Storekeeper To Historian
Joseph Lawrence Pires
1965 - 1969
Joseph Lawrence Pires
694 Iredel Court
Calabash, North Carolina 28467
(Telephone #: 1 (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 then Commander Phil Graessle, (he resides in San Diego, California and retired as a CAPTAIN) and Commander A.E. Rowley, also of Southern California.
Today, I take great pleasure in assisting Lonnie Whittaker, from Boulder, Montana (our webmaster/website designer) with the USS BENNINGTON website. More on that later.
To date, I’ve only made four reunions. My first was in 1995 in Bennington, Vermont (hosted by Bill Copeland and his wife Dotty).
I have been to most of the “get-together’s”, held in August, in Bennington, VT., for what they call BENNINGTON BATTLE DAYS.
A few BENNINGTON sailors from the New England area get together for the weekend and have a great time with members of the Bennington Fire Department, Town Officials and “friends of Bennington”.
On Saturday of that week we have held a “Memorial Wreath Presentation” at our Ships Bell Monument- remembering those that have gone before us.
On Sunday a parade is held and we as a group, in full dress whites, representing the USS BENNINGTON CV/CVA/CVS-20, march in the Bennington Battle Days Parade.
I have been married for 40 years (this coming Memorial Day Weekend 2012) to my wife Karen (originally from Barrington, RI.).
She worked full-time as a Cook Manager for the local Barnstable schools food service division, while we resided on Cape Cod.
We have two children. My son Jeff graduated from the University of New Hampshire, with a degree in Computer Science, Geography and Music.
He is presently employed by National Grid (a major utility company from the UK) working as their Senior Analyst/GISP.
He continues to pursue his education seeking a Masters in the field of EOS Science.
Our daughter Jennifer is married and resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with her husband James.
Jennifer works as a dispatcher for AAA in Oklahoma and James works in the electric transmission utility industry.
We used to live in a small village called Osterville in Massachusetts (Cape Cod).
We were in the same home since 1976.
It used to be a quaint little town but like all other places on the Cape, it too, has changed.
But, we could still say, “we’re the only town on the Cape that doesn’t have parking meters on Main Street”.
(but that can't last)
Since my discharge from the Navy in June of 1969, I’ve held three jobs.
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!
Landed a position with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as an assistant in the Shipping & Receiving Department.
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. (Met Karen here as she was the Department Secretary for the Ocean Engineering Department)
In January of 1972, I left the Oceanographic (married Karen in May) and went to work for a utility company called Cape Cod Gas.
(It was a natural gas distribution company).
I worked in three departments over the 38 years I was employed there.
My last 10 years of service prior to retirement was spent in the Damage Prevention Department working in conjunction with the DIG-SAFE System in Massachusetts.
Retiring in February of 2009, Karen and I decided it was time to head to places warmer.
Over the six years prior to retirement, we made trips to North and South Carolina trying to find that special place to hang our hats in the next chapter of our lives.
After much research, we decided to reside in Calabash, NC in a development called Spring Mill Plantation.
As most in our generation know, Jimmy Durante put Calabash, NC on the map and in TV ("Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are”).
It’s a quaint little fishing village similar to what we had back on Cape Cod.
What we don’t have here are the high taxes, the snow, the cold or the high utility bills.
Thus, we are loving it...
As I mentioned in the start of the letter, I’ve been quite involved over the years with the USS BENNINGTON website.
I can recall that in the summer of 1994 I met with Bill Copeland for the first time.
I commented on how nice it would be if we could get a website online for all to see and read what I had been assembling for years.
Well, with the knowledge and assistance of Lonnie Whittaker of Boulder, Montana (ETR-3) our Webmaster, my personal dream came true in September of 1999.
We owe Lonnie Whittaker a great deal of gratitude for making this happen.
His tireless efforts have put BENNINGTON on the map, when it wasn’t even known.... I’m honored and pleased to call him my friend.
(I did not know Lonnie while we were on the ship)
As the “Historian” of sorts for the BENNINGTON Association and a member of its Board of Directors,
I receive many emails, cards and phone calls regarding the site and its contents.
Other Carrier Associations have developed “time lines” based on our efforts.
They to want to preserve their history as well.
I enjoy hearing from all of you and it’s my pleasure to share whatever I can find on BENNINGTON with the membership as well as others who inquire.
I retain whatever I can on BENNINGTON, so, if you have any facts on or about this great lady,
please email me at:
If any information is used on the website – you’ll 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.
" Working At Keeping BENNINGTON's Past - Present"
Sincerely & Fraternally yours,
USS BENNINGTON HISTORIAN