Always Ready
Fall, 2006                                                                                                                         1 November, 2006

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

To All of our Shipmates and their Families...

May your Holidays be filled with Peace and Joy and you and your loved ones safe from harmsway

Ron, Doug, Jack and George



From our President:  I am going to depart from my normal "Post Reunion" recap and leave that report for our Host and Hostess to cover in detail.  I will say that we had a very good turn out and from the comments we received everyone seemed to enjoy the package that was put together for this year's event.  Instead, I want to cover another topic in some detail that I feel is important information and that our families should know.  So please make sure that you read the article on the importance of having a copy of your discharge papers and share it with your loved ones.

New Finds: 
John Bisnette, EM2, '58;  Liddel Martin, FN, '62 and William Sibrel, MM2, '61

Honor Roll: 
Raymund Thull, FA, '69;  Carl Goodman, SN, '58;  Harold Little, BTC, '61;  Arthur Bodden, LTjg, '55;  Douglas Maggard, GM2, '57;  Edward Hermann, Capt, '68;  Robert Bohlayer, SH3, '50;  Neil Xenos, RD3, '53;  Richard Mills, BT1, '54.
    We wish to express our deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to their family and friends. 

Web Site Update:  
I received several pictures from shipmates since the June newsletter went out and have added those pictures in this update.  There were some pictures from  the '52 and '64 Cruises and some shipmates pictures from the '50's Crew.  I also added one more to the Retired Shipmates page.  The History page for 1962 and the Deck Logs have been finished finally and also posted.
    The Ship's Store web page was updated with the "NEW" Association Coffee Cup. This is a great cup, heavy, in the "Victory Cup" fashion that was popular in the 50's (usually seen in the CPO Mess) and sports the Association Logo.  We premiered these at the Reunion and they went over BIG with several of the guys buying 2.  So check out the Ship's Store page and see what we have available there.  Might be surprised at what you find! (Hint!  Just received the NEW polo shirts also). 

DD-214 - Do you have a copy of your's? Do your loved ones know where it is located
?: I hope that for the majority of you this article is irreverent, for others I hope it is a call to action.  What I am going to relay to you is what the spouse of one of our shipmates experienced recently while trying to make arrangements for his funeral with military honors.  The shipmate is Neil Xenos, and his wife Paula has graciously given me permission to tell their story in hopes it helps someone else avoid the agony she went through.
    When Paula started making arrangements for Neil's service the funeral home asked her for a copy of his discharge papers.  This is a pretty standard procedure.  Paula looked through all the papers she could locate and even though she had other Navy papers they told her they could not make it a military service unless they saw the actual discharge certificate.  Paula has a cousin in St. Louis, where the archived personnel records are located, and her cousin went there to obtain a copy of his discharge papers for Paula.  Since the cousin was not the service member's wife or immediate family member they could not give a copy to her.  Since they live in Delaware and close to the Capital, Paula's daughter drove to Washington D.C. and was able to obtain a copy from someone there.  How many different places, who she saw and what she had to go through was not disclosed but with the Privacy Act and typical government red tape I doubt it was an easy task. 
    I hope by now this has gotten the attention of some of you.  If you don't have a copy of your DD-214,   Certificate of Discharge, obtaining a copy is a fairly simple process.  If you have internet access you can go to  In the left hand column there is a "link" Request Service Records or Proof of Military Service.  This link will take you to the web page where you have a choice of filling out the request form on line or you can download a copy of the form, complete it and then mail or FAX it to the National Archives.  For those who do not have access to the internet, you can request the form by mail or call them and ask that the form be mailed to you.  They can be reached at:

            NPRC Mailing Address:
            National Personnel Records Center
            Military Personnel Records
            9700 Page Avenue
            St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
The National Personnel Records Center (NRPC) normally responds to requests for Separation Documents (such as DD Form 214) in ten (10) working days or less. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 fire or older records which require extensive search efforts may take much longer

(such as requests for your complete service or medical file). You will receive a response from them in writing by U.S. Mail.  If there is an emergency or deadline associated with your request, please explain this in the "Comments" section of the on-line application or in the "Purpose" section of the form so that they fully understand the situation and they will do their best to meet your priority.

