Storekeeper To Historian
Joseph Lawrence Pires
1965 - 1969

Joseph Lawrence Pires
694 Iredel Court
Calabash, North Carolina 28467
(910) 579-0923

Fellow Shipmates & Friends of BENNINGTON:

My name is Joseph Pires and I was a 3rd class Storekeeper in the Supply Department's (S-1 Division) for my entire Navy stint from 1965-1969. I had the great pleasure of working directly for Commander Phil Graessle, (he resides in San Diego, California and retired as a CAPTAIN) and Commander A.E. Rowley, also of Southern California.

It is a great pleasure and an honor to assist Lonnie Whittaker, our website designer and webmaster, for the USS Bennington Association. More on that later.

To date, I have only made five reunions. My first was in 1995 in Bennington, Vermont. Since then, I have been to most of the yearly "get-togethers", which are held in August each year. (Known as BENNINGTON BATTLE DAYS). Six members of the BENNINGTON P.A.C.T. get together for four days. We arrive on Thursday and prepare for our Friday activities which includes feeding the Veterans at the Veterans Home in Bennington, VT. We also take the time necessary to sit and chat with the veterans in their rooms, spending most of the afternoon with them. Then, as a collective group, each paying our own way for whatever we do, we go out to dinner at one of the local restaurants that have supported our activities for many years. On Saturday of that week we hold a "Memorial Wreath Presentation" at our actual Ships Bell Monument- remembering those that have gone before us. Then on Sunday (approx. noontime), the Bennington Battle Day parade is held. As a group, we represent the USS BENNINGTON CV/CVA/CVS-20 while in full dress whites (but not necessary), walking the entire parade route. It is a most memorable experience.......

I have been married for 42 years to my wife Karen (originally from Barrington, RI.) She, like me, is now retired. We have two children.

Our son Jeff graduated from the University of New Hampshire, with a degree in Computer Science, Geography and Music. He also became a GIS, Professional (GISP)

He is employed by National Grid in Waltham, Massachusetts (a major electric & gas utility company from England) working as a Lead Analyst and GISP.

Our daughter Jennifer now resides in Southport, North Carolina, about an hour from our home. She and her husband James moved here directly after the tornado went through the town where they resided, (Moore, Oklahoma).

Karen and I now reside in a small town known as Calabash (North Carolina). Jimmy Durante put this place on the map back in the 1950's. We moved from Cape Cod, Massachusetts in July of 2010 after being in the same home since 1976.

Since my discharge from the Navy in June of 1969, I held three different positions. I started out by working for the Falmouth Police Department. I soon realized that, "the court system and lawyers were for the criminals and not the law-abiding citizens". Not for me, so, I moved on. I landed a position with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as an assistant in the Shipping & Receiving Department. (Kind of like a Navy Storekeeper). I was basically responsible for over-seeing that all the materials for ALVIN (deep-dive sub) got to wherever she was, anywhere in the world. Did this for approximately two years. (This is where I met Karen, as she was the Department Secretary for the Ocean Engineering Department)

In January of 1972, I left the Oceanographic and went to work for a utility company called Cape Cod Gas. (It was a natural gas distribution company). Over the years, I made it through 4 company buy-outs/mergers.

Over the 38 plus years, I worked in three departments. I wound up as a Damage Prevention Representative and retired in February of 2010.

As I mentioned in the start of this letter, I have been quite involved with the BENNINGTON and its website over the years. Lonnie Whittaker made a dream of mine come true in the fall of 1999 (September). As the "Historian" for the BENNINGTON group, I have received hundreds, if not thousands of emails, cards and phone calls regarding the site and its contents. Other Carrier Associations became interested in what we had and decided to develop "time lines" like ours, as they to, wanted to preserve their ships history as well.

I truly enjoy hearing from all of you and it is indeed my pleasure to share whatever I can find on BENNINGTON with the membership as well as others who inquire about our once great lady. Also, I retain whatever I can on BENNINGTON. With that said, if you have any USS BENNINGTON data, please email me at: or If any information is used on the website you will receive full credit as the individual who supplied such data.

My best to all of you and I hope that what you see and read within the many pages of the USS BENNINGTON website; that something will trigger those good memories that we all had on this once great lady of the Atlantic & Pacific.
"Keeping BENNINGTON's Past - Present"

Fraternally yours,



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