USS William H. Bates (SSN-680)

Ordered: 25 June 1968
Laid down: 4 August 1969
Launched: 11 December 1971
Commissioned: 5 May 1973
Decommissioned: 11 February 2000
Fate: submarine recycling
Stricken: 11 February 2000
General characteristics
Displacement: 4155 tons light, 4450 tons full, 295 tons dead
Length: 90.8 m (298 ft)
Beam: 9.7 m (32 ft)
Draft: 8.8 m (29 ft)
Propulsion: S5W reactor
Speed: 20+ knots
Complement: 14 officers, 112 men
Armament: 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
Motto: A Spirit Un'quelled
USS William H. Bates (SSN-680), a Sturgeon-class submarine, was to be named Redfish when the contract to build her was awarded to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi on 25 June 1968. However, upon the death of Congressman William H. Bates, she was renamed, and was laid down on 4 August 1969 as the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for that staunch supporter of the nuclear Navy. She was launched on 11 December 1971 sponsored by Mrs. Andrew R. Grainger, and commissioned on 5 May 1973, with Commander Glen N. Arthur, Jr., in command.

William H. Bates was homeported in New London, Connecticut, after shakedown. She was deployed to the eastern Atlantic between July and October 1974 and conducted her first patrol mission before visiting Holy Loch, Scotland, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, en route home. However, her respite was brief, for the nuclear attack submarine was again underway on patrol over the Christmas holidays and into January 1975. After voyage repairs at Holy Loch, the boat shifted to Faslane, Scotland, for a port visit.

Sailing for home in late January, the submarine was refitted at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia, before conducting local operations off Fort Lauderdale, Florida, into the summer of 1975. She was deployed to European waters again soon thereafter, taking part in antisubmarine warfare exercises. In November, the submarine took part in NATO exercises "Moby Dick" and "Ocean Safari '75," before she returned to New London in December.

William H. Bates conducted her first Mediterranean deployment the following year, departing New London on 5 May 1976. During this tour, she honed her skills in exercises with other ships of the U.S. Navy and other NATO naval units. During the deployment, she visited Bizerte, Tunisia; Augusta Bay, Sicily; and La Spezia and Naples, Italy. After departing the Mediterranean Sea on 6 September 1976, the submarine took part in exercise "Ocean Safari '76" in mid-month. On 14 October, the boat returned to Groton, Connecticut.

William H. Bates underwent voyage repairs and later prepared for another overseas deployment. She departed Groton during the summer of 1977 and completed her assigned mission on 3 October, mooring alongside the tender Holland (AS-32) on that day. She subsequently transited the North Sea for a port visit to Bremerhaven, Germany, where she spent five days. The boat then took part in exercise "Ocean Safari '77" with NATO units while returning from European waters to Groton.

From there, William H. Bates operated in the Atlantic until moving to San Diego, California, in May 1978 for service in the Pacific Fleet into 1980.

William H. Bates was decommissioned on 11 February 2000 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 February 2000. Ex-William H. Bates entered the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington, on 1 October 2002 and on 30 October 2002 ceased to exist.


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