The eighties were interesting years for the U.S.S. William H. Bates. By 1980 she was in refueling overhaul in Bremerton, Washington, where she gained the distinctive 'hood-scoop' that marked her as a special project boat and was her unique identifier during the first half of the decade.
Returning to her home port of San Diego by late 1981, after a brief stop in Nanaimo, British Columbia, she embarked on a year of weekly ops and special testing of her pronounced protuberance and associated 'special' features.
Her first WestPac of the 80's would start in September 1982, taking her to the western Pacific, and ports-of-call including Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Yokusuka, Japan. After a few months in the Sea of None of Your Business, she would anchor out in Sasebo, Japan, then on to Subic Bay, Phillipines, and Sattahip, Thailand. Back to Subic Bay, then onto Guam for a brief stay in a floating drydock, another trip to places unmentionable, and she stopped at Adak, Alaska before returning to San Diego in March. Only home for a few weeks, she moved to the drydock at Mare Island Naval Shipyard for some extensive rework by the local body and fender experts.
Back to San Diego, we'd head back out in September for WestPac 83-84. Straight to Subic Bay and this time she was called to the Indian Ocean. A brief stop at Diego Garcia for some steam plant band-aids, and then she was off to patrol the western end of the Indian Ocean. Periscope liberty of Aden, Yemen, and Mombasa, Kenya, were the highlights of that tour, before she returned to Diego Garcia for a quick pit stop. Next port-of-call, Perth, Western Australia, then, despite promises of Hobart, Tasmania, and Sydney, Australia, she made her way back to Guam, then home in February, 1984.
The rest of the year was spent in weekly ops, winding up with preparations to sail early January for WestPac 85. For January it was Yokosuka, Japan, then off the Sea of None of Your Business, Chin Hae, Korea, back to Yokosuka, Japan, and then down to Subic Bay. Next stop, Sattahip, Thailand, then back to Guam then home for ORSE preps.
The next WestPac of the eighties would be WestPac 87-88. The decade would wind down with a trip back to Vallejo, California, and on to Bremerton, Washington for another refueling.
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