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Old 05-15-2018, 10:43 AM   #1
Jeffg
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Default USS Blueback Tour

Has anyone done a tech tour on the USS Blueback as I am taking the family out to Portland this July? I already bought a ticket for the tour but the website does not really give much of a description of what is on the tour.

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Old 05-26-2018, 11:53 PM   #2
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Sorry I missed this thread until now.

I served on the Barbel, one of the sister ships in the class (three were built).
If the tour runs forward to aft, the torpedo room features what we called "the six pack". Six tubes laid out in two rows of three. Also, notice how tall the torpedo room is. At the aft end of the torpedo room, you may notice two small ladders going up to a small mezzanine. This was added after the class switched from bow planes to fairwaters and that room contains the hydraulics and controls.
Control is fairly cramped but look around for an IFF control box. This has nothing to do with friendly patrol planes. The three "B Girls" were supposed to work with the early SSG and SSGN boats as a kind of radar picket. The SSG's would launch a cruise missile and one of the "B Girls" would steer the missile to its target.
Heading aft, be careful walking through the battery airlock on the way to crew's mess if you're taller than six feet. That stainless steel roof is low.

If you're lucky, the tour will continue past crew's mess to the engine room. You'll see three ND 38 8 1/8th diesel engines. These are the standard diesel engines that are still in use. Nukes get one, we had three. Each diesel is connected to a large DC generator that feeds the battery wells. At the forward end of the engine room, look up and you'll spot the large air duct that feeds from the head valve of the snorkel.

Hopefully, the tour includes Maneuvering and the two large electric motors. It might not look like two motors at first, but they are mounted back-to-back around the main shaft. The motors could be wired to run individually, in parallel, or (rarely) in series.

Enjoy the tour.
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Old 05-27-2018, 09:14 PM   #3
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ET2SN,

Thanks for the reply,the tour is 3 hours long I am looking on line to see if I can find a qual book that someone from that class of boat might have posted. That might give me heads up on the working knowledge of the Blueback.

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Old 05-28-2018, 06:13 PM   #4
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I think you're talking about the ship's piping and wiring tabs.
Good luck finding one on-line. The Barbel class are pretty old.
The tabs were also considered as "ship's property" for practical reasons (they were used heavily for regular maintenance and paperwork, which was why they weren't supposed to leave the boat besides being used as a kind of study guide for non-quals). They were also stamped as "confidential" which meant they were not to become souvenirs.

The term "qual book" is kind of mis-leading. Most of ship's quals are "hands on" and result in initials or "sigs" on a ship's qual card. The qual card might be in the form of a bound pre-printed tablet with a cardboard cover or could be on sheets of photocopied paper or cardboard. It really depends on what the command has available.

Overall, enjoy the tour.

The Barbel class has a fairly unique history. They were the follow on to the USS Albacore (which is still on display in Portsmouth, N.H.) and were constructed in conjunction with the first nuke subs. Kind of like a fall-back in case the nuke propulsion thing didn't work out. The three boats of the class were not built in Groton, BTW. The Barbel was constructed and launched in Portsmouth, N.H. (aka Kittery). Blueback (as I remember) and Bonefish were built at the "old school" shipyards like Pascagoula and Charleston. Still, all three boats served at least thirty years and all three could run as fast as a Permit or Sturgeon class attack boat if the main motors were set up to run in series configuration.

One thing to notice about the class is how much room you'll find below decks compared to an older "fleet"/GUPPY diesel boat. The sails were also huge and I used to enjoy climbing around inside the sail of the Barbel to do maint. work. It was like having your own, personal, jungle gym.

My underway watch station was located in the port side aft corner of control. I mostly split my time between running the ESM gear or the radar.

This class was also the last US attack subs to have a topside superstructure and wood deck. The deck should be made out of either mahogany or teak.
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Old 05-29-2018, 10:54 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot for the information, I can't wait to take this tour. I just bought a book called Plant Operations Aboard a WWII Submarine and Construction of US Submarines 1945 and on.When I get home from the vacation I will post my pics.

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Old 05-30-2018, 10:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffg View Post
Has anyone done a tech tour on the USS Blueback as I am taking the family out to Portland this July? I already bought a ticket for the tour but the website does not really give much of a description of what is on the tour.

JeffG
I live near Portland, been to the Blueback many times. I made this years ago:



I also offer a personal tour of this:
http://www.savetheptboatinc.com/index.htm
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