Always Ready
   Fall, 2005                                                                                                                            1 November, 2005

Association Officers

Ron Zimmerman Sr.
474 SW Prater Ave.
Port St. Lucie, FL  34953
(772) 621-4016

Vice President
Doug Hauser
2137 Young Farm Pl.
Montgomery, AL 36106

Jack Norton
2386 SE Patio Circle
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952

George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036

Holiday Special!
Check out the Ship's Store for details! 
To all of our Shipmates,

Best Wishes
for a joyful
Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year

From the Executive Board

From our President:  Another Reunion is now in the history books. I'd like to thank our host and hostess Doug and Kathy Hauser for the great job they did putting together the tours and events for us to enjoy and making sure everything went as smoothly as possible. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a little less heat during the day! To say at times that it was miserably hot might be an understatement. For more details check out the Vice President's article.

2006 Reunion: At the annual Executive Board meeting George Kaiser, our Treasurer and 2006 Reunion host, provided us a progress report. Unfortunately it was not good news that he had. Choices for tours and transportation was not an issue, but hotel prices were. Prices he was quoted were above $135.00 per night and did not include parking (another $20 a day). All attempts to negotiate a reasonable price for accommodations failed. My take on what they told him was that Philadelphia presented him the attitude that that's the price and if you don't like it too bad and they didn't much care about the business our LITTLE group would bring to the table. This situation was discussed at length and it was decided that the location had to be moved. At that time I suggested that we hold it in Florida, with St. Augustine, Orlando, and Jacksonville areas being targeted. After a lengthy discussion about this proposal it was decided by an unanimous vote of the Executive Board to move the 2006 Annual Reunion to Florida with St. Augustine as the first choice, followed by Orlando and then Jacksonville. Your host and hostess for the 2006 Annual Reunion will be Jack and Pat Norton with Ron and Sally Zimmerman as co-host and hostess.

Election Results: Your Executive Board for the 1 Oct. 2005 to 30 Sep. 2006 year are:
President, Ron Zimmerman
Vice President, Doug Hauser
Secretary, Jack Norton
Treasurer, George Kaiser.

New Finds:
Thomas Donohue, SK2, '68;
Gerald Berry, SN, '52; James Quist, SN, '51; James Mockerman, F1c, '45; Frank Hausen, RM3, '57; Donald Taylor, RM2, '58; John Jackson, RD3, '63; Thomas Peck, EM2 '59; Richard McGregor, SN, '57

Honor Roll: Hamlin Caldwell, LT, '63;
Leslie Martinez, MMFN, '72; Everett Sigler, SN, '68; George Fauerbach, LTjg, '69; Daniel Gilchrest, LT, '70; Murray Zaretsky, S2c, '45; John Stevens, PHM1c, '45; Wesley Allard, GMC, '47; Edward Zane, BMCM, '71, Joseph Danoy, DK1, '52; Felix Patkus, SN, '46..
We wish to express our deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to their family and friends.

Web site update: Except for the on-line version of this news letter and updates to the crew rosters & Honor Roll pages nothing new has been added since the June update. Hopefully, pictures of the 2005 Reunion will start coming in so they can be added by the time March update rolls around. At the reunion, the crewmembers present asked that the next set of Deck Logs purchased be for the year 1962 since the ship participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis blockade. I am happy to report that enough funds were donated at the reunion to make this possible. I will be working on obtaining them in time for the 2006 reunion.

Special Request: The son of shipmate Murray Zaretsky recently found our web site and contacted me to inform us that his father had passed away in 1971. His e-mail also asked that anyone who might remember his father to please contact him by phone or at the following postal and e-mail addresses:
Bruce Zaretsky
Zaretsky and Associates, Inc.
1965 Wilson Hulburt Road
Macedon, NY 14502

Ron Zimmerman

On a personal note -
our son Jason, who is stationed at Ft Campbell KY and a member of an Air Assault unit (part of the 101st Airborne), was able to attend the Reunion with us this year. Their unit was preparing for deployment and it was going to be his last opportunity to see us before they shipped out. His wanting to be there with us and to also meet the people he had heard Sally and I talk about made this Reunion very special for us. What made it extra special was the way you made him feel welcome and part of the Sitkin family.
  From talking to him afterwards I know that many of you who talked to him about his career and thanked him for his service to his country really made him feel good. From what he said he shared this experience with other members of his unit and told them of the support he received for what they were about to have to do. Having the support of the people back here in the states means a lot to these young men and women and makes a difference in their daily life. Since then their unit has deployed and they are somewhere over in the "big sandbox" for a year.
  To each of you, Sally and I want to give you a very sincere, heart felt Thank You! For us, the support and caring you showed for our son is beyond words. May God bless all of you.
Ron & Sally Zimmerman

