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CNN Today

Underwater Killing Machines: The Changing Role of Submarines

Aired July 3, 2000 - 1:31 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: You may not see them, but they're out there. Submarines patrol the seas 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And this year marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Navy's first submarine.

Subs have changed over the years, as CNN's Cynthia Tornquist reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CYNTHIA TORNQUIST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From "Run Silent, Run Deep" to "U-571," Americans' fascination with submarines has grown. Sunday, the USS Jacksonville, one of 60 fast-attack nuclear submarines, tied up in Earle, New Jersey. This stealthy, underwater killing machine packs its destructive power with torpedoes, mines and Tomahawk missiles.

CMDR. FRANK CALDWELL, USS JACKSONVILLE: Our mission is to go hunt and find other submarines and attack surface ships.

TORNQUIST: The USS Jacksonville is one of 10 American warships taking part in the International Naval Review and OpSail festivities in New York Harbor. This undersea arsenal is as long as a football field and costs $2 billion. That's a far cry from the first submarine, built by John Holland in 1900, which he sold to the Navy for $150,000.

Over the past 100 years, the role of the submarine has changed.

CALDWELL: We are still capable of providing a reconnaissance asset, but with the inclusion of Tomahawk missiles on board a submarine, we become a tool for conducting strikes.

TORNQUIST (on camera): This submarine has the ability to be deployed anywhere around the world. It also has the ability to strike targets in the water or on land with pinpoint accuracy.

(voice-over): Submarines can stay submerged up to six months or until the food runs out. The living quarters are tight for the 140 men on board.

CHRIS ANDRES, TORPEDO MAN: Privacy is something you learn that you don't have much of.

TORNQUIST: The average age of a submariner is 23 years old; 21- year-old Derrick Jones of New York drives the boat.

(on camera): Compare driving a submarine to driving a car.

DERRICK JONES, HELMSMAN: It's a lot bigger. It's -- you don't really require a license for it.

TORNQUIST (voice-over): You certainly wouldn't want to get a fender-bender in one of these.

Cynthia Tornquist, CNN, Colts Neck, New Jersey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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