   Losing a loved one is stressful enough without them having to hurdle obstacles making final arrangements.   Procrastination time is over!  Do this for yourself and your loved ones today.  If you don't have a copy of your DD-214 - get one!  If you do have a copy, make sure they know where it is at

Ron Zimmerman Sr.

From the desk of the Vice President: Not much new to report at this time.  Reunion 2006 is over for this year and our many thanks to Jack & Pat Norton Host and Ron & Sally Zimmerman your co-host.  If you missed it, you missed a really great time. We had a good crowd, with around 114 in attendance, with 11 shipmates attending their first reunion and I hope they will be back. Once you come to one, we usually see you back and are very happy for it. Several told me they would see me in Baton Rouge. 
    The best part about reunions is when old shipmates meet again after 30, 40, or 50, years, beside meeting old shipmates you also meet a bunch of great people.

: Hi guys, sorry I have to do this each newsletter, we have decreased our membership from 235 to 196. We did pickup quite a few new members. When you get this newsletter break out the checkbook and join us by paying your 2006 dues. We have at this time 191 paid, and I am aware that there are quite a few who wait until the end of the year to pay. As of now we have 78 advance paid for 2007, and it is very much appreciated. We plan to be here for a long time, so join us by paying up your 2006 dues now, and thanks to all of you who are paid up. 

Doug Hauser 
Vice-President & Membership Chairman

Secretary Report:  Well shipmates, after a busy year due to the reunion, I am very honored to be re-elected as your Secretary.  I have to say a very special thanks to my wife, Pat, for all of her help.  She convinced me to volunteer when Don said he was not going for the position last year.  It is a great Association and I’m glad to be a part of it. 
    This is the fourth newsletter I have been involved with and hope you enjoy reading it.  I also hope that more of the found shipmates will become dues paying members and will also participate in our great reunions.  They are really a lot of fun and you get to meet some of your old shipmates and also guys from the other years aboard the USS Great Sitkin.  I told you last year how fantastic it was to be reunited with Bob Leonard after 47 years.  This year it was Charles Starks, after 48 years.  I had 5 others from my era at the reunion and it was great to get together. 
    At our annual meeting, the same board of officers was re-elected.  Thanks for your confidence in all of us.  Also, it was discussed that the next reunion is in Baton Rouge, LA, and will be hosted by  Doug and Kathy Hauser.  In 2008, the votes went for Cincinnati, OH and will be hosted by Jim and Joy Dunno.  Both of these reunions are all ready in the works, so start planning to attend. 

Jack Norton

2006 Reunion Notes: We wish to thank all the shipmates that attended the USS Great Sitkin Reunion.  Because of you it turned out fantastic.  We had beautiful Florida weather and all of the activities were very well attended.  Pat and I would also like to thank our co-chair persons for a truly great job, without their help and support; I think we would still be in the planning stages.  Thanks, Ron and Sally.
    The realization of the reunion started for Pat and I when we saw “WELCOME USS GREAT SITKIN SHIPMATES” on the marquee of the Ramada Hotel in Kissimmee.  It was Wednesday and the Ramada was hosting our spectacular wine and cheese party with over 70 in attendance.  The hotel provided us with trays of cheese, tuna and chicken salad sandwiches and fresh fruit with edible orchids on each skewer and unlimited wine.  We also had hot hor’dourves of chicken wings and meatballs.  We thought we would be going for dinner after the party, but most were full on the food served.  The next morning, the hospitality room was open for coffee, more socializing, looking through photo albums and just being able to spend time with old friends and meet new shipmates while more of our shipmates and guests continued to arrive.  At 4 P.M. we loaded the two coaches and headed for the Dolly Parton Dixie Stampede Dinner Show.  We had a fantastic southern style dinner and members of our group were invited to participate in the South against North horse race.  It was all great fun (ask George & Dennis) and we all enjoyed the show, especially the patriotic American flag-waving ending. 
    Early on Friday morning our buses were back and we took off for the Kennedy Space Center.  We had purchased the maximum passes and we gave out goodie bags with all kinds of snacks.  Our thanks again to John Cornwall & John Whitford for supplying us with the bottles of water.  We had another day of beautiful weather to take in all the fascinating tours, displays and I-MAX movies that the space center has to offer.  We had a comfortable hour ride back to the Ramada where they were preparing for our evening picnic by the pool.  Again, another beautiful display of food awaited us.  We had a chef grilling our hamburgers and hotdogs, all kinds of condiments, baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad and fresh fruit along with iced tea, lemonade & coffee for drinks.  After the picnic, many enjoyed cooling off in the pool and we also enjoyed having Joe Theisen entertain with his accordion playing.
    We had two optional tours on Saturday morning to Ripley’s and then a very educational  and emotional guided tour of Titanic.  We got back in the afternoon to attend our Memorial service which once again Mark Rucker, our Chaplain, did a fantastic job in both the service and the reading of our Honor Roll.  Thanks Mark for an impressive, emotional ceremony, it was well done.  The members then went into the annual business meeting. 
    About 5 P.M. we started with a professional photographer taking pictures for our Memoir book and the cocktail bar opened. We had 114 at our banquet dinner of roast sirloin tips in wine sauce, skewered shrimp, veggies and baked potato followed with coffee, tea and tiramisu for dessert and everything was just delicious.  We had an exceptionally good orchestra, the Z Street Band, that played great dancing music and we all enjoyed the opening patriotic music. 
    The next morning we had almost 100 at our farewell breakfast buffet.  Again the Ramada staff did a super job of accommodating  our every need. 
    Thank you to our shipmates for all the praise and appreciation that you have given to us, but we all know it is our great group representing the history of the USS Great Sitkin that makes the reunions so enjoyable.  As we said at the beginning of these notes, it is because of you that it turned out fantastic.