Just before press time I received an e-mail from our son with his postal address and a request for "goodies". Looking back to my active duty time, I remember how much my shipmates and I enjoyed the "goodie" boxes we received from loved ones. This reflection on times long past prompted an idea of how great it would be if some of our crew members would like to participate in sending members of his company cards, "support our troops" letters or "edible morale" this holiday season. I have sent him an e-mail about doing this and am waiting a response from him to make sure his CO is OK with this idea and also asked him for a list of items that would be appreciated or if there are things that don't ship well or is restricted. Hopefully I'll have a response by the time you receive this.
  If you are interested in this Support Our Troops effort please give me a call at (772)621-4016 and I'll provide specifics on their "wish list" and how get the "care package" to them. If you get my voice mail, leave me a message and I'll give you a call back ASAP.

From the desk of the Vice President:
Not too much to report at this time. At the Annual Business Meeting we discussed the need to move the location of the 2006 Reunion. We were all disappointed that it had to be moved but things happen sometimes that are beyond our control.

Reunion for 2007:
Also at the Annual Business Meeting proposals for the location of the 2007 Reunion were presented. Only 2 sites were proposed, Baton Rouge, LA and greater Chicago, Illinois area (exact location outside of the city not available and dependent upon costs). Baton Rouge was voted on by the Active Members present as the location for the 2007 Reunion with Kathy and I as hosts.
  Of course this was well in advance of both hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the destruction they brought upon the area. From the information I have received about damage to the area and the increase in problems associated with handling all the relocated refugees, that area may not be able to accommodate us. I will be going down there sometime after the first of the year to check it out. Any decision to move it to an alternate location will be made by the Executive Board. Besides Illinois, we still have information from several places that have contacted the Association about holding a reunion in their area.
  Speaking of hosting reunions, as a reminder, anyone can bring a proposal to the annual meeting to hold one in their area. If you have any questions about what you need to do to put together a package to present to the membership, please give me or any Executive Board member a call. We would be glad to help you.

Membership Chairman:
Active Membership is now at 204, down a little bit from last year. But itís not the end of the year yet! If you are behind and have forgotten to send in your dues for 2005, there is still time. Continuous Active Membership is required to qualify for the award pins. Dues year runs from 1 January to 31 December. 2006 is rolling around quick.
Doug Hauser, Vice President and Membership Chairman

Doug Hauser
Vice President and Membership Chairman

2005 Post Reunion Report: The Annual Reunion is behind us for another year. For those of you who missed it, I can say without a doubt this was a very good reunion We had a total of 115 attendees (55 shipmates and guests). I would like to again welcome the several shipmates attending one of our reunions for the 1st time and hope to see you back next year. I would also like to say thanks to all of you who attended the reunion. If not for you it would not have been a success.
I would also like to thank the convention center for all their help while preparing for the event. The only part they forgot to do was turn off the heat! It was very hot and humid and hard on a lot of us. But even under these conditions the tours of Boone Hall & Fort Moultrie on Friday and Patriots Point & Fort Sumter on Saturday were interesting and enjoyed by most everyone who went.
  The Pool Party was a success and after the heat endured on Fridayís tour, a lot of shipmates found their way into the pool to cool off. Joe Theisen brought along his accordion and entertained shipmates in the hospitality room. Joe loves to do this and those who were there gave him a big hand. Thanks Joe for adding to the festivities.
  The Annual Honor Ceremony and Memorial Service was held aboard the USS Yorktown on the Hanger Bay and the names of those shipmates that we have learned had passed away since last year were read. I would like to thank our Chaplin, Mark Rucker, for the really fine service he presented.  Mark, thank you again for being our Chaplin as you have been faithful in your service to the Association.
  I would also like to thank anyone else who helped out. Like Larry Karadeema for helping at the registration table, and his being forceful for pushing shipmates into buying memory books. Glad to say we had at least 42 books sold . Thanks Larry for a job well done. By the way, the books have been completed and mailed out to those who purchased them. They really turned out great!. In case anyone may change your mind about a Memory book, give me a call and I will put you in touch with the photographer.
  The way the scheduling of events went, we had plenty of free time to spend this year chatting with friends, seeing shipmates we had not seen for many years, and meeting new men from different years. One of my shipmates who made one of the first ones and had not been back for awhile told me he will never miss another one. So if you never made a reunion in the past or have not been to one for a few years may I suggest you please make one in the future, you will not be disappointed. Thank you all once again and hope to see you all in Florida for the 2006 Annual Reunion.

