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The LST-32 Reunion History

In December 1990, Henry Pierce and his wife, Linda, took a trip to Florence, Alabama, to search for one of the LST-32 crew members, Alvin Wright. After checking into their hotel and making one telephone call, they were able to locate Alvin!

While they were in Florence they located another crew member, Howard Rickard. He was in the hospital with serious heart problems. From his reaction and the smile on his face, Their short visit was well received. They checked on him every day and learned that he had recovered enough to go home in about a week. His wife attributed much of his improvement to our visit. Needless to say, the search began for other crew members!!

In December 1991, the 1st Reunion was held at the Courtyard Marriot in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Five guys attended: Henry (Gene) Pierce, Cecil Richardson, Harold Strom, Newman Wickline, Boyd White, and Santa Claus. The entire time was spent reminiscing and sharing memorabilia.


In December 1992, the 2nd Reunion was held at the same hotel in Chattanooga with 10 guys attending. We toured the city and spent time catching up on the past.


In September 1993, the 3rd Reunion was held at the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Our theme was "Back to the 50's". Gene Pierce was recovering from a recent heart attack.


In September 1994, the 4th Reunion was held at the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg, Tennessee again. The number of guys attending increased to 28, all of whom were accompanied by spouses or friends. Photographs were made by the outdoor gazebo. Everyone enjoyed eating at the Apple Barn. Sam Meyers attended one night after driving to Chattanooga by mistake!



In September 1995, the 5th Reunion was held in Nashville, Tennessee. We had 26 guys attend. We were honored to have with us the first captain of the Alameda County LST-32, Captain Gardnar Mulloy (we also realized we had a tennis celebrity among us).



In September 1996, the 6th Reunion was held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We stayed at the Coral Reef Hotel with 19 guys attending. We attended Country Tonight and Carolina Opry. We enjoyed a cookout at the home of a crew member, Bob Thompson and a picnic at Bellingrath Gardens. We also enjoyed the local seafood very much.




In September 1997, the 7th Reunion was held in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the Pat Robinson Convention Center. The grounds were beautiful. Attended dinner show at the hotel. Toured Lamoure County Ship at the Navy base. Lunch in chief quarters. Shopped at the commissary. Took dinner cruise on Spirit of Norfolk. At the banquet we were entertained by the "Andrew Sisters". They were none other than: Gene Pierce, Glenn Randleman, and Pete Welch!!



In September 1998, the 8th Reunion was held at the Crown Reef Hotel in Branson, Missouri. Seventeen crew members enjoyed a variety of shows and much sharing of stories.


In September 1999, the 9th Reunion was held at the MainStay Suites in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. What a beautiful setting for a reunion. What a good looking group of 22 guys dressed in their western outfits! We had a cookout and played horseshoes and gave out awards to the winners. We attended several shows including Country tonight where Billy Carter was called on stage to perform! We realized we had another celebrity among us! Much shopping for the ladies at all the outlets.



In September 2000, the 10th Reunion was held at the Embassy Suites Inn, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The theme was "Hawaiian Luau". We were given tennis lessons by Capt. Mulloy who is a real tennis professional and ran everyone ragged! Linda Pierce said the next day that she was sore in places she didn’t even know existed! This was the first reunion George McConnell attended. We went to the Carolina Opry.



In September 2001, the 11th Reunion was held back at the MainStay Suites in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The theme was "Hillbilly Night". What a sight to see. The Clampetts had nothing on this group! At the banquet, a Possum Queen contest was held. Linda Pierce walked off with the crown. We went to several shows.



In September 2002, the 12th Reunion was held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We saw the play, "Daniel and the Lions Den", toured the Amish country including going inside an Amish home. We also enjoyed a lot of great Amish cooking with the homemade preserves and jellies. We saw some beautiful handmade quilts and linens. Some were lucky enough to go to Hershey, Pennsylvania, to experience the Chocolate Spa! At our banquet, we laughed till our sides hurt at a skit written by Capt. Gardnar Mulloy, "A Famous Boxing Match", starring Billy Carter!


In September 2003, the 13th Reunion was held at the Adams Mark Inn Hotel, Mobile, Alabama. Twenty guys attended. Everyone concurs that this reunion was TOPS because we were privileged to tour the LST 325! Every former crew member was on an adrenaline high as they climbed the steps up and down the LST (definitely back in their 20's!). They saluted the flag when they reached the top of the steps and it was very touching. We took a floral memorial for Capt. Mulloy to throw in the water in memory of the deceased crew members. After touring the LST and seeing how close the quarters were, it was easy to understand why there were so many beer parties! We toured the Battleship Alabama where we also had lunch. Now that was a little bigger! While in Mobile we enjoyed a dinner cruise and bus tour. Our theme was "Mardi Gras" because the Mardi Gras originated in Mobile we were told.



