GROTON, Conn. – Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London’s auto hobby shop, run by civilian staff and active duty volunteers, reopened with a ribbon cutting ceremony, July 12.
Auto hobby shops exist on many Navy bases as places for personnel to work on their cars or learn how to. The shop was closed for a year and a half due to lack of funds. As a valuable money-saving feature for junior Sailors, SUBASE auto owners sorely missed the auto hobby shop.
“It has been shut down for quite a while,” said Electronics Technician (Navigation) 2nd Class Ryan Long, assigned to the auto hobby shop. “We are coordinating with MWR to keep this place up and running. I’ll be happy to see a lot of smiling faces with fixed vehicles. I will be more than happy to assist them to take care of their business.”
The shop was reopened in a small but spirited ceremony on a balmy summer day. Present to give the blessing to the shop was Cmdr. Jamie Stall-Ryan, SUBASE New London command chaplain, who has used similar auto shops on other bases his entire Navy career.
“Since 1985, I have been using auto hobby shops at all bases that have them, and really missed them at the ones that didn’t,” said Stall-Ryan. “I remember using the paint booths, swapping out engines, replacing exhaust, doing my brakes. It is a great place for service members who have cars to save a lot of money. I’ve always found that if I got stuck on something, there was somebody there to help me through it. It is a great place to come and work on your car and realize how easy it really is!”
SUBASE New London’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) operates the auto hobby shop with the help of active duty Sailor volunteers.
“It’s MWR facilitated but it takes the work of active duty volunteers to have the support to keep it open,” said Navy Diver 1st Class Paul Averill, assigned to Naval Submarine School’s submarine escape trainer.
The Auto Hobby Shop is open on Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The shop is located in Building 460 at the end of Thresher Avenue, near Gate 5. For more information, call (860) 694-3582.