Always Ready
Spring, 2007                                                                                                                         1 March, 2007

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




From our President: Here it is March already and just a few short months away until we will be getting together again.  It hardly seems possible that this will be our 15th Annual Reunion.  Being our association is for an auxiliary service ship and not a combatant type I never would have imagined that not only would our organization still be going, but that it is growing!  Each year the number of crewmembers making the reunions a part of their yearly plans is increasing. These newcomers to the annual reunions are not only returning regularly but are finding their old steaming buddies and are getting them to attend.  This is terrific and is what we need to both continue our growth as an organization and to strengthen our chances for continued longevity.  If just a few of you who have in the past couple of years started attending reunions picked up the phone and called or e-mailed an old shipmate and convinced them how much fun our annual get-togethers are, our ranks could swell greatly.  Doug and Kathy Hauser have once again put together a great package for the reunion this September.  Now would be a good time to pick up the phone and call that old steaming buddy. 

New Finds: 
Robert Waldrop, FN, '52 and Floyd Vollinger, DK3, '53

Honor Roll: 
Russell Meer, WT3c, '45;  Dewey Seagraves, SK1, '53;  Herman Bratcher, RMC, '62;  Edward Carpenter Sr., MM3, '48;  William Cadow, LT, '62 and Harry Hahn, CAPT, '57
    We wish to express out deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to their family and friends. 

Support the Troops
:  Two more of our shipmates have reported that they have family serving overseas in support of the operations taking place there.  They are: 
    SPC Leal Gray, US Army, 1744th Transportation Group, Streator, IL. Stationed near Baghdad, granddaughter of shipmate William Simane, FTSN, '54 - '57 
    PFC Brian Buith, US Army, Co. A, TF1 - 14 CAV, Iraq, grandson of shipmate George Mitchell, GMM3, '51 - '53.  In George's note he said that his grandson had been wounded when a car bomb hit his Striker vehicle but that he is OK and back on duty now.  ( Thank God he is alright). 
    On behalf of the membership of the USS Great Sitkin (AE-17) Association, to these fine young soldiers who are carrying on their family tradition, Thank You For Your Service To Our Country.

Web Site Update:  Not much change this time around.  Received a couple of more pictures from the Reunion picnic; one for a GITMO trip in 1970 and 8 or so pictures from the MED Cruise in June '58.   I have sent of the request for the 1968 Deck Logs and am awaiting a reply.

Ron Zimmerman Sr.

From the desk of the Vice President:  Happy New Year to you all. I hope your holidays were filled with happiness. It seems the older I get the years go by faster. Here it is March already and it wonít be long till reunion time.
    We are aware of a few shipmates who have had surgeries this year, Mike Hodnichak and Jerry Neeland and our Secretary, Jack Norton.  They are all doing well from the last time I called them. If you know of anyone else please let us know so we can send out cards. I believe it helps them to know that we care and are thinking of them.
   I would like to recognize our President Ron Zimmerman for the great job he does for the Association.  In the past 6 years, he has made our web site to be the best and I know that many of you have also let him know you appreciate his talents.   Thanks Ron.
   I hope to see many of you at the reunion this September in Baton Rouge, LA. We will be voting on the 2009 location at the business meeting.  We would like to know if anyone wishes to host a reunion in his area.  If so, you need to bring the information to the meeting.  If you have any questions or need assistance please contact Doug Hauser at 334-277-2151.
   Donít forget to pray for our troops, men and woman, serving our country. God Bless them and our country.

: It is that time of the year when I pester you again, but thatís what I do.  We finished 2005 with 211 paid members, which I think was pretty good.  Sorry to say that even with new membership increasing, our active membership dropped to 196 for 2006.  This means that we have a few who paid in the past and maybe forgot, so while you have the newsletter in your hand, please sit down and write a check to the Association and send it to me.  If you want to keep your consecutive years going send in 2006 and 2007 dues. So far, we have several  members who have paid out to the year 2012, so as you can see we plan to be around for a while and hope you will be with us.

Doug Hauser 
Vice-President & Membership Chairman

Secretary Report:  Hello Shipmates!  Well, here we are again preparing for the next reunion and the nomination of officers.  If you wish to be nominated for one of the offices, please let me know by mail or e-mail before the June newsletter is printed.  My mailing and e-mail address is on the cover page. 
    If you have not joined as a dues paying member, please do so and also plan on joining us at the next reunion.  You will probably be very surprised to meet up with some of your shipmates who are already attending.  You can also give your old shipmates a call and plan on joining us.  On the sad side, one of the shipmates who had been with us for the last two reunions (and was planning to attend this year), William Cadow (62), passed away.  We enjoyed getting to know him, and he will be missed.  Also, Captain Harry B. Hahn (57) who was one of the Captains while I was aboard, a real gentleman, also passed away.  Life is short guys, so plan on coming to the next reunions. 

