Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Favorite Submarine Class

RDML Bruner, COMSUBGRU Ten, posted a "Welcome Home" message to USS Florida (SSGN 728) on the Submarine Group TEN blog, thusly:
USS FLORIDA – SSGN 728, returns home from deployment today. She’s been gone for over 14 months, worked for three different Combatant Commanders, and successfully completed every mission assigned. It is amazing to think about the conversion of FLORIDA from a strategic deterrent to a Special Operations and Guided-missile submarine – a tremendous adaptation to the changing strategic environment. Her success, which culminated in her superb support to operation ODYSSEY DAWN, certainly validates the decision made almost ten years ago to convert the first four OHIO class submarines rather than decommission them.
But as good a ship as FLORIDA is – it’s her crew (both Blue and Gold crews) and their families that deserve our thanks. I will be on the pier to greet them later today and would ask you to come too – to welcome them back too as you run into FLORIDA’s crew members and families. BZ to them for a superb deployment – and Welcome Home!!!
This was interesting, but I was more excited about the poll on the left side of the page. It asked for your favorite submarine class, and right now both Ohio (SSBN) and Ohio (SSGN) are ahead of the three active classes of Fast Attack boats. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since this is a boomer group running the poll; that being said, I don't know if us SSN guys can let this challenge pass unanswered. Let's all head over to the Group TEN blog and vote for your favorite active submarine class. Personally, I voted for the fastest, most heavily-armed (from a conventional sense) and overall bestest submarine class ever built -- the "Sea Wolf" (sic) class. Your mileage may vary.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My vote goes for the USS Stingray, SS-161. Can't get better.

4/29/2011 8:03 AM

Blogger tennvol said...

Even though I am a 739 plankowner, my vote would go to 637 class, but I'm biased since SSN 21 was still under construction when I got out.

4/29/2011 8:05 AM

Anonymous Sender said...

Seawolf is also the shortest-lived submarine class in service, and if they were that important to our national defense there would have been a whole lot more than three of them.

4/29/2011 9:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

637 was obviously the best but it's not active. I'm biased as I was on 687 - they saved the best for last.

4/29/2011 9:20 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

A look at monthly archives may cast "This Weekl's Poll"
in a more repetitive light --it appears unchanged since July 2009.

Out of respect for all of those now serving on submarines of any class, I will defer to their opinions, and expect that results of such a poll would never be published by Commander Submarine Group TEN for the same reason: They must all be our favorites!

4/29/2011 10:35 AM

Blogger Mike Golch said...

the USS Stingray (SS-161) wasn't that the fictional deisel sub form the Movei FDown Persicope?????

4/29/2011 11:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

637 Stretch hull, hands down, the best

4/29/2011 11:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly depends on your definition of the "bestest" but my vote is the stretch 637's.

4/29/2011 11:50 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

Darn, can't vote for the 608 class? I would vote that for boomer and 637 for SSN.

4/29/2011 12:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a serving SSN CO, I would put my VIRGINIA class ship up against any and all comers.

4/29/2011 1:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

637 stretch!

4/29/2011 1:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, it's most certainly is. Belao class, SS-161

4/29/2011 2:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not active, and not much of a class, but AGSS555 was the sweetest,deepest,and most fun when only 3 o'ringers and 20 men rode her.593's were awesome too.Sigh, getting old!

4/29/2011 2:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of us that were fortunate enough to have commissioned/served on 678 through 687 (stretch 637's) will tell you they were both formidable and habitable boats. The accolades they gathered in winning the cold war were very much deserved...can you say SSN683.

4/29/2011 3:23 PM

Anonymous 4-Stop said...

To the ANON “serving as Virginia CO” Really!?!?! Crap ass surface turning, berthing for female midgets, and “trashcan” photonics masts. I could go on but I need to replace my tampon. I never had it better than when I rode SSGN 728. Crews lounge, crews study, 9-man staterooms, and the best crew in the Navy!

4/29/2011 4:31 PM

Anonymous 20 year quitter said...

The mighty arsenal Sea-Wolf…, Sea-Pup. We handed her ass to her in AUTEC on 706, with an ancient CCS/MK-1 Combat control system. Yes O-gangers green screens lie to you but bearing rate never does! We bought a stuffed wolf and ripped a hole in its ass, it stayed in the SONAR shack for a long time. Not even zone inspections could get rid of it. Keep your foot on the gas Albuquerque!

