Forty-eight years ago today, the USS William H. Bates (SSN 680) hit the water for the first time.
At a ceremony in Pascagoula, Mississippi, both the wife and daughter of Congressman Bates were present to applaud the result of two years of work by Ingalls Nuclear Shipbuilding afloat the way she was meant to be. While it would be another year and a half before she was ready for commissioning and sea trials, the Bates would go on to a noble career that would span almost 28 years.
She is gone, but never forgotten. She was our home and our protection, and she carried our flag with honor. Our photographs, however faded, like our memories, will always preserve the USS William H. Bates (SSN 680).
The Bates honored her life’s mission, addressed in the words of the Honorable William H. Bates, “Until sound agreements are reached the peace we seek is but an illusion if we do not develop our military strength to see to it that we always have superior power.”
You can find the Launching Ceremony brochure here: LAUNCHING BROCHURE - 11 DEC 1971
You can find more examples of Bates related postal covers here: SHIP'S POST OFFICE