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(Originally posted on www.ssn-680.org for Veterans day 2017, and revised for www.coldwarboats.org)

Veterans Day has come and slowly fades into tomorrow.

The “thank you for your service” handshakes, prompted by an SSN-680 dolphin-ed ball cap, are ebbing, like the tide, and the offers of free meals at local restaurants will soon be yesterday's news.

Shortly, on the sidewalk and in the grocery store, I’ll be an non-distinct gray-bearded old guy in a Navy blue baseball cap, not that I really ever anticipated 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 thanks 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.

But here and now, as the afternoon fades into twilight, Armistice Day, 1919, and the singular honor of soldiering seem far, far, away.

Why do I feel so bemused this rainy autumn day? After all, they are celebrating me generically, if not specifically. Shouldn’t I find satisfaction in that?

The USS HADDO Base out of Cleveland, TN, leads the way as the very first USSVI Base to move their base website to coldwarboats.org.

Tom Harriman, their Cold War Boats Site Lead and Base Webmaster, and I started talking about the possibilities about a month ago, and after much discussion, a few sea stories, and careful consideration we decided that hosting base websites would be a good thing for both the USSVI and the Cold War Boats Association.

Among the advantages:

The burden of site design, security, privacy, redundancy, and back up is lifted from the shoulders of the Base Webmaster, and incorporated under the umbrella of the existing Cold War Boats website, allowing total focus on content, rather than design and functionality.

Each Base hosting will enjoy modern site design, with state of the art appearance, customizable with base-related photographs, that is responsive to the device on which it is viewed (mobile devices to be included soon), with robust security and privacy management not previously experienced.

Circumstances of the past six months have made it easy to neglect my routine updates regarding the progress that has been made on the coldwarboats.org website.

Work on the site has continued, with most of the effort directed toward completing the sites for 218 smoke boats and installing their basic menus. Currently, all the Gato class are done, as well as all the newer diesel classes: Albacore, Mackerel, Sailfish, Grayback, Darter, Barbel, and Dolphin. That leaves Balao, Tench, Barracuda, and Tang classes, which are about half the diesels left.

But at least all the nukes are done, both attack and missile, which should cover the bulk of all of you, and that is definitely good news.

The only site that has already fully absorbed it's standalone version, is the USS William H. Bates (SSN 680), it being my qual boat and all, and, as the builder of the original Bates site, made it easy to port into Cold War Boats.

Nothing like going to your favorite submarine website and finding, well, nothing! 

"I looked, and there it was, gone!"

I feel your pain, and even more so.

If you happened to visit the Cold War Boats site since yesterday afternoon, you found that the site wouldn't even load, which is a big deal for you, and a major headache for me. I was busy adding more smoke boat menus to the site when the menus started going wonky and nothing I could do made it better. I restricted access to the site, and worked unsuccessfully to get it turned around. Finally, the whole menu system collapsed into gibberish, roughly 3500 individual menu items, which may not sound like a lot to you, but it kept me busy for much of the last 24 hours!

The good news is that the site is back on-line, and ready for your access and perusal. Persistence paid off, and the reward is access to 396 boats, thousands of photos, sea stories, and boat records. 

Another lesson learned on the boat pays off.

"Never give up, never surrender!" Even if you're just sorting out software!

 

Wekiva Island Cabana

For those of you haven’t heard, the USS WILLIAM H. BATES (SSN 680) reunion, the AMOEBA RACES 21, is happening shortly at the USSVI convention in Orlando Florida.

Here’s what you need to know:

WHERE: The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, 9939 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819.

WHEN: From Monday, 30 August 2021 at 10:00 until Wednesday, 01 September 2021 at 11:00. Some will be staying for the duration of the USSVI Convention which runs through Friday

WHAT: The reunion kicks off with an all-day outing and sea-story swap at Wekiva Island, just north of Orlando, in Longwood, FL, with seats, shade, beverages, and a bar-b-que. There will not be a hospitality suite at the Resort, as we will be using the common USSVI spaces during the convention.

Another step forward in the evolution of the Cold War Boats website!

Reunions are one of the many ways that shipmates from years ago can reconnect, and no one can deny the pleasure of sitting around the campfire (or air-conditioned hospitality suite) and swapping stories with shipmates from back in the day.  So it is and always will be, that helping make reunions happen directly supports the Cold War Boats core mission triad:

  • Assisting shipmates from years ago in reconnecting, simply, easily, and without compromising their privacy,
  • Preserving the unclassified history of Cold War submarine crews and their boats in the form of photographs, stories, artifacts, and audio or video recordings, and
  • Honoring the sailors and families who sacrificed so much to help bring an end to the Cold War.

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