Lawmaker calls activists slipping onto Kings Bay base 'embarrassing'

Bond denied for 7 protesters charged with vandalism on nuclear sub base

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

ST. MARYS, Ga. - A lawmaker who represents the Kings Bay Naval base said Friday that it was "beyond embarrassing" that seven members of an anti-war activist group were able to slip onto the nuclear submarine base and damage property before they were caught.

The protesters were all denied bond Friday morning on charges of trespassing, defacing government property and possession of tools used to commit a crime.

According to a news release from the Kings Bay Plowshares group, the seven Catholic activists got onto the St. Marys base Wednesday night, carrying hammers, "baby bottles of their own blood," and signs with anti-nuclear weapons messages.

The Kings Bay Plowshares arrested Thursday were:

  • Clare Grady, 59, Ithaca, New York
  • Martha Hennessey, 62, Perkinsville, Vermont
  • Carmen Trotta, 55, New York City
  • Elizabeth McAlister, 78, Baltimore
  • Patrick O’Neil, 61, Garner, North Carolina
  • Mark Corville, 55, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Stephen Kelly, 69, Los Gatos, California

Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Savannah, who has four military bases in his district, including Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, said he is concerned about the national security implications of the seven protesters being able to get onto the fully fenced base.

“This is beyond embarrassing,” Carter said. “We have no room for errors to be made like this.”

ACTIVISTS' PHOTOS: 'Plowshares' protest, vandalism at Kings Bay

The group's Facebook post said the men and women divided up and went to the administration building, the D5 Missile monument installation and the nuclear weapons storage bunkers with crime scene tape, hammers and banners reading: 

  • "The ultimate logic of racism is genocide" -- Dr. Martin Luther King (Jr.)
  • "The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide"
  • "Nuclear weapons: illegal -- immoral."

Carter said he wants the activists prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“What they did was very serious and very wrong,” Carter said.

According to the group's Facebook page, Magistrate Jennifer Lewis acknowledged that the seven activists didn't pose a flight risk but denied them bond because she believed they could be a threat to the community because they might return to the base.

The Camden County Sheriff's Office said the seven protesters could be in jail for some time. They will likely submit motions for another bond hearing.

King's Bay is the Navy's Atlantic Ocean Trident port with six ballistic missile subs and two guided missile subs.

The base began as Military Ocean Terminal Kings Bay for the U.S. Army in 1954, and in 1978 became a submarine support base for the Navy.

It has been a full nuclear Navy sub base since 1982.

The vessels currently assigned to Kings Bay are:

Ballistic Missile Submarines

  • USS Maryland (SSBN 738)
  • USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740)
  • USS Tennessee (SSBN 734)
  • USS West Virginia (SSBN 736)
  • USS Wyoming (SSBN 742)
  • USS Alaska (SSBN 732)

Guided Missile Submarines

  • USS Florida (SSGN 728)
  • USS Georgia (SSGN 729)

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