Talk:USS Blueback (SS-581)

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The Hunt for Red October[edit]

It has come to be believed that Blueback served as a stand-in for the Dallas in the emergency surfacing scene. This belief is false. If you watch the scene in slow motion - you can see water draining from the torpedo tube shutters (just below and forward of the sail). The B-girls (Navy slang for the Barbel class) do not have admidships tubes - they have bow tubes. Furthermore, one can compare the sail planes, and again - they do not match the planes of a B-girl. Elde 23:15, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Source? Because everything I have seen puts the USS Blueback as the sub that did that scene. PPGMD 18:34, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
  • IMDb says both, "The USS Blueback features in the film. It is seen dramatically breaching the surface. Also, shots inside the Russian Alfa were taken in the Blueback's torpedo room", and, "During filming in 1989, the USS Houston, which was used as the USS Dallas in the movie,..."
  • USS Houston (SSN-713) says, "Houston is an experienced movie actor, initially starring in a Navy recruiting film and then getting her "big break" in June 1989 with a part in The Hunt for Red October (where she played her sister ship Dallas).
  • Houston's website says, "This classy lady has twice starred on the silver screen; initially in a Navy recruiting film and the[n] staring in the smash hit "The Hunt for Red October"."
  • has a picture of "Houston (SSN-713) broaching at full power, taken while filming "The Hunt for Red October" off the coast of Southern California, 1989." (It looks like a color version of the picture on wikipedia's Houston page.)
—wwoods 21:31, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

I am quite aware that many sources claim that it's Blueback. For the reasons I gave above - it cannot possibly be Blueback. Elde 23:15, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

It isn't the Blueback that surfaces. However, many shots inside of the submarine were used. Was the Blueback surfacing? No. Was it in the film? Yes. Ryoga-2003 23:12, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I can say for absolute fact that it was not the SS-581 in the emergency breach scene. The submarine filmed there was SSN-621, the USS Haddock, third vessel of that designation. The 621 was my father's submarine. Lok Revnants (talk) 21:24, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

It's can't be Haddock either - the shape and position of the sail and of the fairwater planes is wrong. It's a 688 class. (talk) 20:03, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

YouTube video[edit]

I deleted the link to the YouTube video - as the submarine in the video lacks the superstructure ('turtleback') that the Barbels have, and the sail is both too far back and the wrong shape. Almost certainly the submarine in the video is a 688. Elde 23:50, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

ss581 photo[edit]

I worked at Ingalls for 34yrs, and NUCLEAR sUBMARINES FOR 15YRS, i HAVE COLLECTED ALL OF THE Nuc's we built, but the Blueback picture has eluded me, I wonder if there is a good picture of her somewhere?

                                                               Arnold Parker  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:55, 24 August 2008 (UTC) 

Yes, send me an e-mail to and I will send you some. I have pics of both Bluebacks if you want. Noeckerbmc (talk) 00:01, 1 April 2013 (UTC)


I'm questioning the origin of the name. Many fish are called blueback; I have always heard it as a name for sockeye salmon. The article says the ship was named for the Beardslee trout. So my question is do ship namers actually get that technical? Was this some folks saying "we really need to honor the Beardslee trout" or was it more "how about we call this one blueback"?Busaccsb (talk) 05:09, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

A new editor recently made two edits, this and this, both with the edit summary Corrected type of fish that is a blueback. It is a salmon, not a trout or sturgeon. I reverted both because the change wasn't supported by a reliable source.

I left this message on Editor Noeckerbmc's talk page:

Welcome to Wikipedia.
You have made an edit to USS Blueback (SS-581) in which you make certain assertions about the fish for which the ship is named. The original text is supported, albeit not perfectly, by a source other than a declaration by a Wikipedia editor. Because your edit was not supported by a reliable source, I reverted your edit.
If you know of a reliable second source to support where Blueback got her name, then you are encouraged to change the article with an appropriate citation so that others may verify what you write.

Editor Noeckerbmc replied to me by email:

I received a note from you regarding my edit of the info about the USS Blueback. My information is correct, and I did include a cite (Sockeye Salmon link). If you will look at the wikipedia (or any other source) for sockeye salmon you will see that Blueback is another name for that salmon. I work on board the USS Blueback and know its history. If you want additional sources let me know. Once resolved I want to re-edit to the correct information. Thanks.

To which I have replied that this conversation ought to be moved here (where I should have put it in the first place). Conversations about an article should take place on the article's talk page so that everyone interested may have an opportunity to participate.

The claim in the lede is that Blueback is named for a particular type of fish in a particular lake. That claim is taken more-or-less a word-for-word from the Blueback entry in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. This is not a perfect source, and as far as I know and given that this topic has arisen before, there isn't any other source corroborating or contradicting the DANFS entry. We can get away with copying stuff from DANFS because it is in the public domain.

