ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Community Calendar

Community Artists Program
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Charlestown

Pancakes 4 a Purpose
8 a.m. - 10 a.m. Charlestown

... View all of today's events


Stay Connected
Friends to Follow


ADVERTISEMENT


Navy cuts base command staff


GROTON — The top officer at the oldest U.S. submarine base, an admiral whose ties to Groton date back to his birth, may become the last flag officer to serve here as his submarine group is eliminated in a Navy streamlining.

Rear Adm. Kenneth Perry, a career submarine officer with responsibility for all 23 U.S. attack submarines on the East Coast, is retiring Friday at the same ceremony where his Submarine Group 2 will be formally disestablished.

The submarines assigned to Groton are staying put at the Naval Submarine Base, along with the Navy’s submarine school and medical research laboratory, but it remains unknown whether an admiral will again reside in a city that bills itself as the submarine capital of the world.

Perry, 53, said in an interview that various submarine squadrons are taking over the command-and-control responsibilities from the group. But he said individual submarine commanders will carry a heavier burden under the reorganization, which is cutting the support staff for attack submarines based in Connecticut and Virginia by about 50 percent.

“What that means is that it’s essential that every submarine be very diligently focused on the readiness of their crew and ship,” Perry said. “We’re getting leaner. Every person counts. Every boat counts.”

Perry’s father was a young officer on the Groton-based USS Hardhead, a diesel submarine, when he met Perry’s mother, then a student at Connecticut College in New London. Perry was born in New London and, like other submariners, passed through Groton for training as he climbed the ranks.

Navy service is a tradition for his family. His three brothers each joined, including a submarine squadron commander and another who served in two submarines. One of Perry’s sons is assigned to a submarine based in Hawaii, and another is a Navy helicopter pilot in San Diego.

Any change in standing is closely watched at the base in Groton, a huge driver of the local economy that came close to being shut down in 2005 under a Pentagon base realignment process. But officials say the admiral’s departure doesn’t diminish the importance of the base to the submarine force.

“Recent events strengthen the fact that we’re the closest to Europe and the North Atlantic. Frankly, we’re the closest to North Korea if you go under the ice,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District. He said Perry’s retirement from the Navy is “a real loss to the country.”

Under the streamlining, the 45 people assigned to Submarine Group 2 are being reassigned, according to Lt. Timothy Hawkins, a Navy spokesman.

The submarines will report to an admiral overseeing the Atlantic sub force from Virginia.

Hawkins said the change will bring attack submarines on the East Coast in line with the way the command is structured on the West Coast.

In retirement, Perry said, he plans to spend more time his family but has not announced future plans. One order of business is changing the license plate on his silver Porsche, which says: “SUBGRU2.”



Back to State
Top Stories of the Week

Councilor seeks review of Ritacco’s actions on zoning board …
WESTERLY — A member of the Town Council is asking the council to initiate proceedings aimed at removing Zoning Board of Review Chairman Robert Ritacco … more ...

Police logs: Thursday, July 2, 2015 …
Richmond Kari L. Scholle, 26, of 370 Hillsdale Road, Richmond, was charged on June 24 with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. She … more ...

Belting it out at Fenway: Grillo to sing national anthem …
PAWCATUCK — It came as no surprise to Michael Grillo’s friends and family when they heard he’d hit it out of the park during his … more ...

Hearing on Westerly quarry violations moved up …
The Zoning Board of Review plans to conduct a hearing later this month on appeals of zoning violation citations filed by Westerly Granite Co. Inc. … more ...

9 arrested, 22 cited in North Stonington spot check …
NORTH STONINGTON — State troopers arrested nine people and cited 22 others following a concentrated enforcement Saturday along Route 2. Connecticut State Police said the … more ...

Comments