Reunions - An Annual Ritual
Beale shipmates have held their annual reunion since 1976 when Milton Lund and a few others decided to get to get together with whoever would join them in Spring Valley, MN. Little did they know, their notion of "just getting together" to reacquaint themselves with men they had served with, and to meet and make new friends with others who served from the Beale's commissioning in 1942 through her decommissioning in 1968 would evolve into an annual ritual. Shipmates, their spouses, significant others, children, grandchildren and friends from far and near travel to these reunions to enjoy the camaraderie and to swap sea stories. The crew gathers to reminisce. The women do the same and somehow manage to get in some "non-Navy" activities. The younger generations sit and listen to the sea stories. Some are an "oral history" of the Beale and her crews. Others have grown into bigger than life seafaring tales of cruises to far away exotic places and the "joyous" moments of shipboard life. We sometimes slip back in time using navy words recalled from the far recesses of our minds. Life is good being back with our brothers who sailed aboard the USS Beale DD/DDE-471!
The Beale Bugle was published for many years by Dorothy Pankow and later by Roger and Sue Gillingham. It served as a reunion yearbook and an annual newsletter. Distributed at the annual reunion, The Bugle would contain photos and stories of the prior year's reunion and the "plan of the day" for the current reunion. Also, there were photos and stories of days gone-by depicting young Beale sailors and their experiences.
It is only fitting, our first website "reprint" is the following article written by Dorothy for the 1992 edition of the Bugle.
Steve Pankow, EM3 (1943-1945)
b.1923 - d.1993
Steve and Dorothy Pankow were involved in many reunions. As is the custom, Reunion Hosts volunteer two years in advance of our reunions. In 1992, the Pankows agreed to host the 1994 reunion in their hometown of Buffalo, NY. Although Steve passed away in 1993, this not deter Dorothy and the rest of the Pankow family. The '94 reunion was held in Buffalo and was deeply appreciated by all.. Dorothy Pankow died in 1996.
A Reunion Tradition
The Beale Reunions have always had fund raisers to ensure "next year's" host would have sufficient funds for hotel , entertainment and meal deposits. The fund raisers consisted of auctions and raffles. The auction items would be donated by shipmates then bid on and sold to those in attendance. Some items were Beale memorabilia, nautical items, handcrafts, jams and jellies, and, of course, nicely wrapped mystery & gag gifts. The auctioneers were generally colorful but clean spoken shipmates who just plain enjoyed having fun. For several years, we had an official "Auctioneer's Mate". Hartwell "Jim" Paul, a professional auctioneer, provided the entertainment while squeezing a few more dollars from sometimes thrifty bidders. Although Jim is no longer with us, thank you Jim.
The raffles furnished the opportunity for all to have a chance to win some nice things such as quilts, sweaters and other similar and desirable items. The centerpiece of the raffles was a large scale model of the Beale in her WW2 configuration. Over the years Bill Jones crafted about 12 models. Thank you Bill.
Hartwell "Jim" Paul, Auctioneer's Mate
USS Beale DD/DDE-471
- WW2 Configuration -
Crafted by Bill Jones
To see Group Photos of all reunions beginning 1976, click on the Slide Show button below.
Flyer for 2015 Atlantic City Reunion