Jack Norton

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 Associationís Secretary no later than May 21, 2007.  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 the nomination.

Reunion 2007 Update:  The reunion this year will be in Baton Rouge, La., and has been in the works for 2 years. Kathy and I have made a couple of trips there and feel it is a safe and beautiful place. I have left free time for you to enjoy the sights.
    The Holiday Inn South is under contractÖyou may now call and make your reservations. It is best to make them early to assure you wonít be left out at the good rate. Remember you can always cancel if something arises and you canít make it. You only need 24 hours prior to cancel. So call Holiday Inn South now and make your reservations - 1-225-924-7021 direct or 1-888-814-9602 (Mon. through Fri. 8AM - 4PM)and ask for reservations.  Courtyard Rooms @ $82.00/day or if you would rather a Tower Room the rate is $92.00/day.  I am suggesting courtyard.  Reunion dates are September 26-30th, with checkout on the 30th. These rates are good for 3 days before and 3 days after the reunion.
    Wednesday, Sept. 26- Main Registration - the hotel will be giving us a welcome reception with wine and cheese.
    Thursday, Sept. 27 - WWII Museum - Day trip to New Orleans by bus leaving at 9:00AM and returning at 4:30PM. Thursday evening is left free to enjoy with friends.
    Friday, Sept. 28- Morning free to shop or take in some of the sights in Baton Rouge. Business Meeting starts at 3:30 PM.  Pool Party - 6:00 till 10:00PM- there will be Hamburgers, Hot Dogs & Salads, coffee & iced tea.  There is also a cash bar nearby. 
    Saturday, Sept. 29 - Tour the USS Kidd DD661. Bus boarding at 9:00AM returning to the hotel at 3:30, we will have lunch at the Hollywood Casino.  After lunch you may either enjoy the Casino or take a free bus tour of the downtown area and tour of the Capitol Building. 
   Saturday Evening Ė Starting at 5:30 there will be a photographer taking pictures of couples and singles.  I would like you all to partake in having your pictures taken. Pictures will be ready at the Banquet. The Memory Book will be completed in 4-6 weeks and will cost $20-25.00 depending upon the number sold. Cocktail hour from 6:00 Ė 7:00 PM and then onto our Buffet Banquet Dinner.  We will also have an eight piece band for your dancing and listening pleasure. 
    Sunday, Sept. 30- Farewell Breakfast starting at 6:00AM until10:00AM. This will give us time to say good-bye until next year. 
    Reunion package cost will include:   World War II Museum, Pool Party Buffet, USS Kidd tour with Lunch, Banquet Dinner with a live band and Sunday Morning Farewell Breakfast.  Total Cost: $155.00/per person. 
    There is a registration page on the web site for those of you who have internet access.  A paper registration form will be included in the June newsletter.  Those of you who don't have internet access can pay now by giving me a call, so I can write down your information and then send me a check.  I'll take care of getting your registration completed and mail you back a confirmation receipt.

Doug & Kathy Hauser
2007 Reunion Hosts

Quick update on 2008 Reunion: 
Well here it is 5 months after our Florida reunion and 8 months before Baton Rouge and the president wants me to give you an update on a reunion thatís 18 months away!!!! 
    2008 will be held at the Drawbridge Inn in Ft. Mitchell Ky which is just across the river from Cincinnati so you will be very close to the airport.  It is a quaint inn decorated in the medieval style. The rooms are nice, food is served 24 hours a day in Chaucers Coffee Shop (breakfast). Joshís Tavern & Grill serves lunch and dinner, and The Crossbow Tavern (night club) is open Friday and Saturday. 
    Some extras are indoor and outdoor pools, a small gift shop, barber and beauty shop, exercise room?, arcade room, sauna, hot tub, pool table, and a hanging fireplace to just relax. 
    Room rate will be $72.00 for a single, double triple or quad. Rates are good for 3 days before and 3 days after. There is shuttle service to and from the airport and a shuttle to take you to the cheap transit for downtown Cincy.  But seeing how this note is really, really, really early and we have some more work to do - - - - this will have to do for now 

