Skip to main content

Richard W. Bates papers

Identifier: MSC-028

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the many correspondences throughout Rear Admiral Richard W. Bates Naval career. In addition, some of the materials deal with naval business while others relate to his personal matters. The papers are arranged in four series based on an established file system. In addition to the correspondence, the collection also contains Subject Files regarding such things as Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, and Navy official communications; Speeches and Writings that span 1942-1967; and; Miscellany, 1915-1973 which consists of newspaper clippings, citations, invitations and member scrolls.


  • 1915-1973


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to all researchers, unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain, unless otherwise noted.

Biographical Note

Rear Admiral Richard W. Bates was born in San Francisco, California, on January 16, 1892, to Henry Lester and Helen Rixon Bates. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy from the Third District, California, in 1911 and graduated in the Class of 1915. His first duty assignment was on board the USS YORKTOWN (GBT-1) stationed in Central American waters. From YORKTOWN he went to the USS CINCINNATI (C-7), operating on the east coast of South America, where he served as Executive Officer until 1918. He was Executive Officer in the USS SPROSTON (DD-173), 1919-1920.

In 1920 Bates attended the Naval Post Graduate School in Annapolis, Maryland. The following year found him at Columbia University, studying electrical propulsion of ships. Awarded a Master of Science degree in June 1922, he continued instruction in electrical engineering at General Electric, Schenectady, New York, and Westinghouse Electric, East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was followed by duty as the Electrical Officer in the USS MARYLAND (BB-46), 1922-1925; assistant in engineering at the Post Graduate School, 1925-1927, and Engineering Officer in the USS RICHMOND (CL-9), 1927-1930.

In the decade before Americaa's entry into the Second World War, Rear Admiral Bates saw duty with the Hydrographic Office, Honolulu and as Commander of the Naval Station, Honolulu; Commanding Officer of the destroyer, USS BUCHANAN (DD-131), the oil tanker, RAMAPO (AO-12), the destroyers USS LONG (DD-209), and USS CLARK (DD-361), flagship of Destroyer Squadron Three, Battle Force.

When the war broke out, Bates was a student at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He continued at the College as a member of the staff until 1943 when he took command of the cruiser USS MINNEAPOLIS (CA-36). Under his command the ship engaged in the bombardment of Wake Island, participated in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands and sank the Japanese light cruiser KATORI off Truk in April 1944.

During May-August 1944, Bates was on the staff of the Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet. In September he served with the Commander Cruiser Division Four as Chief of Staff of the Bombardment, Fire Support and associated groups of the Seventh Fleet during the Philippine Islands campaign. December found him Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Battleship Division Two and involved in the Lingayen-Luzon and Okinawa operations. This was followed in May 1945 by his appointment as Commander of the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron, Pacific Fleet and in December of the same year with appointment as Chief of Staff to Commander, Philippine Sea Frontier.

Bates returned to the Naval War College in 1946 as Head of the Department of Research and Analysis which was tasked with studying Second World War naval battles. Retired in 1949, he remained with the College, continuing his battle analyses in charge of what now had become the World War II Battle Evaluation Group. Although the work was not completed, the project was terminated in 1958.

In 1969 Bates was appointed Vice President of the newly formed Naval War College Foundation, Inc., a private, non-profit association founded to support College programs not covered by appropriated funding. He was elected president in 1972, serving in that capacity until his death on December 27, 1973.

Chronology of Naval Service note

Appointed to U.S. Naval Academy from Third District, California
Graduated from USNA and commissioned Ensign, USN. USS OHIO (BB-12) and USS MARYLAND (ACR-8)
USS CINCINNATI, (C-7), Executive Officer. CUBA (Cuban gunboat), Gunnery Instructor
USS SPROSTON (DD-173), Executive Officer
Promoted to Lieutenant
Post Graduate School, Annapolis, MD, student
Columbia University, student
General Electric Co., Schenectady, NY. Westinghouse Electric, East Pittsburgh, PA
USS MARYLAND (BB-46), Electrical Officer
Post Graduate School, Annapolis, MD, staff
USS RICHMOND (CL-9), Engineer Officer
Naval Station, Honolulu, Hawaii, Officer in Charge, Hydrographic Office; Aide to Commandant Fourteenth Naval District; Permanent Senior Patrol Officer
USS BUCHANAN (DD-131), Commanding Officer
USS RAMAPO (ATO-12), Commanding Officer and Executive Officer
USS LONG (DD-201), Commanding Officer
Bureau of Engineering, Washington, DC
USS CLARK (DD-361), Commanding Officer
Naval War College, Senior Class
Promoted to Captain. Naval War College, Head, Department of Strategy
USS MINNEAPOLIS, Commanding Officer. Promoted to Commodore
Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, staff. Bombardment, Fire Support & Associated Groups, Seventh Fleet, Chief of Staff
Commander, Battle Division Two, Chief of Staff and Aide
Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, Commander
Commander Philippine Sea Frontier, Chief of Staff
Naval War College, staff
Reverted to rank of Captain
Retired. Promoted to Rear Admiral on retired list
World War II Battle Evaluation Group, Naval War College, Newport, RI
Naval War College Foundation, Inc., Vice President and President
Died, Newport, RI, December 27


9.5 Linear Feet (20 archival boxes, 2 slide boxes)


The personal papers of Rear Admiral Richard W. Bates (1892-1973) cover the years 1915-1973. He was a commanding officer on many ships in the Navy. His collection consists of correspondence, subject files, writings, speeches, and miscellaneous items. The papers are arranged in four series based on an established file system. They mainly encompass Bates career as a Naval Officer, family, and social life in Newport, as well as other aspects of his career including published and unpublished writings, notes, photographs, slide presentations, and reports.


The collection is arranged into four series:

Series I. Correspondence, 1938-1973
Correspondence is divided between personal and informal letters although there appears to be little difference between the two content-wise. Bates maintained a voluminous correspondence with naval officers and civilians. Letters deal chiefly with career matters, family matters, and social life in Newport. Correspondents include Admiral Ernest J. King, Chester W. Nimitz, Raymond A. Spruance, William F. Halsey, Richmond K. Turner, Robert B. Carney, Edward Kalfbfus, William S. Pye, and Richard L. Conolly. Also included are copies of letters of other naval officers, namely Admirals King, Kinkaid, and Captain S. Morison, 1944-1953.
Series II. Subject Files, 1916-1973
Subject files relate mostly to the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, Navy official communications and memoranda, the Naval War War College, the World War II Battle Evaluation Group, and the Naval War College Foundation. Included are letters, memoranda, telegrams, dispatches, lectures, studies, meeting minutes, and lists.
Series III. Speeches and Writings, 1942-1967
Admiral Bates' speeches and published and unpublished writings.
Series IV. Photographs, 1915-1973
Miscellaneous items including pamphlets, newspaper clippings, photographs, certificates and citations, invitations, programs, and calling cards.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The personal papers of Rear Admiral Richard W. Bates were acquired in 1974 through the Naval War College Foundation by the term of Bates' will.

Related Materials

Battle Evaluation Group records, RG 23. Naval Historical Collection, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, R.I.

Separated Materials

A book, "The escort carriers in action; the story, in pictures, of the Escort Carrier Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet," 1945, was transferred to the NHC Rare Book collection and can be located using the NWC Library catlaog. The edition was signed by AMD Durgin to R.W. Bates.

Guide to the Richard W. Bates papers1915-1973
Dacs Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Evelyn M. Cherpak, Ph. D.
2011 July 26
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Naval War College Archives Repository

US Naval War College
686 Cushing Rd
Newport RI 02841 US