4/29/2011 4:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


4/29/2011 4:46 PM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

Joel - don't forget, the brokest class...

4/29/2011 5:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ 4-Stop

Please tell us you were a female middie at the time!

4/29/2011 5:43 PM

Blogger FastAttackChief said...

I started my submarine career on a 637 stretch, then moved on to two 688I's, and then the "Fucking Arsenal of the Nation". With several underway days on Virginia Class, I can honestly say that the Seawolf Class (spoken Connecticut Class) is without a doubt the best SSN platform in existence. It is a little late in my career to go to one of them boomers only because I really don't want to see what I've been missing

4/29/2011 5:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No way was the Stingray a Balao class. I worked as a tour guide on the Gato class USS Silversides (SS-236) for four years, which sparked my interest in submarines and led to my joining the Navy as a sub volunteer. I guess that makes the Gato class my favorite from a historical perspective, but I'm glad I actually served on a SSN. Those diesel guys had balls of steel.

Former Nuc ET

4/29/2011 6:03 PM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

637. Served on a number of surface ships before entering the submarine force in 1974 Qual boat was 590. Last duty station 677 just under five years; to me a cadillac in more ways than one.

4/29/2011 7:01 PM

Anonymous Stsc said...

My preference is 637's, but as a detailer I get ALOT of Sailors asking for GN's, so I'd say that may be true. Sweet ride with the fast attack missions and the best off-crew periods bar none (think old school BN off-crews and much basket leave).

That said, we all have a lot of pride in our boats, no matter the class, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Many skimmers are ashamed of some of their rides...

4/29/2011 7:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baton Rouge.

4/29/2011 8:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stretch 637 has my vote. Strong boats.

4/29/2011 10:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

680 was a good boat. 671 was even better. If you really want to test your mechanical skills an old worn out 594 is a real teacher. 613 was a super learning platform. 692 had the best logistics.

4/29/2011 10:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

751 baby!

4/29/2011 10:28 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Strange how timing works--my first boat was a 688: faster, but that's about it. Second boat was a first-flight 637 which was better in damn near all other respects: deeper diving, better berthing/livability, better control at slow speed/shallow depth, etc.

And when you consider that because they had been through a yard period right before my first boat went into DMP, my "older" boat had more modern equipment back aft...RC-Div life is a whole lot easier with new gear.

637, hands down. Even the "old" ones.

4/30/2011 6:11 AM

Anonymous OldCOB said...

637 stretch hull.

4/30/2011 6:28 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

640 post-SSN conversion. 4 years on SSN-642 and it was far and away my favorite. Designed with people in mind as opposed to follow-on classes where crew was more or less an afterthought!

4/30/2011 9:16 AM

Anonymous DanielFBoone said...

627 class. There was a reason this class had the best retention rate in the history of submarining..

4/30/2011 11:27 AM

Anonymous curious sub lover said...

to all 637 lovers out there, curious if you guys can talk more about the strength of these boats vis a vis 688s. if WW 3 had occurred, which boat would you have wanted to sail to war?

4/30/2011 12:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone keep a straight face when reading a post by "Curious Sub Lover"? I know I can't....

4/30/2011 4:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

CCS/MK-1 ancient? Do not talk about my green screens in the terms of ancient.

4/30/2011 4:07 PM

Anonymous curious sub lover said...

you may not be able to keep a straight face, but it was a serious question.

4/30/2011 4:52 PM

Blogger SJV said...

If WW3 had ever happened, whichever boat you were on would have been it. There would be no sailing to it. If we were out to sea, we would have had no home to get back to, and if we were in port we'd been blown to bits with the rest of the world.

4/30/2011 6:06 PM

Anonymous SubmarineTroll said...

I served on both Permit SSN594 and LA boats. As wierd as it may sound I prefered the Permits. Could have been the difference in command styles too.

4/30/2011 8:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There sure are a lot of guys fawning over a long-since decommissioned class of submarine.

I'll keep that in mind when I listen to the same guys explain what's wrong with "today's" submarine force.

Old people are old.

5/01/2011 12:03 AM

Anonymous Psychotherapy said...

You’re a fine blogger. Please carry on with it. I can’t wait to read what’s after that.

5/01/2011 12:44 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Anon @ 12:03--And nub guys are nubs. I've been on 637's, 688's, and T-hulls. From a habitability standpoint, Tridents are obviously the best, but 637's are far better than 688's or even Virginias ever will be.

