A spiny fish with a short, broad body which grows to one foot in length. Batfish are generally found in shallow waters from the Chesapeake Bay to the West Indies.
(SSN-681: dp. 3,860 (surf.), 4,630 (subm.); l. 292'; b. 32'; dr. 29'; s. 20+ k.; cpl. 107; a. 4 21" tt., SUBROC; cl. Sturgeon)
The second Batfish (SSN-681) was laid down on 9 February 1970 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 9 October 1971; sponsored by Mrs. Arthur R.Gralla; and commissioned on 1 September 1972, Comdr. Richard E. Enkeboll in command.
Batfish reported to her homeport, Charleston, S.C., on 7 October and then conducted shakedown operations in the West Indies through November. Next, weapons testing and inspections occupied the nuclear submarine during the first six months of 1973. On 16 July, she returned to Electric Boat Division for post-shakedown availability. Early in November, Batfish left the shipyard and proceeded back to Charleston. Following type training and a weapons inspection, she entered upkeep for the holiday season. In January and early February 1974, the submarine conducted weapons and engineering training. Late in February, she entered Alamogordo (ARDM-2) for modification of system installed in support of a special Navy project. Batfish then returned to New London for evaluation of the system and for refresher training. In early April, she made a brief cruise to the Bahama Islands for sound trials. Upon her return to home port, the warship began an extended upkeep period.
Late in the spring of 1974, Batfish deployed to the eastern Atlantic to support a major antisubmarine warfare (ASW) operation. After completing that task, she visited Portland, England, before returning to Charleston late in June. The submarine next took part in a large fleet exercise held in the Jacksonville, Fla., operating area. During August and September, Batfish took part in another pair of wide-ranging exercises: a sea control group crossing to the Norwegian Sea and NATO Exercise "Northern Merger." The submarine moored in her home port once again in early October and, later that month, commenced a restricted availability at the Charleston Naval Shipyard.
She completed the repairs early in December and, then, spent the first three months of 1975 engaged in type training, torpedo exercises, and individual ship exercises--although she also participated in the technical evaluation of a newly designed bathythermograph. In April, the warship began preparing for an extended assignment overseas. Late in May, Batfish received further modifications to her experimental system and returned to New London for testing. Following last minute testing, the submarine left the east coast on 23 July to carry out special operations in the Atlantic. On 26 August, Batfish entered the Mediterranean. While there, she participated in a number of ASW operations in conjunction with the 6th Fleet. Batfish made her first port visit after 53 days at sea at Taranto, Italy. She left Taranto on 16 September and began another series of special operations. The submarine also took part in NATO Exercise "Deep Express." Batfish arrived at La Maddalena, Italy, on 7 October, for the first of two technical availabilities alongside Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16).
Batfish returned to sea on 30 October; took part in NATO Exercise "Devil Foil;" and provided ASW services to naval units from Turkey, Great Britain, Italy, and the United States. She entered port at La Spezia, Italy, on 17 November for a five-day visit. Upon leaving La Spezia, the submarine sailed to the Ionian Sea, where she and other American ships joined French, Italian, and Turkish naval units to carry out NATO Exercise "Dogfish" between 24 November and 2 December. Batfish returned to La Maddalena on the 9th and moored alongside Howard W. Gilmore once again. Unexpectedly ordered back to sea on 20 December, the submarine spent the rest of the year engaged in special operations and, then, made her final Mediterranean port call at Naples between 2 and 7 January 1976, before embarking on the voyage back to the United States. She reached Charleston on 1 February.
Following a post-deployment upkeep, she carried out type training and local operations and also provided services to other submarines and surface units preparing for deployment. Batfish conducted a midshipman training cruise in June and July before returning to Charleston for a month of upkeep from 26 July to 23 August. She left that port on 31 August, bound for the eastern Atlantic. There, she took part in NATO Exercise "Teamwork 76" and then visited Faslane, Scotland, from 28 September to 4 October. Upon leaving that port, the submarine operated with British and Dutch air and surface forces and was also involved in a location and recovery mission. On 2 November, Batfish returned to Faslane for a week's visit. On the 10th, she left European waters and traveled back to Charleston. She stopped briefly at Charleston on 7 December but put to sea once again almost immediately for a special operation. Batfish returned to Charleston on the 18th and began holiday leave and upkeep.
After spending the first two months of 1977 in a restricted availability, the submarine returned to sea for trials and inspections. On 23 May, she left Charleston for special operations in the Atlantic. Batfish replenished at Holy Loch, Scotland, on 21 and 22 July and then paid a visit to Bremerhaven, Germany, between the 25th and the 29th. From there, she headed back to the United States and arrived at Charleston on 14 August.
A period devoted largely to tests and inspections followed in the wake of post-deployment standdown. Batfish began a period of upkeep at Charleston on 31 October and ended it on 2 December, when she got underway for an extended special operation.
The warship returned from that mission on 10 January 1978 and spent the next seven weeks in port at Charleston. On 2 March, Batfish sailed for a two-month assignment in the Atlantic, from which she returned on 7 May. During the rest of May, June, and most of July, Batfish was in upkeep and training. Late in July, the submarine held a short midshipman familiarization cruise before departing Charleston on an unscheduled special operation on 29 July. A period of upkeep followed her return to port on 26 August. Getting underway again on 10 October, Batfish sailed to New London, where she entered the drydock to have some specialized equipment installed. From 19 October to 1 November, the submarine tested the new equipment in the waters between the Bahamas and Cape Canaveral, Fla.
After a brief upkeep period at Charleston, Batfish set out on 14 November to participate in "Gulfex 79," a multi-environment, multi-threat exercise held in the Gulf of Mexico. On her way back to Charleston, the warship visited Tampa and Cape Canaveral, Fla. Operating from the latter port, she took part in a series of operations with Army, Navy, and Marine Corps units before returning to Charleston on 9 December.
During January 1979, Batfish held torpedo firing exercises and in-port training. She got underway on 5 February for Norfolk, Va., where she began a non-refueling overhaul on 1 March at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Batfish left the shipyard on 6 June 1980. She then headed to the Naval Submarine School at Groton to carry out refresher training between 10 and 22 July. The submarine returned to Charleston on the 27th. Late in August, she conducted weapons testing at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and visited St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. She returned to the east coast in early September; operated with Carrier Group 8 in the Virginia capes area for three days, and then returned to the West Indies. After five days test firing torpedoes off Andros Island in the Bahamas, Batfish headed for Port Everglades, Fla., to take part in Project "Linear Chair" followed by acoustic trials in the Bahamas. Batfish arrived back in Charleston on 21 October for upkeep and local operations. After more torpedo exercises at Andros Island early in December, she returned to Charleston where she spent the rest of 1980.
Batfish remained in service until 17 March 1999 when she was decomissioned. She was struck from the Navy list on 17 March 1999 and disposed of by submarine recycling on 22 November 2002.
Updates pending for 1980-1999.
Raymond A. Mann
28 February 2006