Friday, January 18, 2008

Cold War Sailors Build Replica

Veterans build replica of submarine

Photobucket OCALA - Frank Holland and Ken Cole, two U.S. Navy submarine veterans, are active participants with the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Nautilus Base.

"After we got the local chapter of Submarine Veterans started, we decided our group needed a project to give us cohesiveness," Holland said. "We started looking around for a project that would interest them."

The two men came up with the idea of building a replica of the Nautilus submarine, the first sub to make an underwater crossing at the North Pole.

Holland, a 22-year veteran, served on the Nautilus and was part of the crew to receive a New York City ticker-tape parade in 1958.

Cole, a four year veteran, served on the USS Trumpetfish, doing maneuvers during the Cold War era with the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet.

The Nautilus was the first nuclear powered boat, with a diesel engine back-up to get where it needed to go if repairs were needed.

"The first submarine, the Huntley, was built during the Civil War," Cole said. The Huntley was found about five years ago in Charleston Bay, S.C., and is on display there.

Cole went on to say that submarines were counted as 27 percent of the Navy and were used to sink 52 percent of Japanese merchant and war ships.

The local group's replica of the Nautilus was built to 1/13th scale. Holland is an engineer and machinist, and built many of the parts. A Boeing B-25 drop fuel tank was donated to the group by Hoffman Air Boats in Inverness.

Holland and Cole called the Nautilus Museum in Groton, CT, for information on the boat. "They sent us the blueprints for the Nautilus," Cole said.

Holland took them to Staples and had them blown up until the boat was exactly 24 feet. He made a template of the tank and laid it against the pressure hull of the Nautilus to make sure they started with an exact fit.

"Hoffman also donated a trailer the size of a small mobile home, so we could make the project mobile and have something to carry it on when we finished," Cole said.

The project had the exact effect on their Nautilus veterans group they hoped for. Everyone got in on the act and it took two years to complete the project.

The next time you are at an event at the Ocala-Marion County Veterans Park, look around. The replica of the Nautilus will most likely be there.

In September, Holland plans to take the replica to New London, Conn., for the 50th anniversary celebration of the vessel's crossing at the North Pole.

For some interesting reading about the Nautilus and other submarines, try "Thunder Below" by Rear Adm. Eugene Fluckey; "Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Espionage" by authors Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew and Annette Lawrence Drew; "The Silent War: The Cold War Battle Beneath the Sea" by John Pena Craven; and the reference book, "U.S. Submarines Chronology: A Century of Silent Service."

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