USS Batfish (SSN-681), a Sturgeon-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the batfish, any of several fishes: a pediculate fish of the West Indies, the flying gurnard of the Atlantic, or a California stingray.
After commissioning, Batfish was assigned Naval Station Charleston at Charleston, South Carolina, as her home port.
Operation Evening Star, 1978
On 2 March 1978, Batfish, commanded by Commander (later Rear Admiral) Thomas Evans, left Charleston on what would transpire to be a remarkable 77-day patrol known as "Operation Evening Star." On 17 March 1978, Batfish detected a Soviet Navy Navaga-class (NATO reporting name "YANKEE I" class) ballistic missile submarine at the north end of the Norwegian Sea some 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) above the Arctic Circle. Batfish began trailing the YANKEE I, collecting valuable information on how the Soviet Navy operated. During the next 50 days, the YANKEE I never detected Batfish, and Batfish lost the YANKEE I only twice: once during a bad storm, and once when a fishing fleet passed overhead. Both times, Batfish quickly reacquired the Soviet submarine.
The Soviets remained unaware that any vessel had followed their submarine until U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer John Anthony Walker sold them the information. Walker pleaded guilty to espionage in 1985.