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
Sept. 20th -
See Jack Norton's article for details!
From our President:
the 2006 Reunion are being finalized as we go to press.
Jack & Pat Norton have done an excellent job of getting
everything together and did some terrific arm twisting to
get us the best discounted prices available. Check out
Jack's article for more specific details and make your plans
for attending NOW!
Nominations for Office:
Nominations for Executive
Board positions are now open. All positions are up for
election each year and officers may be reelected. Only
ACTIVE Members, whose Annual Dues are current, are eligible
to serve. All nominations for office must be received by
the Association's Secretary no later than 15 May 2006.
Nominations must be in writing and may be sent either by
postal service or electronic mail. Nominees will be
contacted by the Secretary to insure their acceptance of the
nomination and willingness to serve. Nominations will also
be accepted from the floor during the Annual Business
Meeting. Nominees must be present at the meeting to accept
New Finds: Frank
Favire, SN, '63; Dennis Leary, SN, '66; Donald Yoder, TE3,
'56; Kenneth Meade, SN, '71; Gary Clark, DK2, '58; Frank
Peralta, SFP3, '66
Honor Roll: Anthony
SanFillippo, RM1, '56; Kenneth Reeder, SN, '56; Joseph
Foster, FA, '49; Carluccio Palazzotto, SFC, '61; Ronald
Rydel, LT, '71; James Shoughro, MoMM1c, '46
We wish to express our deepest sympathy and most sincere
conodolences to their family and friends.
Web Site Update: I
finally got the 2005 Reunion web pages done and uploaded!
There were over 300 pictures sent in by our shipmates
covering this event. Thanks to each one of you for taking
the time to share your pictures.
Besides the usual updates to the crew lists and Honor Roll
pages, we also added a few pictures of shipmates and cruises
from '45 and '55 time frames along with another mug shot and
bio for the Retired Crew Members page.
Ron Zimmerman Sr.
From the desk of the Vice President:
Well another year has passed and it was bad news for the
Gulf Coast Region of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi,
Louisiana, and Texas. The ones hit hardest were Mississippi
and Louisiana. I know we have shipmates in all these areas
and hope many were spared any hardships. We will keep them
all in our prayers.
Kathy and I are looking forward to this years reunion in
Orlando. Your Hosts, Jack & Pat Norton with Co-Hosts Ron &
Sally Zimmerman, have been working very hard putting
together a very good reunion package. So let’s support them
for their hard work on putting this years reunion together
by attending. We all will have a great time and it looks
like there will be ample time in the hospitality room for
telling ships stories. I am sure you will meet some of your
old shipmates, of course they won’t look the same, but we
will have name tags so you can identify each other. These
reunions are a great way to get involved and it makes you
feel good when you see the smile on the face of the men you
have served with.
If there is anyone who might want to host a future reunion
bring some information with you to present at the business
meeting. I will be willing to help or assist you if you
want to host one. The things to remember is transportation
close by hotel of your choice. Work with the Convention and
Visitor center in making initial contact with hotels, tour
groups, etc. They are a great help and a fountain of
information on the local area and what's available. Also
check with more than one Tour company for possible tours and
costs - they are usually very competitive and you can find
some good deals on group pricing. Always tell
them what kind of
tours you are looking at.
Please contact me if you are interested. My phone number is
334-277-2151. Remember, we are now voting on reunion
locations 2 years in advance.
Baton Rouge, LA. was voted in for 2007 which my wife and I
will be hosting. We will be going down to check it out and
see what it like now since New Orleans was hit hard, and
Baton Rouge has almost doubled in populations. My concerns
are for the safety of our group and the ability to obtain
hotel rooms and tours at a reasonable cost. I will keep you
informed through the newsletter and ALL HANDS e-mails. If
you have any concerns on this please contact me at
Take care and will see you all at the reunion in September in
First let me thank you all of those who have already paid
their 2006 dues for your continue support of the Association
. As a part of this Membership Report I would like to
include a brief history on Active Membership in the
When I took over this position we had 76 paid members. Since
then we have grown significantly. In 2002 we had 215
active members; in 2003 we had 206 - down some but not to
bad. In 2004 we had our best year with 235 Active Members.
In 2005 this dropped to 208.
We have to try and keep the active members up in able to
continue our mailings to all located shipmates and support
our web site which has helped us grow.
So far in 2006 we already have 131 paid but we need to bring
this number up. So when you receive your newsletter, and
if you haven’t paid for 2006
, please sit down, fill-out the Active Membership
Application, write a check, and put it in the mail.
We have been getting new members as they retire but need to
encourage many of our shipmates to join or renew their
membership. My hope is to reach a goal of over 300 or 400
before I retire as membership chairman. This means we need a
lot more new members.
For those who have been reluctant to join, thinking "that's
not for me", you are not alone. Many of those who are now
Active Members and attending the Annual Reunions on a
regular basis had previously felt the same way - myself
included. But, if you don't check it out, you will never
truly know for sure if your feeling of "that's not for me"
is accurate or not.
