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The second Barbel (SS-580) was laid down on 18 May 1956 by the Portsmouth (N.H.) Naval Shipyard; launched on 19 July 1958; sponsored by Mrs. Bernard L. Austin; and commissioned on 17 January 1959, Lt. Comdr. Ord J. Kimzey, Jr., in command.

Shakedown training, builder's trials, and post-shakedown availability occupied the submarine through the summer of 1960. She then joined the Atlantic Fleet and was based at Norfolk, Va. Her routine consisted of training and fleet exercises in Atlantic and Caribbean waters. In January 1961, Barbel entered the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for alterations which moved her diving planes from the hull near the bow to the submarine's sail. The work was completed in October; and, on 1 November, her home port was changed to San Diego, Calif. The submarine departed Norfolk in January 1962, bound for the west coast, and made intermediate stops at San Juan, Puerto Rico, and at Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles, en route to Panama. After transiting the canal, she visited Manzanillo, Mexico, before reaching San Diego and beginning duty with the Pacific Fleet. In July, her home port was changed once more, this time to Pearl Harbor.

In Hawaii, she became a unit of Submarine Division (SubDiv) 13. Following two months of training exercises in the Hawaiian operating area, Barbel deployed to the western Pacific for duty with the 7th Fleet. During her six months in the Far East, the submarine was involved in several training exercises and made brief port calls at Yokosuka, Japan, and Hong Kong. She returned to Pearl Harbor in March 1963 and spent the next few months in upkeep and training Hawaiian waters. She began an extended training exercise in July and touched back at Pearl Harbor in September.

Barbel continued local operations in the Pearl Harbor area through April 1964, when she got underway for the California coast. On 27 April, she entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., for overhaul. After 14 months of work, Barbel left the shipyard in July 1965 and returned to Pearl Harbor. The submarine began her second Far Eastern cruise in November. The new year, 1966, found her in port at Sasebo, Japan. She held several training exercises and briefly entered the Vietnam war zone on 21 March while en route to Hawaii. The ship arrived in Pearl Harbor on 19 April and entered the naval shipyard there for a restricted availability.

Barbel resumed duty on 18 September by taking part in the testing of new torpedoes and carrying out refresher training. On 27 December, she began her third deployment to the western Pacific. She paused briefly at Guam on 11 January 1967 and then continued on to Yokosuka. While in Japanese waters, the submarine conducted exercises with units of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and held brief upkeep periods. On 12 February, she began an at-sea training period. She visited Hong Kong from 6 to 12 May and returned to Japanese waters on the 22d, anchoring at Beppu for a three-day visit. On 28 May, the submarine moved to Yokosuka for upkeep through 5 June and then departed Japan on another at-sea training period that she completed on 6 July at Adak, Alaska. The submarine arrived back at Pearl Harbor on 15 July and began an extended leave and upkeep period.

During the first two weeks of October, Barbel served as a training ship for the Submarine Force's Prospective Commanding Officers' School, and next visited Lahaina, Maui. She took part in Exercise "4-67" from 6 to 19 November and then began preparations for overhaul. Barbel entered the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in February 1968. The submarine left the yard in July, carried out sea trials, and returned to the shipyard in December for more repair work. On 24 January 1969, she once again resumed fleet operations. She set sail on Valentine's Day, bound for Bangor, Wash., where she conducted weapons acceptance tests, and then headed up the west coast on 8 March for a goodwill visit to Esquimalt, Canada. On the 11th, she began the voyage back to home port where she arrived on the 22d.

At Pearl Harbor, Barbel prepared for an upcoming deployment upon which she embarked on 16 June. She reached Yokosuka on 1 July and, after voyage repairs, began the first of two training cruises out of that port which lasted until 14 November. On that day, she began a circuitous voyage home which took her to Hong Kong and Guam before she moored once again at Pearl Harbor on 19 December.

