Newly Commissioned and Opened to the Public
Too often by-passed by both submariners and other travelers headed south on 1-95 is historic St. Marys, Georgia, the home of the nation’s newest submarine base at Kings Bay. The exit to St. Marys and Kings Bay is the last one before crossing over the St. Marys River which separates Georgia from Florida.
Historic St. Marys, in itself a wonderful tourist attraction, is also the home of the new St. Marys Submarine Museum. Since the Kings Bay Submarine Base only offers tours of the upper base, it was felt that visitors to the area should have the opportunity to learn more about submarines and their long history of contribution to the defense of our country.
The museum is located in what had been an old movie theater that has been extensively renovated at a cost of over $100,000 with monies raised from the community. The officers and enlisted personnel of the Kings Bay Submarine Base have been enthusiastic supporters of the museum project and have donated many hours of time, as well as money, to aid in the construction effort. The museum was officially adopted by the Kings Bay Chief Petty Officers’ Association representing all Kings Bay commands.
After 16 months of planning, fund raising, and construction, as well as the vigorous search for display materials, the museum was commissioned on March 30, 1996. The Grand Commissioning ceremony, attended by hundreds of active duty and retired military personnel as well as civilians, featured a presentation by Rear Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey, USN(Ret.), recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his submarine combat experience in World War D.
A working periscope that visitors can operate themselves and many displays of submarine models, historical data and memorabilia make this museum a wonderful place for veterans to reminisce and for others to learn and to appreciate the contributions of our submarines over the many years since the first United State a submarines were launched.
The museum is also a tribute to the many people whose enthusiasm turned this dream into reality. The short turn off 1-95 to visit the St. Marys Submarine Museum is well worth the effort and should be placed on every submariner’s must list when planning his travels.
Although well stocked with displays, the museum would welcome memorabilia or other submarine artifacts, either· as a loan or for permanent display, from ‘DIE SUBMARINE REVIEW readers. Credit is prominently provided on each display and it is a proud moment for many visitors when they can point out to relatives or friends their own part in making submarine history. Artifacts Chairman John Crouse can be reached at the museum by calling (912) 882-ASUB (2782) or by mail at 117 Osborne Road, St. Marys, Georgia 31558, for answers to any questions.
U.S. submarine veterans and enthusiasts are invited to the 34th International Submariner’s Convention being held in 1997 at Friedrichsbafen, on Lake Constance, Germany from April 30 to May 3. For further information, contact: John Maguire (406) 449-6054 or CDR Jilrgen Weber in Stamberg, Germany 49-8151-2486.