When you are ready, lets take a quick tour. Face forward, grab this handle, and walk down the ladder facing forward, not aft, and you'll find it easier to drop into the boat.
Sound familiar? Think back to your first trip down the ladder into your first boat. Definitely a new experience, and not unlike your first visit into this website.
Navigating the site is a bit easier than your first time on board, but feel free to take off and explore at any time. Nothing will bite you, and you're unlikely to break anything, so let's get on with it.
On the QUARTERDECK, you'll find the VISITOR'S LOG, a guestbook where you can comment on the site. Always check the P.O.D. for site information, current Association news, activities, reunion plans, and other items of general interest. You'll also be able to access recent FAMILYGRAMS, which are mailed to registered users periodically, and far more reliably than those we dreamed of receiving back on the boat.
From the QUARTERDECK, stop by the Ship's Office.You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions there as well as Links to other sites. There are archives of the P.O.D., the 1MC, and all the Familygrams that have been sent out.
If you show up for Quarters, you can check out the Master Sailing List, and the lists of Registered Crew Members and other users. Take a look at the Missing Shipmates list and if you know of someone not listed that hasn't registered, you can add him to the list or use the Contact Us page to let the Missing Shipmate Coordinator know what you know.
Swing by the Crew's Mess and jump into the conversations in our forum, the Scuttlebutt, where you can discuss just about everything. Submit your own sea stories in our cleverly titled Sea Stories section. (Request authoring status from the Administrator, and keep 'em clean, please, this is a family site!)
Relive the 'salad days' of long deployments and exotic foreign ports. Examine embarrassing photographs of yourselves on liberty years ago, along with a spectacular photo history of the nuclear powered fast attack submarine, the USS William H. Bates, in all her glory in our Up Scope photograph section, and submit your own photos in the Crew Gallery.
Render Honors to shipmates on Eternal Patrol, the Ship's Awards, past Leadership, and Honorary Crew Members. Check out Reunion plans and revisit past reunions. Like the old boat herself, we have a Logroom where you can find Archives of boat related articles, and a history of the old girl herself.
One thing we learned on board the USS RICHARD B. RUSSELL (SSN 687) was that the sailors that served on board were part of a closely knit and elite community. We have carried that thinking in the SSN 687 website with features designed to help build, restore, and maintain that sense of community.
So second, check the Current Watchsection, find yourself, click on your name, and UPDATE YOUR PROFILE. It gives you tools to connect with other former shipmates, to communicate easily, and to keep track of friends and shipmates.
Third, this site is a work in progress. You'll find places that aren't finished or are missing, so be patient, things change quickly. If you think of anything that is missing, or have some ideas about what should be included, contact the Administrator, and let us know. Oh, and watch out for missing deckplates.
Fourth, check out the Frequently Asked Questions, the FAQs for help in finding your way around. Don't forget the links to other Bates sites, submarine sites, and the sites of our sponsors.
Finally, this place is for you. You are encouraged to participate - write articles, post on the forums, mark up the guestbook. Have fun - enjoy the photos - find old shipmates, and most of all, never forget that we were part of that great adventure, the USS RICHARD B. RUSSELL (SSN 687).
~ Brad Williamson