The claim that Blueback is named for a salmon isn't supported except by reference to the Wikipedia sockeye salmon article. That article does note that another name for the sockeye is blueback but it does not claim to be the name-source for Blueback. Were there a submarine called Silverback, one might claim that it was named for silverback gorillas; the other hand, of course, claiming that the name comes from silverback grizzlies. Without some sort of reliable source confirming one position or the other, how is the general reading public to know which is correct.

My last point is to return to WP:RS. There, in relatively clear and unambiguous language is this: Thus Wikipedia articles (or Wikipedia mirrors) are not reliable sources for any purpose.WP:WPNOTRS (emphasis not mine)

Because Editor Noeckerbmc is there on the ship, perhaps, among its papers and artifacts, is the answer to the question.

Trappist the monk (talk) 00:40, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

More from Noeckerbmc
I went to the talk page, I think you called it, where you posted your e-mail to me about the changes. I thought about adding notes and reference there, then decided to e-mail you here first.
All non-nuclear powered US attack Submarines were named for marine life. The SS-581 was named for the first Blueback, SS-326. Wiki page states the 326 was the first Navy vessel named for a type of salmon.
National Geographic states Blueback is another name for the Sockeye Salmon.
Your National Geographic source is a perfectly acceptable source for the claim made in this clause from the first sentence at sockeye salmon:
Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), also called red salmon or blueback salmon[1] in the United States, ... (citation added)
But, it still does not contradict the DANFS reference which, while not unequivocal, does strongly infer that both Bluebacks are named for a particular fish, also called blueback, that lives in a particular lake. Both Blueback articles cite DANFS and both of the cited reference articles at DANFS contain this sentence:
A form of the rainbow or steelhead trout found only in Lake Crescent on the Olympic peninsula in Washington state. The fish lives in deep water and is bluish black along its upper sides and whitish underneath.[2][3]
It is entirely unclear where the claim that USS Blueback (SS-326) is the "first submarine of the United States Navy to be named for a type of salmon" comes from. Except for that clause in the opening sentence, there is no mention of salmon or fish or naming in the article. The claim is not supported by a reliable source and should be challenged; remember WP:WPNOTRS.
  1. ^ "Sockeye Salmon Oncorhynchus nerka". National Geographic. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  2. ^ "USS Blueback (SS-326)". DANFS. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  3. ^ "USS Blueback (SS-581)". DANFS. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
Trappist the monk (talk) 01:13, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

So, here's the thing. the Naval historical command is shut down indefinitely. I took a picture of the commissioning plaque of the USS Blueback, SS 581. The plaque is permanently mounted to the bulkhead of the Blueback's ward room. On it, it says the Blueback was named for the salmon. It also has some other info including keel lay and commissioning dates. Will this satisfy Trappist the monk? I'm not sure how to handle this proof to your satisfaction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Noeckerbmc (talkcontribs) 23:11, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't know, upload the photo. Let's look at it. My gut reaction is that the plaque might fall under the category of primary source so care would need to be taken in its use. I can imagine the commissioning-crew captain giving one of his over-eager, non-qual ensigns or LTJGs (you know the type) the task of overseeing the manufacture of the plaque. Where did that junior officer get his information? What editing was required to fit the plaque?
Trappist the monk (talk) 00:34, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

n regard to Blueback's name. Commissioning plaques are NOT designed by "some junior officer". They may have a hand in it, but the plaque must stand approved by the Navy Dept and based on documented fact. This means stars (read that, flag officer(s)) are involved.

I now have some additional information to support my position on the USS Blueback's name. As such I want to make my original edits and have them stay. I would like to make the same changes to the info on the SS326 Blueback. My two sources and what they state are:

1. As stated above, the USS Blueback SS581 commissioning plaque is permanently attached to the bulkhead of the ward room of the Blueback It states,

"USS BLUEBACK SS 581 named for the Blueback Salmon" Then dates of keel laying and commissioning.

2. My second piece of evidence is found in the memorial booklet printed by the US Navy for the decommissioning ceremony (of SS581). There are no page numbers, but the 2nd sheet from the cover page has a picture of the first Blueback SS326. Under the picture is a brief summarized history of SS326 and this, "Both ships were named after the most numerous of west coast salmon species. The blueback salmon averages five pounds in weight and is colored bright blue with silver sides. The fish is sometimes known as redfish or sockeye salmon."

In some ways I am "new" to editing here. I can't seem to find info on uploading a photo. HelP? Please? Noeckerbmc (talk) 00:06, 1 April 2013 (UTC)