How many skids to you have to put into the Torpedo Room, and how many PO1's are hot-racking when you take on riders for a 70-80 day op? My first run on a 688 ALL the blueshirts were hot racking. My last run on a 637, nobody above PO3 hot racked. Roughly the same number of riders, same time out at sea.

Don't get me wrong, it's nice to not be on the boat in port daily until 8-9 PM trying to keep the damn thing in one piece, but I will say the best-qualified guys on the outside are the ones who operated the "old crap" and got a little knowledge between their ears.

5/01/2011 6:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

637s had a bigger "habitation" volume as a percentage of the overall ship than the newer classes of fast attacks, and stretch 637 hulls had about 10 more feet added to that volume. Newer boats appear to have 10 gallons of crap stuffed into a 5 gallon bucket up front.

5/01/2011 6:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I served on 682 651 715 718 731. By far 637 class was a great boat. 688s, not much impressive but has great speed. 726 class big but gotta have aplace for all those missles and MTs.
Toured a Pierwolf..I mean Seawolf and a Virginia class. Not bad, but wasn't really impressed with all the hoopla over how great they were supposed to be. 726 GNs - over rated! People just wantt to serve on them because they are "brand" new.

Say what you want about the old subs and sub force, but I was never forced to take a breathalizer before taking the duty!


5/01/2011 8:46 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Senior Chief--when were you on Buffy? Before or after "Dandy Don" Miller?

5/01/2011 8:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every boat has a guy that's a great sailor underway, but a hazard inport. Drinks too much, fools around constantly, acts like he's in high school. But it's unusual for that guy to be the CO, isn't it NHSparky?

5/01/2011 10:18 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Wow. That does take me back. One of my Div-O's made a comment regarding him, saying (paraphrasing) that the CO of which we are thinking should be kept on ice with a sign which read, "Thaw only in case of war."

And yeah, I agreed with him. I lost track of him after he was CSS-1, but I'm pretty convinced it was his off-boat conduct which kept him from getting stars. Other than that, I'd have followed the guy into hell.

5/01/2011 10:55 AM

Blogger reddog said...

I like the Sea Wolf best too, only mine was the SSN-575.

It had a really cool conning tower and a step sail bridge with a plexiglass wave shield dome that piveted up and down. How can you have a real submarine without a conning tower?

If the diving officer went really bug fuck, he could scream, Blow Negative!

I loved the way it would wildly corkscrew through the ocean when it tried to go over 15 knots.

Torpedo tubes filled with eggs, potatoes, heads of cabbage and onions.

NUCs and Coners didn't hate each other. We were all too busy just trying to keep making headway one more day. Even when we were dead in the water, which was a lot of days.

The smell. Even today, if I get on an overworked hydraulic elevator on a hot Summer day, the heavy perfume of burnt hydraulic oil and old sweat makes me think, I'm Home!

5/01/2011 12:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reddog--don't forget the comforting voice of the Bitch in the Box!

5/01/2011 12:43 PM

Blogger reddog said...

She could say,"Fire, Fire, In the Reactor Compartment", sound like saying it was making her wet.

5/01/2011 1:41 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Two winners. For those who served in them, the B-Girls. Ditto the Diesel Fast Attacks (563-class) after they reverted to FM 38D-8-1/8 powerplants.

Both classes were essence-of-submarine, capable enough to prevail against most adversaries, simple enough to keep running, and with crews of great quality. The DFAS boats had twin screws and handled like sports cars alongside the pier (a full twist would march you sideways in a hurry).

The 563s brought into the post-war Navy all that we learned from the German U-boats. The B-Girls added to that the figure-of-rotation hull pioneered in ALBACORE.

5/01/2011 2:08 PM

Anonymous Jim Armstrong said...

I loved the 594 class. Yeah, that makes me weird, but I am a sub sailor!

5/01/2011 2:38 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

For habitability, you could not beat the long hull 594 class (613-615). When the hull was stretched, the electronics had not caught up so they used the space for crew berthing. They also had higher sails so operations at PD were better than original 594. As an officer, I really enjoyed the new 637 class that I helped commission. The gear was top notch for the day and the missions were "very interesting." I also enjoyed my time on BARBEL when I qualified. The B girls were great subs by the time I served on them. The older SSNs (578,579,583, and 584) were great handling on surface and in port. Made my only one bell landing on SEADRAGON as a JO. I am sure that the current generation believes that there boats would be able to out fight and out run the older generation. The is how it is supposed to be. I just don't see how they control those touch screens and joy sticks without the tactile feel of the sub. Same with a periscope mast vice the periscope. But it is what you are trained on and used to so I am sure that they are fine sailors, maybe better than us old folks.

