T.S. Eliot Quote - Going too far Religion Churchhill Brotherhood Pirates Home Address

You’ve heard the old joke about the drunk looking for his car keys under the streetlight after closing time, I suppose.

Somewhat sober guy asks the drunk, “Whatcha doing?”

“Lost my keys…”

“Where’d ya lose ‘em?” the sober one asks.

“Over there by my car”, the drunk replies.

Curious, the sober guy continues, “Why are you looking for them over here under the street lamp then?”

Says the drunk, “Because the light is better over here!”

Seems some of us aren’t too different from the drunk, even if we are sober. There are currently four of us committed to tracking down missing shipmates and if you visit the site occasionally you can follow our efforts as we update the Missing Shipmate List under Quarters. Mark Gray, author of the original missing shipmate spreadsheet, Terry Fessner, myself, and an eager new hand to the search, Chris Watson, dedicate many hours of our spare time locating and contacting shipmates who served on the Bates, but whose current whereabouts is unknown.

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It is understood that the Argentine Navy has declared the ARA San Juan lost with all hands - 43 men, 1 woman, possibly as a result of an explosion, though wreckage has not yet been found or evaluated.

The search for the ARA San Juan continues without hope for the crew.

A link to the first report I found. Some foreign language skill required.  www.diariodenautica.com


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The Argentine Navy has reported the ARA San Juan missing as of Wednesday, the 15th of November, with an estimated seven day air supply. Today is day eight, and we hope and pray for the crew and families of the San Juan.

This is image has been created specifically for posting on Facebook and social media. Please post, share, and circulate as we stand watch with the families waiting for loved ones to return from the sea.

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Veterans Day has come and gone.

The “Thank you for your service” handshakes, prompted by an SSN-680 ball cap, have ebbed to a trickle, and the offers of free meals at local restaurants are yesterday's news.

Today, on the sidewalk and in the grocery store, I’m just a gray-bearded old guy in a Navy blue baseball cap, not that I really ever expected to be anything else.

Don’t get me wrong. I really do appreciate a heart-felt thank you, and I suppose the free meals are in the same class, though they seem to lack the sincerity of a thank-you and a hand shake and I admit I’ve never taken advantage of one. I never felt I was owed anything, even a thank you let alone a meal, but I have taught my kids that accepting the gift honors the giver, so maybe one day I’ll let someone treat me to a nice dinner.

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One of the most difficult responsibilities that burdens me in the management of the ssn-680.org website is the maintenance of the Eternal Patrol page.

I’m one of the first to be notified when one of you discovers the passing of a shipmate, so I’m tasked with updating the site and then notifying all of the ssn-680.org members that one of us has crossed the bar. Converting their user account to Eternal Patrol is emotionally difficult enough, and even more so if it was someone I knew and served with. But for me, the hard work really begins when I sit down to compose an Honors Page for our lost shipmate, and try to put into words a post that will make sense to each of you, and communicate the loss to our community. Reflection on their life and realizing that it’s only a matter of time for all of us is an emotionally draining experience that happens all too frequently.

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Remember the Ship’s Store on the Bates? In my day it was a roughly two foot square metal cabinet about 6 inches thick, with a plexiglass door, bolted to the forward bulkhead in the Crew’s Mess. The padlock made it clear that items of great value were available there and only with the express permission of the ‘Rodfather’, then MS Chief Mike Rodriguez, were you going to get your grubby little zipper-grabbers on any of the sweet trinkets inside. As the naval equivalent to Mary Poppins’ bottomless satchel, the Bates Store held treasures ranging from ball caps, patches, cigarette lighters, to a wide variety of T-shirts and almost everything else under the waves in between, as long as it had a Bates logo!

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Hard to believe it was two weeks ago tonight that we had organized the Hospitality Suite at the Rosen Shingle Creek, and were welcoming shipmates that we hadn’t seen in years. It’s Friday, exactly 14 days later, to the hour, and I’ve promised I’d write. This is it.

Sitting in my hotel room the night before, I composed my most recent post, REGROUPEX EVE. I had envisioned that the next day, much like REGROUPEX 09 eight years ago, that I would be sitting around the Hospitality Suite, and in the occasional relaxing and quiet moment, post about the activities taking place around me. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

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Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill

© 2018 Brad Williamson
and/or the
U.S.S William H. Bates Association
or respective image owners
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