Ron Zimmerman Sr.
474 SW Prater Ave.
Port St. Lucie, FL 34953
2137 Young Farm Pl.
Montgomery, AL 36106
2386 SE Patio Circle
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036
Check out the Ship's
Store for details!
To all of our Shipmates,
for a joyful
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:
Zaretsky and Associates, Inc.
1965 Wilson Hulburt Road
Macedon, NY 14502
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
PS: 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
Doug Hauser, Vice President and Membership Chairman
Vice President and
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
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
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 email@example.com Everyone stay safe out there.
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
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.
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.
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.
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