5/01/2011 3:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 578s had a Mk 101 fire control system. Basically, just a line of sight diagram. But since there was only one target the system could track, they tracked it and ignored all the distractions. As a result, those boats did quite well when shooting exercise shots on the range.

Because the fire control system was limited in that way, the geo plot took on tremendous importance. That was also true of the old boomers. Experienced geo plotters could work real magic with a few lines of bearing and some big balls.

5/01/2011 5:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the best tour on the Miami, SSN-755, Hands down.

5/01/2011 5:53 PM

Anonymous 594tuff said...

Fully agree, The Fighting Double Nickel, best of the best !

5/01/2011 6:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ NHSparky said...
Senior Chief--when were you on Buffy? Before or after "Dandy Don" Miller?

5/01/2011 8:58 AM

I got there in 95. Dandy Don was long gone. he was a CSS Commodore. Cohoon was CO, Caldwell was XO.


5/01/2011 6:58 PM

Anonymous Grandpa Bluewater said...

Pre nuke: B-girls in their youth - 580 class... What the duck said.

Nuke: Lafayette Trident conversion.

Each unbeatable in their time.

Don't knock old, kid. It's where you are going...if you get lucky.

Now, which one was the dragon lady, the cold hearted one that it hurt to be with, and whose memory has the power to fascinate 40 years later?

5/01/2011 8:00 PM

Anonymous Chart Bitch said...

DBF! If your boat didn't have a deck gun, then, you're a legend in your own mind.

But if you're getting specific. Probably the Frankenstein boat of the Fleet: 711. Even if you flank it into a rock after an overhall with spare parts from decom'd boats in Norfolk, and then get a nose job with the Honolulu being the donor. Then, that's one hell of a modern day technical wonder. Now granted, T-hulls are fk'n hotels compared to SSN's, but wouldn't you want to be some where doing something awesome most of the time... besides being moored in Guam?

5/01/2011 8:18 PM

Anonymous SubmarineTroll said...

I see a few comments about those of us talking about decommed boats. I would love to get a ride on either a Seawolf or a Virginia boat but I have been out for a long time so that will never happen. I would have also loved to have gotten a ride on a 637 boat but alas that never happened. I still think my old boat USS Haddo was a better boat than the LA boat I went to after it. For me it was more like going to a different Navy. A much more uptight, puckered butt one.

5/02/2011 8:38 AM

Anonymous TH said...

The best boat is the quiestest boat - SEAWOLF or VIRGINIA.

Sleeping in the VA Torpedo room isn't all that bad.

5/05/2011 2:31 PM

Anonymous EM2(SS) said...

To anon 5/01/2011 6:58 PM:

I got to the Buffy at the end of Cohoon's days. He was a great skipper. I would have followed Cohoon to Hell and back. Hennegan, his replacement... not so much.

5/10/2011 3:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

687 stretch!

Drug Addiction WorldDating Singles

7/27/2011 3:43 AM

Anonymous sex toys said...

Thanks for the post, really effective info.

10/23/2011 2:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For my 2 cents worth, I'll have to go with the only boat I ever knew, a 637 class short hull, Newport News built at that. LAPON was a fine, big black fast attack back in the day before she met her final fate. Thankfully, her sail survives in Springfield, MO. I had the privilege of meeting her first CO there, the legendary Chester 'Whitey' Mack at the dedication of the sail back in July 2005.

STS2(SS) '86-'90

4/01/2012 8:54 PM

Blogger jsouth said...

Agree that 637 stretch was the best given I was a sonar men and sonar was the beneficiary of most of the “stretch"

8/15/2013 11:47 AM

Blogger jsouth said...

“submarine troll” i agree with your 688 assessment. I left SSN-682 after 4+ years then served on SSN-709 for 4 years and I’ll take the Sturgeon Class and Wardroom anytime over the 688. Enlisted crews were very much the same on both boats but the “O” gangers seemed incredibly stressed on the L.A. Class

8/15/2013 11:52 AM


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