The USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear powered submarine, reopened for public tours Friday after a $36 million preservation project.
Located at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, the Nautilus is the only nuclear powered naval vessel available to the public for general visitation. To celebrate the historic ship's return to public display, a large crowd gathered for a ceremony Friday afternoon.
Vice Admiral William Houston said that the Nautilus, which served the Navy for more than 25 years, has left a legacy that drives the force today.
"It has really epitomized our undersea advantage as a nation," said Vice Adm. Houston.
Joseph Franks, a Nautilus veteran from Preston, attended the ceremony. He served on the Nautilus from 1970 to 1974.
“It’s a little heart-moving, just the fact that I was part of history," Franks said. “To be on the first one, at the time I didn’t realize what it meant, but I learned fairly soon.”
The Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980 and named a national historic landmark in 1982. The preservation has ensured the historic ship will be able to be active at the museum for the next 30 years, according to the Navy New London Public Affairs Office.
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