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

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!

REGROUPEX 17 started with a Welcome Aboard Mixer Friday evening, and proceeded, at least for me, to build like hurricane Irma (which would hit Orlando the day after the reunion), into a whirlwind of activity and events that would leave me wondering what had actually happened. I remember at one point, I think it was Saturday morning, probably telling a sea story (you know me!), looking up and realizing there was a line three or four people long waiting to talk, question me, or have me solve one of the myriad emergent issues of the weekend.

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On the eve of REGROUPEX 17, I regret to inform you of the passing of the first Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. William H. Bates (SSN 680), Captain Glenn Neal Arthur, Jr., on the 26th of August, 2017.

Tom Olson alerted me and directed me to Cap’n Arthur’s obituary, reproduced here.

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White clouds boil into the sky. A distant freight train of thunder arrives. Evening falls. The sky darkens over Orlando.

Ensconced in my third floor room, I’m finally drawing the breath of a pardoned man. All the work of the last year comes together in 20 hours in a Hospitality Suite at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort as REGROUPEX 17 gets underway.

It was almost a year ago, the 16th of September, 2016, when we had the first inklings that a reunion might be overdue. By the 7th of December, we had enough interest, and REGROUPEX 17 made the transition from imagination to planning.

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It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of Julie, wife of Sean Gawne.

Sean was an ELT on board the U.S.S. William H. Bates between October of 1981 and September of 1985.

Julie was the mother of three (Joanne, Sean Jr., and Sarah) that fully supported Sean’s Navy career. She was proud that Sean served in submarines, and her devotion and hard work made it possible for him to serve on the U.S.S. Chicago (SSN 721) as well.

From her obituary…

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Scrambling toward the September 1st deadline. Twenty days does not seem like enough time to take care of all that remains to be done, but as Captain Leon J. Uplinger taught me while pursuing my studies in life and leadership on-board the U.S.S. William H. Bates, “We’re getting underway on time even if we have to row it away from the pier!”

Two new events added to the schedule for those that are still wondering what to do while you are in Orlando.

Friday, September 1, 1900 - 2100: REGROUPEX 17 Welcome Aboard Mixer - Join us in our comfortable Hospitality Suite for the REGROUPEX 17 Welcome Aboard Mixer. A variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be offered along with light snacks. Cost of this event is included in your paid registration, but we do need to know how many are planning to attend.

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Exactly three weeks until REGROUPEX 17, and there’s not a moment to lose!

The challenge coins have been designed and ordered, and are currently in production. We can only hope they actually arrive in time for delivery in Orlando!

Each registered shipmate will receive one as part of their registration, as will each REGROUPEX 17 Sponsor at Chiefs Club level or above.

We will also make them available to those that were not able to attend after the reunion as part of a fund-raising effort to obtain the boat’s Deck Log and Sailing Lists, and other related artifacts, so if you couldn’t make the reunion, you don’t have to miss out.

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Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill

© 2017 Brad Williamson
and/or the
U.S.S William H. Bates Association
or respective image owners
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Permission is granted for not-for-profit reproduction of text and images under the condition that all attribution as to owner and source is included,
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U.S. Naval Institute News