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
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
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,
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"
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:
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.
Membership: 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.
Vice-President & Membership Chairman
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.
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
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
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
Ron Zimmerman Sr.