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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patches contributed by Mike Smolinski

Blueback (SS-581)

Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Foxtrot - Sierra

Barbel Class Submarine: Laid down, 15 April 1957, at Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, Pasgagoula, MS.; Launched, 16 May 1959; Commissioned, USS Blueback (SS-581), 15 October 1959; Decommissioned, 1 October 1990, at San Diego, Cal., Point Loma Submarine Base; Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet; Struck from the Naval Register, 30 October 1990; Final Disposition, Donated to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, OR. in February 1994, where she is on permanent display as a museum ship, opened to the public, 15 May 1994.

Specifications: Displacement, Surface 1,745.56 t.(lt), 2,316.64 t. (fl), Submerged: 2, 644.45 t.; Length 218' 1" ; Beam 29'; Draft 29' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 15 kts, Submerged (snorkel) 12 kts, (battery) 21 kts; Maximum Operating Depth, 712 ft.; Complement 85; Armament, six 21" torpedo tubes (bow), 18 torpedo capacity including 6 loaded Sensors 2 periscopes, active sonar, passive sonar, radar, ECM; Propulsion, Surface Propulsion 3 Fairbanks-Morse 38d(8 1/8)x10 diesel engines Designed SHP continuous: 3150 Designed RPM: 162 1 shaft, 1 propeller Fuel capacity: 112,000 gallons Cruising Distance: 19,000 miles without refueling Submerged Propulsion (Snorkel) Designed SHP: 2400 Designed RPM: 52 Submerged Propulsion (Battery) 2 General Electric motors Designed SHP: 4800 Designed RPM: 198 Maximum safe astern RPM: 110 Endurance at full speed: 0.5 hours Endurance at 3 knots: 102.0 hours
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Blueback 82k Wrapped in bunting from stem to stern, the Blueback (SS-581) starts her slides down the launching ways at Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, Pasgagoula, MS., 16 May 1959. USN / USNI photo.
Blueback 240k Blueback (SS-581) is waterborne. USN photo # 1041791 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 150k Commemorative pamphlet of Blueback's (SS-581) launching, at Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, Pasgagoula, MS., 16 May 1959. Courtesy of Ken Hart.
Blueback 221k The Blueback (SS-581) is commissioned, 15 October 1959. USN photo # 1046652 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 181k Blueback (SS-581), underway, probably during her sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico, circa 1959-60. Courtesy of John Hummel.
Blueback 70k Blueback (SS-581), underway, probably during her sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico, circa 1959-60. USN photo taken from The American Submarine, by Norman Polmar & submitted by Robert Hurst.
Gautier 86k LCDR. Robert Henry Gautier was the commanding officer of the Blueback (SS-581) from October 1959 to July 1961. Photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Blueback 366k The Blueback (SS-581), 10 October 1967. USN photo # NPC KM-15601 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 39k Blueback (SS-581), in San Francisco Bay. With the low buildings in the immediate background (which may be a portion of Fisherman's wharf) probably headed out to the Golden Gate. Circa mid 70'? Text courtesy of OMC J. Reid Pallady USNR-RET. Photo courtesy of Historic Naval Ships Association (hnsa.org)
Blueback 217k Blueback's (SS-581) torpedo room, 1975. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 808k The Blueback (SS-581) comes close to being nuclear. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 468k E is the 4th letter in Blueback (SS-581). USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 348k Blueback (SS-581) in blue waters. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 527k Hawaiian Blueback (SS-581). USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 870k Freshwater Blueback (SS-581). USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 473k Flip the Blueback's (SS-581) number upside down and you get 281. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Blueback 30k The breakfast of champions & Blueback's (SS-581) mess, along with a series of interior shots showing the # 1 engine & freshwater still plus a paneled panel. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Grayback308kThree of one of a kind: Blueback (SS-581), Darter (SS-576) & Grayback (SSG-574), some where at some time. Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Photo added 05/10/13.
Ballast Point, San Diego48kAn Oil on Masonite painting by the artist John Charles Roach, entitled "Ballast Point, San Diego", depicts sub base with subs and tenders at the pier in San Diego during mid 1986. The tenders were possibly the: McKee (AS-42) for Subron 7 & Dixon (AS-37) for Subron 3.
Among the subs were the:
Dolphin (AGSS-555):
Gudgeon (SS-567):
Albacore (AGSS-569):
Barbel (SS-580):
Blueback (SS-581):
Permit (SSN-594):
Plunger (SSN-595):
Pollack (SSN-603)
Haddo (SSN-604):
Guardfish (SSN-612):
Haddock (SSN-621):
Sturgeon (SSN-637):
Gurnard (SSN-662) :
Hawkbill (SSN-666):
Pintado (SSN-672):
Drum (SSN-677):
William H. Bates (SSN-680):
La Jolla (SSN-701):
Portsmouth (SSN-707) &
Salt Lake City (SSN-716).
Ballast Point, San Diego
John Charles Roach 1986.5
Oil on Masonite , 1986, courtesy of the USNHC, # 88-163-CR.
Text contributed by OMC J. Reid Pallady USNR-RET & QM2(SS) David Johnston, USNR.
Blueback 112k Blueback (SS-581) gets an escort in 1987. Photo courtesy of Chris Howell via Gary Priolo.
Blueback 29k Commemorative post card marking the Blueback's (SS-581), appearance at Seattle's Sea Fair Fleet Week, August 1989. Courtesy of Richard Leonhardt.
Blueback 427k The attack submarine Blueback (SS-581) lays tied up to the pier at the submarine base at San Diego om 23 February 1990. The Blueback, a diesel-electric submarine, is scheduled for decommissioning after more than 30 years of active service. The submarine tender Mckee (AS-41) is in the background.
USN photo # DN-SN-90-06767 by PH2 Mike Poche, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Blueback 110k A lieutenant sits at an engine control panel aboard the attack submarine Blueback (SS-581) at the submarine base at San Diego on 23 February 1990.
USN photo # DN-SN-90-06764 by PH2 Mike Poche, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Blueback 201k A petty officer works at a control panel for the No. 3 main generator aboard the attack submarine Blueback (SS-581) at the submarine base at San Diego on 23 February 1990.
USN photo # DN-SN-90-06761 by PH2 Mike Poche, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Blueback 43k Commemorative postal cover issued on the occasion of the Blueback's (SS-581) decommissioning, 1 October 1990. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Blueback 318k The Blueback (SS-581) at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, OR. Photo contributed by Mike Brock courtesy of Tom Bateman.
Blueback 70.2m Cutout of the Blueback (SS-581) at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, OR.
98 photo PDF file of a walking tour of the Blueback in December 2009.
Photos contributed by Robert Hall.

View the Blueback (SS-581)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
US Submarine Veterans - USS Blueback (SS-581)
Visitor's Guide to Historic Naval Ships - USS Blueback (SS-581)

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This page is created and maintained by Michael Mohl
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