* U.S. Navy Electricians Mate 2nd John R. Beard is pictured with Maj Louis Burge, USAF-Ret, Chapter Veterans Outreach Officer and CAPT Doug Ehrhardt, USN-Ret., New River Chapter President. Beard was recognized on November 18, 2014 as the second awardee of the New River Chapter's veteran recognition program and received a certificate recounting his military contributions (right), a set of personalized “dog tags” and a service-specific lapel pin.
* EM2 Beard, Jr. is one of the spryest 95 year olds you’ll ever meet. He served aboard the USS Mayrant in the Atlantic theater conducting U-Boat patrols. Later, he was assigned to the USS Charles J. Badger seeing duty in the Pacific theater during Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Okinawa campaign.
* Originally from Mecklenburg County, Beard joined the Navy in 1938 and was discharged after the war in 1946. In the immediate post-war years, he served as a N.C. Game Warden. Eventually he went to work for the city of Charlotte where he spent the rest of his career in the Water Utilities Department. He and his wife Anne reared two children, a son and a daughter.
* Beard says the Navy had a big impact on his life. “I still have vivid memories of the combat operations I was involved in and the people I served with,” he related. One wall in his office serves as a tribute to his wartime service and is adorned with period photographs, certificates, memorabilia and military decorations. There’s even a world map that meticulously pinpoints all his ports of call.
* EM2 Beard and his wife of 66 years moved to Ashe County six years ago to be closer to their daughter, Ellen Gaddy in Creston.
* Congratulations EM2 Beard and thank you for your service aboard the U.S. Navy's USS Mayrant and USS Badger during WWII.
Scroll over the thumbnail photographs to see more pictures from the 18 November award presentation to EM2 Beard:
- Maj Burge is pictured presenting the award tokens - a set of personalized dog tags with a P-38 can opener and a lapel pin - to EM2 Beard as CAPT Ehrhardt looks on.
- A wall mounted map of the world on which EM2 Beard has chronicled his travel locations while in the Navy.
- A picture of EM2 Beard with the United States and Navy flags after the awarding of his certificate.
- LCDR Jim Gee, USN-Ret., chapter member and model ship builder is pictured with John with a scale model of the USS Mayrant, DD402, which was one of the destroyers that EM2 Beard served aboard during WWII.