In September 2004, the 14th Reunion was held at the MainStay Suites, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The theme was "Rock and Roll". Our Elvis impersonator was Jerry Shirley. There was a hula hoop contest, a twist contest and a sock hop competition. Mary Beam was the winner in the hula hoop contest. The Carter family (Billy, Betty, Bruce, Margaret, Alison, Jim) wrote and performed a 50's skit which really had us rocking and rolling with laughter! We attended two shows: Blackwood Brothers and Celebrate America.


In September 2005, the 15th Reunion was held at The Hyatt on the River, Jacksonville, Florida. Toured the Navy base, Budweiser Plant, Maxwell House Coffee and enjoyed a dinner cruise. Banquet theme was "Patriotic".



In September 2006, the 16th Reunion was held at the Historic Menger Hotel, San Antonio, Texas. Toured L. B.J. Ranch, Missions, and Alamo. Enjoyed Riverwalk. Banquet theme was "Looking Back Over 15 Years". Twenty five people attended: Jack & Mary Beam, Billy Carter, Bruce Carter, Brian & Barbara Cannon, Angie Deveny, Joe & Valerie Fleming, Jason & Yvonne Long, Dianne Mazzone, Capt. Gardnar Mulloy, Pat Mahaffey, Gene & Linda Pierce, Janice Poindexter, Frank Simons & Eloise Krieger, Dick & Dixie Sarver, Donald & Melanie Johnson, Kurt Popp, and Annette Shirley. Both Janice Poindexter's son and daughter's families surprised her father, Capt. Gardner Mulloy, with a visit during the reunion.


In October 2007, the 17th Reunion was held at the MainStay Suites, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The theme was "Smokey Mountain Memories". Bob Thompson gave the welcome, and Brian Cannon read "I Am Your Flag". The Memorial was read by Gene Pierce and Harold Parks gave the Invocation. After dinner, Margaret Carter led the group in some patriotic songs. Rita Parks presented gifts and Linda Pierce acknowledged everyone who helped with the reunion. The entertainment was a "Miss Alameda County" Beauty Contest featuring six of LST 32's finest! "Ship Shape Shelby" (Gene Pierce), "Mess Hall Missy" (Cecil Richardson), "Swabby Sally" (Brian Cannon), "Torpedo Tammy" (Harold Strom), "Convoy Connie" (Bill Street), and "Anchors Away Annie" (Billy Carter). "Anchors Away Annie" was crowned Miss Alameda County. Kurt Popp read "Golden Chain of Friendship" and then everyone joined hands and sang "Blest Be the Tie That Binds" to end the evening. It was agreed to have the 2008 reunion back in Pigeon Forge.







September 20-25, 2008 we met in Pigeon Forge for our 18th reunion.  The theme was “Western Wear” and everyone showed up dressed appropriately.  We had 41 total attendance with 12 veterans.  The band played country and bluegrass music on Saturday night and gospel music on Sunday night.  Following registration, we had dinner in the Hospitality Room, compliments of LST.  The ladies enjoyed lunch at the Pottery House Café.

“Christmas in October” was the theme of our 19th reunion held October 3 – 8, 2009., in Pigeon Forge, TN. There was a total of 39 in attendance with 13 veterans.  Everyone received a filled Christmas Stocking at registration.  There were Christmas trees and even a Candy Table which Billy Carter really enjoyed!  We played a game called “Secret Santa” in which everyone got to choose a gift wrapped under the tree.  It was a magical time and put everyone in the Christmas spirit. 

“Celebrating 20 Years Savannah Style” was the theme for the 2010 reunion.  It was held at the Holiday Inn Express September 25 through September 30, 2010.  Everyone wore T-Shirts advertising our 20th reunion as they toured Historical Savannah.  The band entertained Saturday and Sunday nights. One of the highlights was the Ghost and Graves Tour.  For the banquet, we had 48 in attendance!  After dinner, a memorial slide show was presented to pay tribute to those who had attended any reunion and had passed away.  Bruce Carter showed clips of videos from various years of past reunions.  A brief slide show was presented of group pictures from 1991 through 2009.  It was a night of memories of two decades of reunions.  At the business meeting, it was voted unanimously that wives of deceased veterans would be allowed to vote.  New officers are Lynette Pichard, Treasurer;  Faye Shirley, Secretary and Rita Parks would be in charge of the hotel reservations and entertainment.