Doug and Kathy Hauser
2005 Annual Reunion Host and Hostess

REPAIR 3:  Well Shipmates, looks like another year is drawing to a close, For this old Sailor, itís been 34 years in July that I left the Great Sitkin. Whole lot of water has passed under my keel since then, as it has I guess for all of us. Ok, now here comes another Reunion message from an Association Officer. I really hope that youíre still reading and havenít passed on to the next article. Just take a few minutes to read my take on this years gathering in Charleston, SC.
  We traveled to Charleston in August, looking forward to meeting friends from past years, and hoping to meet new friends. Oh, did I mention my wife and I drove down from Philadelphia on used veggie oil? Side note here: I drive a 1995 Ford F350 with a PowerStroke Diesel in it. Back in May, I converted it over to run on veggie oil. Right now itís October, and the last time I actually bought any fuel for it was in July. For more details on this, email me.
  But, back to the reunion story. The usual ďcast of charactersĒ from my 69-71 crew was there, good people, fun times. We continue to build very special relationships with everyone. New to the mix this year was Fred and Carolyn Malone. For those of you from earlier years, or from ďmy timeĒ suffering from CRS, Fred was a BT, part of a very select group of engineers that kept the Sitkin steaming. Jim Dunno, also a BT, worked the boilers with Fred, and they hadnít seen each other since 1972. Well, theyíre meeting by the pool was one of those ďpricelessĒ things you had to be there to appreciate. And while Iím on the subject of Fred and Carolyn, they had a story of 2nd chance after tragedy strikes your life that was inspirational for all of us. Guess youíll have to come to the 2006 reunion to catch all the details.
  Speaking of 2006, I really want to take a moment to talk directly to my R Division Shipmates from 69,70, &71. Ed, Paul, Flippo, youíre who Iím talking to. It would really be great if youíd make an effort next year to get to Florida and join me and Fred Applegate, along with a whole lot of other guys from our sailing days. Trust me, as great as they are, the reunion isnít just about guys from the early 50ís anymore. We really have a great time! Please guys, email me for some more details and another plea for yaíll to come out. Try it once, then tell me to get lost, or more likely, that youíll see me in 2007 too!
  Ok, the reunion Iím sure has been rehashed in other areas of this edition, so Iíll move on to my official duties next. Iím the treasurer of the association, and all of your dues and ships store purchase checks pass across my desk on their way to the bank. 1st of all, Iím constantly amazed at how many of you send in your $20 each year to support the association. I mean, Great Sitkin wasnít a glamorous cruiser or carrier, and didnít fire her guns in anger at some enemy. She was just an ammo carrier, doing the grinding work of hauling bombs and bullets for the big boys. Yet her crew continues to support the effort to keep her memory alive on the WWW, at reunions, and in the newsletter. And that my Friends, continues to be awesome! Keep up the great work!
  And, speaking of Ships Store, we continue to have some great stuff, again, keeping the memory alive. Be sure to check out the details, and be generous this Christmas. If you want something special, use your imagination to get the info to your family, and get them to send me an order. Cutoff date for Christmas shipments will be December 3rd.
I guess thatís it for now. Hope to hear from a lot of you, my email is still Everyone stay safe out there.