The submarine entered the shipyard at Pearl Harbor on 7 January 1970 for repairs, began sea trials on 19 February, and—in March—started training in anticipation of another Far Eastern cruise. On 11 September, her preparations completed, she departed Pearl Harbor and headed west. After a stop at Okinawa late in September, Barbel pushed on toward Japan. She arrived at Yokosuka on 10 October and prepared for at-sea training cruises. These cruises began on 20 October and were completed in time for the submarine to return to Yokosuka on Christmas Eve. She closed the year in port at Keelung, Taiwan. The first six weeks of 1971 found the submarine visiting several Far Eastern ports, among which were Buckner Bay at Okinawa, Hong Kong, and Subic Bay and Manila in the Philippines. The submarine began her journey back to home port in mid-February, arrived at Pearl Harbor on 5 March, and began a post-deployment standdown. On 13 May, the ship began overhaul at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

She held sea trials from 29 February to 13 March 1972 and then rejoined the active fleet. For almost four months, Barbel carried out training exercises in Hawaiian waters. She left Pearl Harbor on 7 July bound once more for Oriental waters. Barbel paused briefly at Yokosuka on the 24th and then began over a month at.sea. She was in Sasebo, Japan, for upkeep in early September but got underway on the 13th for independent training operations. On 9 October, she entered Hong Kong for a period of rest and relaxation. After more operations at sea, Barbel arrived back in home port on 23 December.

Following almost eight months of local operations, she began upkeep at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard on 18 August. She next resumed operations in Hawaiian waters and prepared for another western Pacific cruise. Barbel departed Pearl Harbor for the Far East once again on 11 January 1974. She arrived at Yokosuka on the 27th but stayed only briefly. Then, after a short visit to Keelung and another quick call back at Yokosuka, she began intensive at-sea training operations. The submarine put into Hong Kong on 2 April for liberty before moving on to Subic Bay on the 12th for a much needed upkeep. She arrived back at Yokosuka on 12 May and participated in an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force from 25 until 29 May. On 16 June, the ship entered Pusan, Korea, for a three-day visit, after which she took part in a joint ASW exercise with South Korean naval forces. On 28 June, she began the voyage back to Pearl Harbor where she spent the remainder of the year in upkeep and local operations.

From January through March 1975, the submarine underwent a restricted availability for a battery replacement. The next two months were devoted to weapons testing and readiness exercises. Late in June, she got underway for San Francisco Bay and an overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Barbel left Mare Island on 7 November 1976 and visited the Canadian ports of Victoria and Vancouver. On 4 December, she set sail on the voyage back to Pearl Harbor. There, she rejoined Submarine Squadron 1. The first seven months of 1977 found the warship carrying out training operations and exercises in Hawaiian waters. She embarked on another Far Eastern deployment on 22 August and reached Yokosuka on 10 September. During this tour, she took part in numerous training exercises and visited Subic Bay, Manila, Hong Kong, and the Taiwanese ports of Kaohsiung and Keelung. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 2 February 1978.

Upon arrival in Hawaii, the submarine resumed local operations and weapons testing. On 28 August, she got underway for the west coast and six weeks of training. She made port visits at Coos Bay in Oregon, Esquimalt in Canada, and Seattle, Wash., before returning to Hawaiian waters on 7 October. She then entered a leave and upkeep period. Following a restricted availability at Pearl Harbor from 3 January through 16 February 1979, she conducted local operations until beginning preparations to deploy overseas once again. The ship sailed on 14 July for Japan and put into Yokosuka on the 30th. Subsequent ports of call included Atami and Sasebo, Japan; Buckner Bay, Okinawa; Subic Bay in the Philippines; Chinhae, South Korea; and Hong Kong. While deployed, Barbel took part in several type training exercises, weapons tests, and ASW exercises. On Thanksgiving Day, the submarine left Buckner Bay bound for home. She arrived in Pearl Harbor on 11 December and began holida leave and upkeep.

After six weeks of local operations, Barbel began a restricted availability at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard on 23 February 1980. She commenced sea trials in mid-June and began upkeep in July. During the rest of the year, she engaged in various training exercises and inspections. On 11 December, the submarine sailed again for the Orient. She arrived at Yokosuka on the 27th and spent the holiday season there.

Barbel was decommissioned on 4 December 1989. She was struck from the Navy list on 17 January 1990 and disposed of in a fleet training exercise on 30 January 2001.

Barbel (SS-580) won four battle stars for her Vietnam service.[1]

See also Barbel-I.


  1. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships