Until the next USS CAVALLA Reunion

Cavalla Reunion 2008

Missing Shipmates








All Cavallas Reunion 2006
April 28th-29th, Hotel Galvez
Galveston, Texas


USS CAVALLA Reunion 2004
SS244, SSK244, AGSS244, SSN 684
April 21-23, 2004  Galveston, TX
Reunion leader. Jim Burke


Photos by Jim Burke



USS CAVALLA Reunion 2002
SS244, SSK244, AGSS244, SSN 684
April 16-17, 2002  Galveston, TX


The Cavalla Reunion 2002 is over and we can begin to look ahead to 2004. We had a great turn out with 46 Shipmates, 12 Volunteer Shipmates, and 51 guests. Three of the Shipmates are also Volunteers who are working to restore the Cavalla. The 51 guests did not include a number of "Walk Ins" who attended the Wednesday Memorial Service. Of the 46 shipmates, 12 served on Cavalla during WWII; 18 served on her in the Post War period; and 16 served on the nuclear Cavalla, the SSN684. A fairly even split gave a great opportunity to bring together Submariners facing different challenges.

The program included two banquets on Tuesday evening (one for the WWII Shipmates and one for the Post War Shipmates); the Volunteer Shipmates and the SSN684 Shipmates had a choice of which banquet to attend. The program for each banquet was the same: Favorite Sea Stories by the Shipmates. Nostalgia reigned and it became apparent that the older we get, the better we were. The diesel boaters learned that one of Rickover’s gifts to the Submarine Force was a Submariner that didn’t smell of diesel oil and sweat --- or maybe it was a gift to the Submariner’s wives.

The Memorial Service was held alongside the Cavalla and Stewart. We were treated to a new song, "The Second Saga of the Cavalla," by Jeff Morris; here Jeff updated his first Saga to recognize the progress that has been made since the Volunteers came to Cavalla’s rescue. Ron Smith spoke of our Shipmates on Eternal Patrol; his address was entitled: "No, they didn’t die…" Rene Adame presented the poem, "An American Lady," written and dedicated to Cavalla by Annette Barron. The Service concluded with a Tolling of the Bells for the lost boats and a wreath was cast onto the waters of Galveston harbor. After the Ser vice, Shipmates and Guests toured Cavalla and were impressed by the progress of the restoration.

The Wednesday banquet was attended by 101 Shipmates and Guests. Admiral Bruce De Mars gave the keynote address, "The Submarine Constant." Admiral De Mars was the commissioning Skipper of the SSN684; his "Constant" is the Submariner, whether of the diesel or nuclear era. The Cavalla Historical Foundation was the topic of Zeb Alford who is the Chairman of the Foundation. John McMichael reviewed the Cavalla Restoration Program. John is the COB, Curator, and Project Director for the Foundation and the Park Board. The Banquet presented the opportunity for all the Shipmates to rise and thank the Volunteer Shipmates who are making our Lucky Lady ship shape once again. As part of that thank you, the Volunteers of the Year, Griz Adams and Susan Morris were given a standing ovation. The Reunion thus ended on an optimistic note; the Shipmates had seen the progress being made and now know that Cavalla’s future is in good hands.

Financially, the Cavalla Reunion 2002 Fund, which started with $368.14 from the Reunion 2000 Fund, met expenses and provided a Reunion 2004 starter fund of $500. There was a residual of $124.63. A $500 check has been sent to Jim Burke, the Coordinator for the Cavalla 2004 Reunion, and $124.63 has been sent to the Cavalla Historical Foundation. Two new Cavalla deck planks will be dedicated to two Cavalla Plank Owners who are on Eternal Patrol.

We should like to thank all the Shipmates and Volunteers who helped the Committee in making Reunion 2002 a success. The list and what they did is so long, it would take another full page, and even then, a few would be inadvertently left out. Our heartfelt thanks centers on the Volunteers in the area, on John McMichael, and on the CHF on whom much work fell. Thank you and Well Done!

Zeke Zellmer, Beverly Friedman, and Jim Rankin.




SS-244, SSK-244, AGSS-244, SSN-684
APRIL 28 & 29, 2000 in GALVESTON, TEXAS


Friday evening: Separate dinners for the WWII and SSK/AGSS Crews at Guido's Seaside Inn & Restaurant. Dinner was excellent. Everyone got a chance to get reacquainted and tell their story of the Cavalla, whether it was hunting the Russkies or torpedoing the Japanese. 

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After dinner group photographs were taken  and all crews retreated to the hospitality suites to talk, reminisce, and leaf through the Cavalla scrapbooks.


Saturday morning: The tolling of the boats ceremony was held at Seawolf park, alongside the USS Cavalla and USS Stewart. WWII Cavalla vet Jim Rankin started the ceremony with the posting of the colors by the Houston Chapter of the Navy League Sea Cadets. The national anthem was performed by the Rumble Seat Four barbershop quartet; the tenor, John Harlan, is a submarine veteran who served on the USS PIPER, SS-409. CHF treasurer Jeff Morris sang his stirring Cavalla song.

