United states of America
Royal Australian Navy
Every submariner who has sailed on deterrent patrol for more than 30 days are awarded a silver pin – gold pins are Awarded to submariners who have served on 20 or more patrols.
Faslane Naval base
Situated on the Gare Loch, and the RN Armaments Depot Coulport on Loch Long, are the primary components of HM Naval Base Clyde. The Naval shore establishment at Faslane is HMS Neptune. Both the Gareloch and Loch Long are sea lochs extending northwards from the Firth of Clyde. The base serves as home base to the United Kingdom's fleet of Vanguard-class nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines, as well as conventionally-armed nuclear powered submarines, supported by the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines.
In command of HMNB Clyde is the Naval Base Commander (Clyde), Commodore C J Hockley. The base is home to a number of lodger units including Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland (FOSNNI) (who is also Flag Officer Reserves/FORes), the Northern Diving Group and the Scottish Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency. It is base to 3,000 service personnel, 800 of their families and 4,000 civilian workers, largely from Babcock Marine, forming a major part of the economy of Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire.
Faslane was first constructed and used as a base in World War II. During the 1960s, the United Kingdom began negotiating the Polaris Sales Agreement with the United States regarding the purchase of a Polaris missile system to fire UK-built Nuclear weapons from five specially constructed submarines. In the end, only four were constructed; Resolution, Repulse, Renown and Revenge. These four submarines were permanently based at Faslane.
Faslane itself was chosen as the base at the height of the Cold War because of its geographic position, which forms a bastion on the relatively secluded but deep and easily navigable Gare Loch and Firth of Clyde on the west coast of Scotland. This position provides for rapid and stealthy access through the North Channel to the submarine patrolling areas in the North Atlantic, through the GIUK gap to the Norwegian Sea. One boat was always on patrol at any given time. In times of political instability, sometimes two boats would be deployed at sea.
Vanguard class SSBNsIn the 1980s, the British Government announced plans to replace the Resolution class submarines carrying UGM-27 Polaris with the newly developed Trident missile system on the new Vanguard class submarines, also to be based at Faslane. These submarines were named:
Astute class SSNsHMS Astute (S119) arrived at home port, Faslane, for the first time on the 20th November 2009. Faslane will be home port to the Astute class submarine SSNs for the foreseeable future.
HMS Astute is the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered Fleet submarines. Commissioned in August 2010, Astute is one of the most "advanced submarines in the world".
HelensburghHelensburgh today acts as a commuter town for nearby Glasgow, with a population at the 2004 census of 20,626, and also serves as a main shopping centre for the area and for tourists attracted to the seaside resort. Helensburgh is also influenced by the presence of the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane on the Gare Loch, a major local employer. The town is a popular destination for day trippers.
The town is served by three railway stations, Helensburgh Upper on the West Highland Line, Craigendoran, on the North Clyde Line and Helensburgh Central, the terminus of the North Clyde Line.
The seafront has an indoor swimming pool, an esplanade walk and sailing facilities including Helensburgh Sailing Club.and the nearby marina at Rhu just beyond the town boundary. The streets are built on a gentle slope rising to the north east, and at the brow of the hill a golf club has views looking south out over the town to the Clyde, and to the north across nearby Loch Lomond to the Trossachs hills.
In a recent study, Helensburgh was shown to be the second most expensive town in which to buy property in Scotland.
The town is used extensively for the local Naval Base, Faslane which is the site that houses the British nuclear deterrent fleet of Vanguard class submarines. The base is only six miles away from the town. A significant amount of income for the town is generated by the base, its submarines and visiting vessels alike.
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The Holy Loch seen across the Firth of Clyde from Tower Hill, Gourock, with Hunters Quay on the left, and Strone to the right
Robertson's Yard at Sandbank, a village on the loch, was a major wooden boat building company in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
During World War II, the loch was used a submarine base. From 1961–1992, it was used as a US Polaris nuclear submarine base. In 1992, the Holy Loch base was deemed unnecessary following the demise of the Soviet Union and subsequently withdrawn.
Between 1961 and 1992, Holy Loch was the site of the United States Navy's "FBM Refit Site One". It was the home base of Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 14, part of Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. To make maximum usage of its submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) deterrent force, American military had determined that it required an overseas base for refit and crew turnover.
Holy Loch was one of several locations on or near the Firth of Clyde considered for the refit site. Others were Faslane, the channel between Largs and Cumbrae, Rosneath Bay, and Rothesay Bay. Site selection criteria included the requirements for a sheltered anchorage, relative proximity to an international airport, and sufficient shore facilities to provide housing for military personnel and their families. Agreement for the use of Holy Loch was reached near the end of 1960 and the arrival of the first tender, USS Proteus (AS-19) scheduled for December. Divisions within the British government and concerns about protests by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) caused her arrival to be rescheduled to 3 March 1961.
USS Proteus AS-19
Between 1961 and 1982, the Naval Support Activity ashore was administered by US Naval Activities London. In 1982, Naval Support Activity (NAVSUPPACT), Forward Base, Holy Loch, Scotland became its own command. NAVSUPPACT ultimately managed 42 facilities and leased 342 housing units for Navy personnel and their dependents.
A person of note who served at the Holy Loch was Laurel Clark, known to her shipmates as “Doc Salton”, who was assigned as the Radiation Health Officer and Undersea Medical Officer at SUBRON 14. “Doc” was one of the astronauts who perished in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on 1 February 2003.
In 1992, the base was deemed unnecessary following the demise of the Soviet Union and subsequently withdrawn. The last submarine tender to be based there, the USS Simon Lake (AS-33), left Holy Loch in June 1992 leading to a major downturn in the local economy and prompting protest from local taxi drivers and publicans. However, the area is becoming vibrant again with new homes having been built and the population expanding once more.
In the 1968 film Ice Station Zebra, reference is made to the Navy base. The 1988 film Down Where The Buffalo Go was centred on the base and focussed on the life of a Navy Shore patrol officer. It was filmed around the base and in Greenock.
Holy Loch is mentioned in both the novel Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy and Larry Bond and the computer game from MicroProse based on the book. It is mentioned in the 1982 film Who Dares Wins.
It is mentioned in The Apocalypse Troll by David Weber as the site that Captain Richard Aston USN sails to after rescuing Ludmilla Leonovna, Terran Marines. He also notes that the tender on duty is the USS McKee (AS-41), and that it now 'nurses' Los Angeles and Seawolf subs, not missile boats. (The McKee was decommissioned on October 1, 1999).
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