Thanks for taking the time to check out the new Cold War Boats Association website. You’ve seen the Welcome Aboard message so you have an idea of what this is all about. You’ve seen the many “On The Ways” articles, so you know that this is as work in progress and we have a long, long, way to go. If you’ve had a chance to look at your boat’s pages, you’ve discovered that the only active site as of this date is the USS William H. Bates (SSN 680).
We clearly have work to do, but I want to share a little about how we got here to put this all in context.
In 2008 I was contacted by a former SSN 680 shipmate, Bill Byers, who proposed the idea that us Bates sailors have an informal reunion, which quickly morphed into the formal reunion REGROUPEX 09. In order to support registration and help locate our sailing buddies, I volunteered to set up a website at www.ssn-680.org, and help connect everyone that might want to attend.
Both the reunion and the website were an unqualified success. The website quickly became a pet project that filled my spare time creating the ability for shipmates to connect, share sea stories, photographs, documents, memories, and more.
As I worked, I came to see the power of enabling shipmates from back in the day to reconnect, and set about creating a tool that would allow us to research boat history, and from the original records determine who had served on the Bates and when, and other related details.
Before long we had identified over 1400 sailors who had served (and that’s only through 1981), and located and registered over 600 of those.
Photos, documents, and artifacts continued to arrive, and were added to the treasure trove of Bates history that the website had become.
Before long, REGROUPEX 17 was on the books, and another reunion was a success.
During these years, with a powerful on-line presence and major reunion attention, sailors from other boats had periodically approached me with the simple question, “How can I do this for our boat?”.
That question became the trigger that pushed the Cold War Boats Association into existence. This website represents over a year of development and testing (so far), in an attempt to create the ability for any US Cold War submarine to have their very own website with the power of reconnecting and preserving Cold War history without having to understand how to build a powerful web site.
We, all of us that served in the US Submarine Fleet, have lived and served through a unique period in American history, and the Cold War Boats website is the place to let us capture the unclassified history of our Cold War boats and preserve it for posterity, all while enabling the men who became brothers during those trying times to reconnect after all these years.
It is finally on the verge of becoming reality!