Executive Director’s Message:
For its legendary support in the Revolutionary War, President George Washington called Connecticut the Provisions State. From the beginning of America’s democracy, Connecticut has played a key role in producing the diverse and highest quality human and physical resources for our nation’s defense.
Units of the Connecticut National Guard are dispersed in armories and other facilities across the state. Throughout its long history, dating back to colonial militias, guard units have responded to state and national emergencies and performed combat operations around the world. The Connecticut National Guard is headquartered next to the State Capitol in Hartford, in the massive State Armory and Arsenal building, dedicated by President William H. Taft in 1909.
In 1794, after the Continental Congress decided to create a United States Navy, an expedition sailed from New London, to retrieve live oak, the hardest wood available, to build America’s first warships at different shipyards along the east coast. These ships were not modified merchant vessels. They were designed from the keel up to be warships. One of them, the USS Constitution, remains the oldest commissioned warship in the world.
The naval base in Groton was originally a Naval Yard and Storage Depot established in 1868. It was built on land donated by the people of Connecticut. The State Legislature provided $15,000 and the City of New London appropriated $75,000 for the purchase of land on the east bank of the Thames River in the New London harbor. In 1916 the base was designated the nation’s first Naval Submarine Base and home of the Submarine School.
The first land-based campus of the Coast Guard Academy was established at Fort Trumbull in 1910 and then moved to land donated by the City of New London in 1915. The Coast Guard Academy is the single officer accession source of all commissioned officers for the U.S. Coast Guard. The men and women of the Coast Guard serve at stations ashore and aboard cutters deployed throughout the U.S. and in every ocean.
Since the first days of our democracy, Connecticut’s defense manufacturing industry has continued without interruption. The ships, submarines, aircraft, jet engines, helicopters, firearms and advanced weapon systems built in Connecticut reflect our state’s continuous innovation and highly skilled workforce. Connecticut’s defense industry and military bases produce billions of dollars in economic activity throughout the state, in large and small businesses in virtually every municipality.
Today, residents should be proud of Connecticut’s long history as the Provisions State. It is part of our character, embedded in the economic fabric of our state and a legacy to be carefully protected. The Office of Military Affairs will continue to seek opportunities to enhance military and defense industry presence in Connecticut and advocate for the many organizations and people in our state who serve and support our nation’s defense.
-Robert. T. Ross