Pepperdine during World War II: Remembering “On the Beam”

On_the_beam_graphicIn September of 1944, as Allied efforts in World War II neared crescendo, George Pepperdine College (GPC) reported 350 students in service to the nation. Total enrollment at the time was only 418. Many students, such as basketball star June Tuggle, put their education on hold to serve in the armed forces. As a labor of love, GPC basketball coach Al O. Duer started a monthly newsletter called On the Beam in order to maintain communications with GPC students and alumni serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Second World War. Carrying the motto “Dedicated to Young Pepperdiners in the Service,” the newsletter ran from June 1943 to at least January 1946. Coach Duer, who edited the newsletter, often closed his monthly message with: “Keep those chins up and stay ‘on the beam’.” The publication included news updates about student and alumni wartime activities and deployments, including photographs and contact information. On the Beam was a critical resource for GPC students, faculty, and friends on the home front who sent letters and care packages to the troops overseas. The newsletter claimed a circulation of 4,500 by July 1945.

Of course, not every GPC student would return from the war. In February 1945, On the Beam retroactively reported the death of Pfc. June Tuggle, the first Pepperdine casualty of the war. There would be five others: Robert Carter, Bruce Munday, Charles Stivers, Hugh McCullough, and Jack Slade. In this 70th anniversary year of Allied victory in World War II—and on this Veteran’s Day—Pepperdine University Libraries are pleased to announce the fully searchable online publication of On the Beam in Pepperdine Digital Collections. We extend a very grateful thanks to Pepperdine veterans of past and present, and to all veterans everywhere.

Cover of "On the Beam," May 1945
Cover of “On the Beam,” May 1945
Photo spread of GPC servicemen in "On the Beam"
Photo spread of GPC servicemen in “On the Beam”
Pepperdine during World War II: Remembering “On the Beam”