Students Tour Submarine As They Build Their Own
GROTON, Conn. - Students and faculty from Old Saybrook High School visited Submarine Base New London on May 10 to tour Virginia-class attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 774) and Naval Submarine School as part of research and planning process to build their own submersible vessel.
Upon completion, the students plan to build and race their manned, 11-foot submersible at the 11th Annual International Submarine Races held in Bethesda, MD in June 2011.
For Shannon Jorgensen, the student team captain, this was a wonderful learning opportunity.
"While we got to have some fun, I believe the lesson I learned today," she said, "is that teamwork is the big key, but, we also need to further develop ways to stop flooding."
According to project coordinator Fred Frese, the school's wood shop teacher, Old Saybrook was given an invitation after working closely with the Navy on a previous project.
"We are one of three engineering schools in the country invited to this event," said Frese.
Frese also said the students will be training to race even as the vessel is under construction.
"This is their senior project. They all volunteered to undertake this task," Frese said. "Not only will they do all the construction, but they will write a report and give a presentation at the competition."
Lt. Cmdr. Thomas O'Donnell, Virginia's engineering officer, examined a scale model of the project and a drawing of the internal components brought by Frese.
"This is just amazing," O'Donnell said, "I'm a submariner and a diver, but I'm not sure I would be up to the task of driving this vessel."
Added significance, David Bushnell, inventor of the world's first combat submarine known as "The Turtle," Was born in Saybrook. According to the Naval Historical Center, "The first Turtle was designed in 1771 by Bushnell, a Yale student, and built with the help of his brother, Ezra, in 1775 at Saybrook, Conn." The Turtle saw action in the first days of the American Revolution.
Frese recently completed a four-year project with a previous class. They built a full-size replica of Bushnell's Turtle, which is now on display in the high school's lobby.
100510-N-6665M-129 GROTON, CONN. – Students and faculty from Old Saybrook High School gather for a picture on the brow of the attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 775). The students are building a submarine of their own to compete in the 11th International Submarine Races in Bethesda, Md., in June 2011. U.S. Navy photo by Electronics Technician 2nd Class Mark Moore/Released)