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Liberty was always full of surprises. As this article from the August 29, 1984 Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the USS William H. Bates tied up to a small craft, a minesweeper or torpedo retriever, perhaps, in the harbor at Avalon, for a weekend of fun and frolic in the festive night life of Catalina Island.

What isn't said is that, while it really seemed like a good idea at the time, anchored for a weekend only 60 miles away from your homeport after three months of weekly ops isn't that much fun for anybody that would rather be home with their family, especially someone, say, who had only been married for four weeks, say, like myself.

That's not to say we didn't have a good time. Trading tours of the boat for rides on rocketship cigarette boats was a treat, as well as the welcoming bars and restaurants of Avalon. And who could turn down an abalone burger on the pier for a couple of bucks?

The beer was just as cold as any place we'd been, but sometimes, you'd just rather be home!


Click image for larger view of Bates at Catalina Island

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