September 6 through September 10, 2011, we joined with other LST groups representing over 11 ships in an AMPHIP Reunion in Peoria, IL  The highlight of this reunion was a cruise on the LST-325 for three hours. It was very touching to see all the veterans’ faces when the tour began.  A lot of the men had tears in their eyes.  Quite a few WW11 veterans were aboard.  The main consensus among the veterans was that it was like coming home again.  No one complained about the time spent on board ship.  They all said it was an important time in their lives.  Attending from our LST-32 group were 30 people including 11 veterans.

The 22nd annual reunion was held  September 22 through September 27, 2012 in Pigeon Forge, TN at the MainStay Suites.  It was a Halloween theme.  The LST band, “Close Kin” entertained Saturday and Sunday night.  The band includes Jerry Shirley, Dee Dee Hanks, Scotty Hanks,  Jeremy Shirley and Annette Shirley.  Total attendance was 51 including 14 veterans.  It was voted to go to Charleston in 2013. The group shared reflections of past reunions and what they had meant to them.  Everyone was dressed up and Mary Beam won first prize for best costume.  She made a beautiful witch.  Hal and Rita Parks won second prize for their matching prison outfits.  The door prize was won by Yvonne Long.  Rita Parks acknowledged everyone who helped make the reunion a success.  Linda read a beautiful poem about friends.  The night ended as always with a circle of friendship singing “Bless Be the Tie That Binds”.

“Southern Soiree” was celebrated in Charleston, SC on September 11 – 26, 2013.  When you hear about Historic Plantations with breath-taking gardens, Shrimp & Grits, Sweet Tea, Collard Greens, Fried Green Tomatoes, Spanish Moss and the first shots of the Civil War, you are talking about Charleston, SC!   Among the attractions enjoyed were Patriot’s Point, the USS Yorktown, the Hunley, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston Tea Plantation, and a tour of the city.  Whew!!  31 people attended including 11 veterans.  After a dinner buffet provided by the Embassy Suites, Jason Long presented the memorial.  The group made comments on past reunions and what they meant to them.  Margaret Carter entertained us with a song.  Rita Parks awarded the door prize and acknowledged everyone for their contributions to the reunion.

The 24th Annual Reunion was held September 28, 2014 – October 3, 2014  at Pigeon Forge, TN. What a glorious week we experienced.  After registration on Saturday, Rita Parks prepared a meal of Chicken Pot Pie, fruit salad, slaw and three desserts for everyone in the Hospitality Room.  After the meal, the band provided music for our enjoyment.  Because of the beautiful weather, Everyone was able to participate in outdoor activities, including hiking and walking.  Brian Cannon walks 4 miles a day and Roger Wright takes extensive hikes.  Bruce and Larry Carter enjoyed a day at Dollywood, especially the water rides!  There were 41 people present, including 10 veterans.  This year’s theme was Hawaiian. The food at the banquet reflected the theme.  It was voted at the business meeting to meet again in Pigeon Forge for 2015. 


The 25th Annual Reunion was held October 4-9, 2015 at Pigeon Forge, TN. When Gene Pierce organized the navel reunion in 1990, his dream was to see it continue for twenty-five years, although he did not live to see the twenty-fifth, we know he was with us in spirit. On October 4th thru October 9th at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee we celebrated this milestone together. There were forty-nine in attendance, eight veterans, Brian Cannon, Donald "Don" Johnson, Kurt Popp, Harold Storm, Harold Parks, Pete Welch, Roger Wright, and Jimmy VanZant. Also in attendance we had four wives of deceased veterans Mary Beam, Yvonne Long, Betty Carter, and Linda Pierce, plus dedicated family and friends. We were entertained on Sunday and Monday nights by "Close Kin”. On Tuesday we enjoyed dinner at the famous Alamo Restaurant we then proceeded to the Smokey Mountain Opry for an after dinner show, on Wednesday we enjoyed delicious seafood at Harpoon Harry's, followed by fellowship and desserts in the hospitality suite. On Thursday night we celebrated with a patriotic banquet, this was the highlight of our week together, however it is always a sad time as we know our time together is coming to a close until the next reunion. We want to thank each of you that attended for being a vital part of this memorable reunion.