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Ship Name and Designation History

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Sturgeon Class Attack Submarine
    Contract to build awarded June 25 1968 as "REDFISH"
    Renamed June 22 1969 upon the death of William H. Bates
    Keel Laid August 4 1969 - Launched December 11 1971

  2. Commissioned May 5 1973 - Decommissioned February 11 2000

    Struck from the Naval Register February 11 2000


Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.

  1. Covers Page 1    (1973-1989)



This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.


Postmark Type
Killer Bar Text

Thumbnail Link To
Postmark Image
Thumbnail Link To
Cover Image


Machine Cancel

Pascagoula, MS



Launching, cachet by USS Nathan Hale Chapter No. 68, USCS


Machine Cancel

Pascagoula, MS



Sea Trials, cachet by Nuclear Ships Chapter No. 61, USCS


Machine Cancel

Pascagoula, MS



Commissioning, cachet by USS America Chapter No. 71, USCS


USPS 4-bar

Pascagoula, MS



10th Anniversary, cachet by Robert D. Rawlins, sponsored by Stephen Decatur Chapter No. 4, USCS


Locy Type 2-1n+ (USN,USS)

USS Arkansas



4th of July. Official Ship Cachets from the USS Barb SSN-596, USS Arkansas CGN-41 and the USS William H. Bates SSN-680 adorn this cover. Cachet by Tom Armstrong


Other Information

NAMESAKE - William H. Bates--born on 26 April 1917 at Salem, Mass.,--enlisted in the Navy in July 1940. Commissioned as ensign in the Naval Reserve on 30 January 1941, Bates received instruction at the Naval Medical Center, Washington, D.C., before serving successive tours of duty at the Washington Navy Yard and in, former sloop-of-war, unclassified miscellaneous vessel CONSTELLATION (IX-20).
     Bates remained in the Supply Corps through the end of World War II, participating in the Iwo Jima campaign in the spring of 1945 and eventually becoming the supply officer for the 4th Naval District by 1949. While Bates was stationed there, his father--Representative George J. Bates of the 6th Massachusetts Congressional District--was killed in a plane crash at the Washington (D.C.) National Airport on 1 November 1949.
     Bates resigned his reserve commission--he had attained the rank of lieutenant commander by that time--on 14 February 1950, to fill the seat of his late father in the United States House of Representatives. For the nearly two decades preceding his death on 22 June 1969, Bates staunchly advocated a strong military posture for the United States. On the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy and the House Armed Services Committee, he vigorously supported the development of nuclear-powered naval vessels. He also vigorously backed incentive pay programs and the establishment of better housing facilities for servicemen. He constantly sought means to enhance the training, caliber, and morale of military personnel.



If you have images or information to add to this page, then either contact the Curator or edit this page yourself and add it. See Editing Ship Pages for detailed information on editing this page.


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