All you need to do is to attend one. I am sure you will be
pleasantly surprised at how much fun you are having and will
be wondering why you procrastinated for so long. We have one
in Orland, Florida this September so why not join us there.
You might even meet some of your old shipmates and I know
you will meet a bunch of nice people. Also bring your wife
as the ladies also enjoy the activities.
Remember the association Active Members Awards, it may not be
much but it is a little something to let you know we
appreciate your support.
Thanks again for making this all possible with your support
as it keeps us in contact with many men who served aboard
the USS Great Sitkin.
Vice President and
here it is, spring already. Geez, I write that as we here in
the northeast are digging out of a big snowstorm. Anyhow, by
the time this piece gets in the newsletter and it gets on
the street, it WILL be Spring!
And, with the coming of the spring newsletter also comes
another reunion push. Anyone who’s read my past articles
knows how I feel about the reunion, so I won’t belabor the
point for long. Jack and Ron have put together a great
package for a very reasonable price. Looking at it, you will
notice there won’t be any ships this year to visit. Looks
like our only “Navy fix” will have to come from our own
memories and sea stories. I know that won’t be a problem
for a lot of us, our memories of the Great Sitkin still are
strong despite the years. I’m a big fan of The History
Channel, and today they had two good shows about the USS
Midway and the USS Missouri. They interviewed crewmembers
from the ships, and they all spoke of how much the ship, and
the shipmates, still mean to them. Unlike a lot of Sailors,
they also still have their ships to visit, they can still
walk the decks and smell the oil, paint, etc. For us Great
Sitkin crew, the old boat is long gone. But, has anyone ever
thought about spaces and decks we all worked and lived in
for those years? I send my newsletter articles from “back
here in Repair 3.” I often think about what else was back
here. Let’s see, out the watertight door and a slight left
is a short passageway. On my right is the after diesel
emergency generator. A few more feet, and on my left is the
small brig. Aft of that is the sail locker. At the very
forward part of this compartment is the door to the trunk
that goes down 5 decks into shaft alley. As best I can
recall, that is all that occupied this deck in the stern.
Next deck down back here is the steering gear room. Always a
noisy place underway, it is still nice to think of those
smells and the constant drone of the steering motor.
Staying at the back of the ship for now, we go up on the main
deck, exiting out through the scuttle in the large deck
hatch under the 3” 50 cal gun tub on the starboard side. Not
being a gun type, the number of that mount escapes me, but a
personal encounter at the precise moment of firing gave me a
constant reminder of how loud that gun is. One thing that
isn’t back here in 1970 is the 5” gun mount. Anyone recall
when that was taken off? Bet it would make a great story for
the newsletter! In 1970 and 71, this area was used
officially as the helo drop zone, unofficially it makes a
great place to lay out and work on your tan! And that’s
where we’ll leave off the tour for this time. Next time,
we’ll take a walk around the engineering spaces. Ahh...talk
about good smells!
Sitting here in Repair 3, I look around at all of the cumshaw
stuff we have for sale. As you’ll see in the store ad, we
are putting the 4” window decals on sale for $5 each. Ships
profile decals are still $6, they are a great deal and will
be a nice touch on your car or truck. We are working on a
new style shirt that will be available for the 1st
time at the reunion this year. And speaking of reunion,
better start now making your plans to be part of the crew
gathering in Orlando.
Until next time, keep it safe, and stay in touch!
!2006 REUNION UPDATE!
Well, after a great
amount of time and decision making, Ron, Sally, Pat and I
are able to announce that the USS Great Sitkin Association
2006 Annual Reunion will be held on September 20th – 24th in
Kissimmee, Florida. Our headquarters will be at the Ramada
Plaza Hotel and Inn Gateway, where we have negotiated a
special rate of $69.00 per night, double occupancy, plus
tax. The rooms we have blocked are deluxe rooms in their
recently renovated tower with all rooms having a microwave,
mini-fridge & coffee maker plus other amenities. The room
rate is good for 3 days before & after these dates for those
who wish to make it an extended vacation. To make
reservations call the hotel direct at
daily between the hours of 9AM - 5PM EST.
MAKE SURE you request the Hotel Only Reservations Agent and
use the special Registration Code GSA06.
As in past years, we want your time with all of us to be a
great experience. So, after going over proposals from all
perspective providers, visiting the different sites,
countering their proposals and negotiating pricing we have
decided on the following fabulous itinerary for the Reunion
Wednesday, September 20:
Our main Registration Day with a hotel sponsored wine &
cheese reception around 5:30 PM.
Thursday, September 21:
Free time during the day. About 4:30 we will be going by
motor coach to the famous
Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Show.
We will experience a show of 32 magnificent horses with a
cast of top notch trick riders, specialty & comedy acts
and a very patriotic grand finale. Dinner is a fabulous
four course feast served during the show and includes 2
complimentary beers or wines per person and unlimited soft
drinks, coffee or tea.