Jim & Joy Dunno
2008 Reunion Hosts

Repair 3:
Hi Everyone. I seem to have missed the last newsletter, so Iíve got a lot catching up to do. Iíve been asked by the editor of the newsletter to continue my tour of the ship, and Iím going to do that, but in addition, Iím going to use this forum to do a little fire safety education as well. 
    Iíll start off with the 2 months prior to my reporting aboard Great Sitkin in December 1969. In the fall of 69, I attended Damage Controlman ďAĒ School in Philadelphia. You readers who are familiar with the fire service will understand when I say that DC ďAĒ school was my  Probie  school. Laymenís terms,  that is what I consider my start in the fire service.
    When I reported aboard, I was assigned to Repair 3, one of my duties was the care and maintenance of the damage control and fire fighting gear. I quickly learned to enjoy this aspect of the ďfire service.Ē One of my fellow Damage Controlmen was Fred Applegate, in fact, he is one of the people I attribute to my desire to continue in the fire service after my discharge from active duty. Fred had, and still has, a love for being a fireman, and we ran things that way on the ship. 
    Now, letís take a stroll down to the ďreefer flatsĒ around the corner from R Divisionís shop. During the 1970 yard period, we built a repair locker there, Repair 5, to service the needs of the Engine Room. Remembering your ships DC plan, Repair 2 was on the mess decks and handled the DC needs of the forward part of the ship, 1,2 &3 holds, plus the superstructure. Repair 3, or After Repair, was at the stern and handled 4 & 5 hold. Repair 5 is, as mentioned earlier, was there for the main engine room. We also had a Rescue & Assistance locker on the 01 level port side.
    So, lets fast forward to the 71 Med Cruise. By this time, I was a Repair Party leader for a duty section in-port  fire party. We were having a port visit to Corfu, and the Damage Control Assistant, Mr. Burbank, made plans to stage a fire drill after the liberty party went ashore. Remember, because of our rather volatile payload, we were required to anchor in the harbor almost everywhere we went. 
     (Mr. Burbank, I see youíre on our ďfound list,Ē so if I get a little of the details here wrong, please feel free to respond to correct  me or add your views.) 
      The DCAsí plans were to put a large trash can on the welding flats adjacent to the reefers, light a paper fire in it, and have the fire party put it out using CO2 extinguishers. Nice plan, but my DC3 mind told me that idea was just a little bit goofy, I mean, we were an ammunition ship!   So, once I learned of the plan, I made up my mind I was going to use more appropriate force to put the fire out.
    Mr. Burbank lit the fire, I saw the smoke, and had a shipmate go to the Quarterdeck to sound the alarm. We mustered the fire party out of  Repair 2.  I proceeded to have my guys dress out for fighting the fire, and we made our way up to the port passageway, where we laid out the fire hoses, lit off our OBAís, charged the hoses, and made our way down the ladder to the welding flats. As soon as we got outside the R Div shop door, I had the hose teams open their nozzles, and we rounded the corner and put the fire out, drenched Mr. Burbank, and just made a really big mess. Well, it wasnít long after we got all the gear restowed and cleaned up, that I was called into the office of the Chief Engineer. He was just a little bit angry, but I stood my ground, and as I recall, I was vindicated for my actions. 
    Now, letís tie this little sea story together with an event that happened to me last week One of the big things we took pride in as Damage Controlmen on the Great Sitkin was being ready for any emergency that might come up. Last Tuesday, my brother and I were on Interstate 95 just outside of Philadelphia when we witnessed a fiery truck accident . We attempted a rescue, but were driven back by the flames. We didnít have a fire extinguisher with us, and couldnít even find anyone else who did either. Not a very good plan for a Damage Controlman, and Iíve since added 2 big extinguishers to my truck. That brings me to my challenge to you, my Great Sitkin Shipmates. I have vowed to never again by caught short if encountered with an emergency on the highway, and Iíd like you all to do the same. Go out and buy a portable fire extinguisher for your vehicle. And hereís a hint; if you pay less than $50 for it, itís probably too small. You say you donít know how to use one? Go to your local fire station, I bet theyíd be happy to give you some lessons. And donít just put one in your car or truck, have one in your home too. Remember, first call 911, no matter how big or small the situation. And donít put yourself in harms way, but do remember youíre Navy fire training. Once a Sailor, always a Sailor, right?      And that Shipmates, is your Damage Control lesson for this time. 
    In other Association business, be sure to take note of the awesome shirts we now have available in the ships store. Other Great Sitkin items remain available too. Remember that your dues and contributions will keep the memory of the ship afloat for along time in the form of the website. And you need to know that between the 4 members of your Executive Board, we probably generate more phone calls and paperwork then the ship ever did while she was in commission. And trust, me are having a ball doing it! 

Stay safe!
George Kaiser

last updated on 03/01/07