Monday, April 1, 2019

A Look Back At A Floating Naval Base: Site One At The Old U.S. Nuclear Submarine Base At Holy Loch, Scotland

I came across the above photo of the old Site One U.S. nuclear submarine floating base at Holy Loch, Scotland.

During the Cold War American nuclear submarines patrolled the seas and countered Soviet submarines. The Holy Loch base served as a home port for the submarines of Command Submarine Squadron 14 (COMSUBRON 14).  

The floating base in the middle of the loch had a submarine tender (on the right in the photo), a ship that dropped anchor and serviced visiting submarines with supplies, repairs and other support.

The base also had a floating dry dock (on the left in the photo), that, like an elevator, sunk down into the loch and allowed submarines and other craft to float in. Then the dry dock rose up again and lifted the submarine out of the water. Once out of the water, the dry dock sailors could work on the sub's hull and do other repairs and maintenance.

Lastly, the floating barge (in the center of the photo)  had a large crane, repair shops and living quarters for sailors. Service craft, like small boats that shuttled sailors to and from the base to the pier, and U.S. Navy 100-foot harbor tugboats (like the below photo), tied up to the floating barge.

The two tugboats were the workhorses of the base.

In 1974 and 1975 I served on one of the two tugboats, the USS Saugus, YTB 780. Along with the other tugboat, the USS Natick, the two tugboats performed a variety of tasks in the loch and at sea.

You can read more about Site One and Scotland and see other photos via the below link:

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