Friday, September 22:
We depart the hotel by motor coach around 8:30 AM for the
Kennedy Space Center. We have maximum access tickets which
includes a behind-the-scenes bus tour of massive launch
pads, International Space Station Center & Apollo-Saturn V
Center, admission into the 5 story IMAX 3-D theater, all
exhibits & shows. This tour takes about 8 hours round trip
so please plan accordingly. We should return to our hotel
late afternoon, around 4:30 PM. Please note that lunch is
not included with this tour. The cost of doing this as a
group was not reasonable.
Evening we have a
great barbeque by the pool planned. This will be a
with our own chef grilling the hamburgers and hot dogs right
there plus we have all the typical fixings. Good food =
Saturday, September 23:
Around 3:00 PM we will have the Honor Ceremony followed by
the Annual Business Meeting.
is our Annual Dinner Banquet commencing with
a cocktail hour at 5:00 PM followed by a terrific meal from
6:00 to 7:00 PM. This year we have chosen a combination
plate of roast sliced sirloin and shrimp scampi as the main
entrée’. At 7:00 PM the party starts with music provided by
the Z-Street Band. They are very talented and have a good
repertoire covering most everything from the Big Band era
through the 70’s and some more current songs as well. We
recently saw them perform and all I can say is bring your
dancing shoes with you! They were great!
Reunion Package Cost?:
The Reunion Package
$153.00 per person and includes Dixie Stampede Dinner Show,
Kennedy Space Center, the BBQ & Annual Dinner Banquet!
This year we have 1 Optional Tour, and because in the past
so many of you have had to leave early Sunday, we have
decided to make the Sunday Morning Farewell Breakfast
optional as well.
Saturday Morning, September 23:
For those interested in going we have an Optional Tour to
see 2 local attractions, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and
Titanic – Ship of Dreams. Both are located a short motor
coach ride away on International Drive. We will depart the
hotel around 8:30 AM and return around 2:30 PM. Cost is
$35.00 per person (lunch not included).
Sunday Morning, September 24:
Optional Farwell Breakfast. We have arranged for an
exceptional farewell breakfast buffet. Cost is only $10.00
If you were to take in everything we have to offer this year,
the cost for the Reunion Package and the 2 Options is only
$199.00 per person. So now shipmates it is up to you --- we
were able to get you discounted prices without sacrificing
quality --- so make plans to be with us September 20th
through the 24th. See you there!
Secretary & 2006 Reunion Host
Letters From Shipmates:
I want to thank you again for having such a wonderful
organization. If you remember, I registered my Dad back in
October, and you sent me a very nice follow up letter. As I
mentioned to you, he is in the early stages of Alzheimer's,
but can remember clearly the service to our country on the
Great Sitkin. He is thrilled with the decal, and wears his
membership pin every day!
It's sad to see his memory fading with this terrible disease,
and every time I talk with him he tells me about how he got
the decal and pin from you and "the Great Sitkin" . . . . .
like I've never heard the story before. The great part is,
that he has something to remember, and it eases his
frustration by being able to talk about something he CAN
recall instead of the frustration of not remembering what he
had for breakfast that morning.
I am ordering some hats and coffee mugs for him now, but
thought I would drop you a line and thank you again for
adding a great deal of pleasure to my Dad's life. Please
feel free to share this story with some of your members.
And from me and my family, thank you all for your service to
our great country.
Midlothian, VA 23112
Ron: As you know I think it is important
that we support our troops. Even more important is that we
show them our support rather than just saying we do.
I travel a lot and see a lot of troops in the airports. I try
to personally thank each of them for their service. Nothing
major, I just go up and say "Hi, I just wanted to say thanks
for all you are doing."
I will continue doing that but I decided I need to do more. I
went to Sam's Club and bought a bunch of 100 minute phone
cards. A pack of 10 costs about $33 and they come
individually wrapped. I will be carrying these with me and
passing them out to the troops. I know it's not much but it
does at least give them something tangible and useful to
show my thanks.
I wonder if other association members have ways to show their
support? It might be nice to put some ideas in the
John R Henry CPP
Support the Troops:
In the last
issue I mentioned the possibility of starting a program of
sending "goodies" to the troops stationed overseas. Since
that newsletter, my son has e-mailed me that the goodies are
great and much appreciated but what they are really lacking
is access to and the availability of personal hygiene items.
The list he sent me is very basic and consists of soap,
shampoo, toothbrushes & toothpaste, shaving cream &
disposable razors, q-tips, alcohol free baby wipes, AAA
extended life batteries, and some other comfort items like
books & magazines, stationery items, hard candies, sunflower
seeds and a few others. A few people have mailed some items
and they had a "little stash" going so they would have items
available when the guys needed them. However, that all
changed when their rear area camp building burnt to the
ground - they lost it all!
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 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.