The Navy’s newest submarine will have a familiar name: USS Long Island.
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced the planned vessel during a Fleet Week media event at Pier 88 South in Manhattan on Thursday, Navy officials said. Del Toro said the ship will be dedicated to the “service” and “commitment” of Long Islanders in the Navy.
“Long Islanders have stood up to the call of duty, serving with George Washington and throughout all the different conflicts in our nation’s history,” Del Toro told CBS New York in making the announcement.
Lt. Marycate Walsh, a Navy Fleet Week spokesperson, said that the USS Long Island will be a Virginia-class attack submarine, a 377-foot-long nuclear-powered vessel. Virginia class submarines carry a crew of 15 naval officers and 117 enlisted submariners. The vessels are equipped with a dozen Tomahawk missiles, according to a Navy fact sheet.
The Navy will increase Virginia-class submarine investments with two procurements per year through 2026 to meet demand, according to its 2023 Shipbuilding Plan. Those vessels will enter service beginning in 2028, according to a congressional report written by a Naval Affairs specialist and updated last week. Navy submarines have historically been named for states, but with only two state names currently available, the Navy has begun to deviate from traditional naming conventions, the congressional report states.
The names of important places in U.S. naval history are typically used for dock-landing ships. USS Long Island was the name of a Naval escort carrier that operated during World War II, according to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. The vessel patrolled for German submarines along the East Coast of the United States and delivered Grumman Wildcats and pilots during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942, the museum details in its “Air Power at Sea” exhibit.
Long Island Sound is home to Naval Submarine Base New London, which stretches along the east side of the Thames River in Connecticut. The base, which opened in 1916 after previously operating as a naval yard, is considered the Navy’s first submarine base. Virtually all Navy submariners train at the facility at some point in their careers, according to the base’s website.
The small hamlet of New Suffolk on the North Fork also claims its own history as the Navy’s first submarine base, though the facility there was privately owned. Holland Torpedo Boat Station was open on the hamlet’s waterfront, now the site of a restaurant and marina, from 1899 to 1905, according to the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council. USS Holland, the first submarine commissioned by the Navy, was one of seven submarines based at the site for trials.
“It was one of the earliest submarine experiments,” said Mark MacNish, executive director of the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council. “It started in New York City but the shipping lanes there were found to be too dangerous. They moved it here, where it was still active, but much more quiet.”
The first trials of the USS Holland saw the vessel dive and travel one mile underwater along a government course between New Suffolk and Shelter Island, according to a July 26, 1899, article in The New York Times.
The Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council has a commemorative marker for the base along its waterfront and displays a hatch from one of the submarines and a model of the USS Holland at its Village Green property on Main Road in Cutchogue.
Fleet Week New York, now in its 35th year, ends Tuesday. More than 3,000 sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen visited the city this week for the celebration, which showcases the U.S. military’s maritime capabilities.