Richard "Cavalla Doc" Beeghley presented all the Cavalla Plankowners with a special gift on behalf of the Cavalla Bilge Rats and volunteers--a plank made from the teak decking on Cavalla removed during the restoration. He also presented a hand crafted plaque  honoring the two reunion organizers, Jim Rankin and Bill Friedman. 

Cavalla All Crews reunion --  the Men

Next up, Jim Rankin thanked the media for covering the event. He introduced the main speaker, Ron Smith, WWII subvet who served aboard USS Seal SS-183. Ron gave the audience a vivid description of the life, work, and sacrifice involved for submariners during the war. Many of his close friends perished in the effort to halt Japanese aggression.

With Cavalla WWII vet Louis Roybal tolling the bell, Cavalla COB John McMichael then read the names of the 52 lost boats, the two lost nuclear boats, and Cavalla shipmates who have passed away. Taps was performed by Sparky Koerner, the Director of the Music Department at College of the Mainland in Texas City. 

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Volunteer Ken Anderson captured the ceremony on video and Christine Hopkins (Public Relations Manager  of the Park Board) conducted videoed interviews with many crewmembers at their stations.



Saturday evening: Shuttle buses provided by the Galveston Park Board began transporting reunion members from Guido's to the Strand downtown for the big gala event.  The Houston Chapter of the Navy League, the Galveston Park Board and the Cavalla Historical Foundation  honored the Cavalla Veterans and the 100th Anniversary of the Submarine Service with a gala at the Tremont House Davidson Ballroom. 

The Tremont House and Renee Adame's staff went all out to make the tribute to the Cavalla vets special and they succeeded. The event was the swankiest veteran's reunion I know of. The walls were bedecked with photos of Cavalla and her crews, the tables had sailor caps and assorted Cavalla pictures, plus a unique SS or SSK centerpiece. The staff people who helped with the gala are Christy Mitchell (made the display boards), Laura Holt (put together the Cavalla booklets).

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The welcome and opening remarks were delivered by Marshall Cloyd, President I of the  Houston Council of the Navy League. Bill Friedman delivered the Pledge of Allegiance and the Invocation was spoken by Jim Rankin. 


Bill and Jim then led an introduction of SS, SSK, AGSS, and SSN crew members. Thanks was given to Al Lansdowne for handling the ship's store and Margita Euler for her unceasing  efforts to get Cavalla recognized as a National Landmark. Renee Adame was recognized and gave a few words about the Park Board's commitment to the Cavalla cause.  

Capt. Zeke Zellmer, Lt. j.g. aboard the first five Cavalla war patrols, spoke about the human side of life aboard Cavalla during the war. He described the training and antics of the crew, Cavalla's first casualty, and her triumph in the Philippine Sea.

Capt. Zeb Alford gave some remarks about his time aboard Cavalla as XO in the late fifties. He outlined the standards set by the WWII Silent Service and the successes of the Cold War Cavalla.

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Dinner was served as the Manny Green & his Orchestra played big band music.

After dinner, a special awards presentation was given by Jim Flanders. Jim had brought a number of Cross pens, turned from the Cavalla's decking, with the name of each WWII Cavalla vet inscribed.

Dancing and camaraderie continued on through the night. Cavalla's first All Crews reunion was a resounding success!


       Bill Friedman SSK-244                                   Jim Rankin SS-244





World War II Crew Reunion

November 5-8, 1998 King's Bay, GA

CAVALLA shipmates that served on her during the period from commissioning through the sixth war patrol held a reunion at the King's Bay, Georgia, Submarine Base on 5-7 November 1998. The reunion was held during the annual get-together hosted by the base which included the annual Memorial Service. CAVALLA shipmates who attended were:

Charles Aylmer
Buzzards Bay, ME
Bob Laher & Shirley
Escondido, CA
Vivian Beyel (Widow of R.R. Beyel)
Jacksonville, FL
Jim Lopez
Santa Ynes, CA
John Breslin & Rita
Sun City Center, FL
Al Nemes & Helen
Strongsville, OH
Rudy Cieplenski (Ski)
Sauquoit, NY
Ray Nichols & Mildred
Melbourne, FL
Robert Collins & Evelyn
Largo, FL
Jim Rankin & Ruth
Lake Wales, FL
Frank Frazer & Irene
Mobile, AL
Louis Roybal & Ann
Port Charlotte, FL
Irving Garman & Helen
Seattle, WA
William Shryock & Lucille
Napa, CA
Don Haseley 
Mooresville, NC
Phil Urban (Turtle)
Little Rivers, SC
Ernest Zellmer (Zeke) & Lois
Satellite Beach, FL
Woodrow Wert (Woodie) & Dorothy
Middletown, CA


Bill Friedman & Beverly
Lake Wales, FL
Neal Stevens
Lake Jackson, TX


Updated June 08, 2008 by Neal Stevens