this project would be so big.”
McLaughlin, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, could thoroughly relate to the project.
“I was impressed with the engineering that was going into it, and it looked like they were going through a very disciplined approach of building a submersible,” he said.
“[The submersible] had everything a young person should want to do. It had welding. It had machinery. They all learned to scuba dive. It looked like the most fun in the world,” McLaughlin commented with a smile. “I would have been happy to jump on that given the opportunity if they had that in my high school.”
According to the International Submarine Race’s (ICR) website, each “wet” submarine must have a person providing propulsion and steering while utilizing SCUBA gear. One of ICR’s goals is to provide students of various engineering disciplines an educational experience that translates their knowledge into reality. Contestants include universities, high schools, individuals and research labs.
Old Saybrook High School is only one of three high schools that were invited to compete.
“We thought it was just going to be our little town that nobody’s ever heard of just being one of three schools in the competition,” said Jorgensen. “But I’m really glad the whole community has really embraced it, and everyone’s really excited for us.”
When McLaughlin had a chance to address the team, he told them that it takes a lot of bravery to be encapsulated in a small space breathing from a tank. He followed by asking if anyone was claustrophobic, and, almost at once, they all answered, “We will find out.”
101210-N-3241-034 OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (Dec. 10, 2010) A crewmember of the Old Saybrook High School submarine team demonstrates to Rear Adm. Michael McLaughlin, Commander, Submarine Group 2, how their submersible works during a recent visit. The team and their submersible will compete during the 11th International Submarine Race held in Bethesda, MD in June 2011. U.S. Navy photograph by MC1(AW/SW) Virginia K. Schaefer.