George Kaiser

Just a little aft of the fantail: Dear Shipmates, I know, I know, the last newsletter was written so as to be my last but I couldnít resist one more little chance to share some thoughts.
  I think everyone had a great time at the last reunion. Charleston is a very pretty city and the people are so nice and friendly. You know, every reunion site we have chosen seems to be a winner. Iím pretty sure the reunions turn out well because of the people attending. The cool part to me is how every year we see each other and seem to continue even our conversations as if we only paused to take a breath. The well planned tours and events as much as they are appreciated and enjoyed, canít hold a light to something like the unplanned party at the motel swimming pool or finding a neat restaurant for lunch with two or three other couples. A few of our friends and Shipmates have resisted coming to the reunions. Ron, Doug, George and I have had long and sometimes heated discussions regarding ways to convince members to attend. Sometimes there are good reasons. We know, health or financial problems keep folks at home. Sometimes even a hurricane. Please know that the board members do spend a lot of mental and physical effort trying to convince our Shipmates to show up. Without reunions we wouldnít have an organization and vice versa.
  Itís kind of like a school kid, trying to convince his friends in class to come to a party. Some wonít show up for good reasons and some wonít come either because itís not their party or they feel out of place. No one is immune to those feelings. Letís see, what if I canít remember his name or I sure hope they donít ask me to volunteer for something.
  One of the nicest things about our bunch of folks is, no one ever feels like a stranger. We have our shipboard experience in common and I think that makes us very much at ease with each other. The folks that do things, planning, organizing and massaging the reunions are usually pretty good at getting the help they need without making anyone feel as though they are obligated. If you want to help you can. If not, thatís also cool.
  Those of us that regularly attend the reunions should give a little thought to our shipmates that havenít come and try to help them to feel welcome. We all know that when the reunions are over and we say our good-bys to head back home, itís a wonderful feeling to know we will see each other again the next year. Everyone feels pretty much the same way and so would those that we have missed. It does feel good.
  We will see you next year in Florida. Thanks for letting me be your Secretary and for making Patti and I so welcome in the association.

Don McClane

Sea Stories: (This article was provided by shipmate James F. Mockerman, F -1c.):
Member of the original crew of the U.S.S. Great Sitkin (AE-17) moored to pier #2, birth 1 starboard to pier at naval ammunition depot, Earl N.J. Leonardo pier. Stern towards U.S.S. Solar D-E-221 a destroyer Escort.
  On 4/30/1946 at 0832, I was standing on main deck at #2 hold just forward of our super structure. I heard a small explosion aft that sounded like a 3.50 gun. fired. I noticed the ammo handlers on the pier pointing aft down the pier toward the U.S.S. Solar, moored to north end of pier #1, Stern to South, port to pier. I ran through the weather deck to the ladder rail aft of super structure. I saw black smoke curling upward from the center of the focsle to a height of about 100 feet and climbing. About a minute later a 2nd explosion, much greater than the 1st, with flames, debris and smoke erupting skyward. The executive Officer appeared at the rail beside me and shouted "What's happening?" I responded,"I think that ship is in trouble" Just after I said that, a 3rd explosion occurred, a giant blast that lifted the ship out of the water, and wrenched the ship apart, taking everything from the super structure forward before dropping it back into the water, while rocketing all kinds of debris, including a large rectangle flat piece that seemed to float and tumble slowly,
as well as a gun mount, (possible a 3 inch 50) tumbling end over end, up and outward to the west. The debris and smoke seemed to settle
down over the ship and I lost sight of her.
  I never saw the Solar again until later when we moored at pier 3. What was left of the Solar was being towed across Sandy Hook Bay toward New York, no bow or super structure left. I believe that all 3 blast came from the same point on the focsle.

Jim Mockerman

From the new guy: Hi shipmates! After reading over this newsletter, before it went to the printer, I wanted to take time to express my feelings about the Association.
  I found the USS Great Sitkin website only 3 years ago, became a member and went to a super reunion in Norfolk. Because of surgery I could not attend the next reunion, but I got healthy again and I was able to be with you in Charleston. Did I enjoy this last reunion?? You bet I did! Along with all the great activities, I also got to meet up with my best Navy buddy, Bob Leonard, who I have not seen in 47 years. I also accepted the Secretary position. Thank you for the opportunity to serve this great organization. I only hope I can continue the great job Don McClane did as your Secretary.
  My wife Pat and I, along with Ron and Sally Zimmerman, will be hosting the 2006 Reunion in Florida. Our first choice of St. Augustine had to be ruled out because of extremely high transportation cost to and from the closest airport. After pouring over other options, Orlando has been chosen as the site with TENATIVE dates of Sept 20th - 24th. Right now we are putting together the details and should have them ready for publication in the March newsletter.

Jack Norton

HOME PORT HISTORY: During a recent web surfing expedition I stumbled across some history about our last home port. Did you know that during WWII roughly 760 PT Boats were produced by various companies. The ELCO company of Bayonne, NJ built around 350 of them including the PT-109.