Thanks again to all,
Jack  & Pat Norton

Reunion 2007 Update:  We are all set to go, with the hotel under contract, The Holiday Inn South, a very nice place. We have a good Hospitality Room and Banquet facilities. We have an 8 piece band, buses for tours all under contract. I have contacts at the D-Day WWII that I am working closely with. The USS Kidd a WWII Destroyer for a tour and Memorial Service. There will be more later in the March Newsletter. 
    For those of you that are Early Birds, you can make your reservations anytime now. The dates for the reunion are September 26, 27, 28, and 29, 2007, with checkout on the 30th. You can also, if you wish, come up to 3 days early and stay 3 days later at the same room rates. Please make your reservations early as this is a football city and LSU is scheduled to play that weekend. Phone No.# are 225-9247021 or 1-888-814-9602 at $82.00/per night.  Approximate cost for Reunion package is between $150.00-$155.00/per person. 

Doug & Kathy Hauser
2007 Reunion Hosts

Support the Troops:
In the last newsletter I  asked that those of our shipmates who had son or daughters or grandsons or granddaughters that are currently deployed to, are preparing to deploy or have served in support of OIF, OEF, the Global War on Terrorism or the War on Drugs to please call, write or e-mail me and let me know. A couple of you responded and as promised the list was posted in the hospitality room in honor of their service to this country. And as promised, here is the list:
LCPL  Michael V. Albanese, USMC,Communication Logistics Battalion
Currently deployed Fallijah, Iraq, Grandson of shipmate Vincent Albanese, YN3, ‘51 - ’55
    OSSN Nicholas R. Albanese, USN, USS Ford (FFG-54), Operation Caribbean Shield - Narcotic Counter Drug-Trafficking, Grandson of shipmate Vincent Albanese, YN3, ‘51 - ’55
    HTFN Vincent C. Albanese, USN, USS San Juancinto (CG-56), Global War on Terror - Persian & Arabian Gulf, Grandson of shipmate, Vincent Albanese, YN3, ‘51 - ‘55
    ET3 Christopher Blansett, USN, USS Ramage (DDG-51), Global War on Terror - Deployment Scheduled Fall 2006, Son of shipmate David Blansett, FN,  ‘66 - ‘68
    SSG Jason L. Zimmerman, USA, Co. B, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne (Air Assault), Yusufiyah, Iraq,   Sep ‘05 - Sep ‘06, Son of shipmate Ron Zimmerman Sr., SK3, ‘72 - ‘73
    On behalf of the membership of the USS Great Sitkin (AE-17) Association, to these fine young men who are carrying on their family tradition, Thank You For Your Service To Our Country.

Ron Zimmerman Sr.

last updated on 11/1/06