In 1970 the good ship U.S.S. William H. Bates was still just a collection of parts in a shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Prior to the death of her namesake in 1969, she was still called the Redfish, but by her launching in December of 1971, she carried the name of Congressman William H. Bates, a long-time staunch supporter of the nuclear navy.
Sea trials started in February of 1973, and she was commissioned in May, and assigned the homeport of New London, Connecticut.
Deployment to the eastern Atlantic in 1974 for her first patrol mission took her to Holy Loch, Scotland and Halifax, Nova Scotia on the way home. Her next patrol took her back east and a stop in Holy Loch again, and Faslane, Scotland for a brief visit.
A refit in Norfolk Navy Shipyard, and local ops out of Ft. Lauderdale during 1975 were a brief respite before transiting back to the east Atlantic for NATO exercises 'Moby Dick' and 'Ocean Safari 75'. December brought her back to New London for the holidays.
The following year saw her first Med run, leaving New London in May, and visiting exotic foriegn ports such as Bizerte, Tunisia, Augusta Bay, Sicily, and La Spezia and Naples, Italy. After departing the Mediterranean in September 1976, the submarine took part in Exercise "Ocean Safari 76" and returned to Groton in November.
After another refit, she departed Groton during the summer of 1977 transiting the North Sea for a port visit to Bremerhaven, Germany, and taking part in Exercise "Ocean Safari 77" with NATO units while returning from European waters to Groton.
From there, William H. Bates operated in the Atlantic until moving to San Diego in May 1978 for service in the Pacific Fleet, calling San Diego homeport until the end of the decade.
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