Ron Zimmerman Sr.
474 SW Prater Ave.
Port St. Lucie, FL 34953
272 Stone Hedge Row
Johnstown, OH 43031
2386 SE Patio Circle
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036
spring is just around the corner, then summer and then
Reunion time. Again, time has just flown by! The months
never seemed to go this fast when we were deployed or were
young!!! Jim and Joy Dunno have been working hard getting
everything ready for this year's event. Be sure to read his
update. They have a great package put together! With the
central location, we hope to see many of our shipmates who
live in the Ohio Valley area that we haven't seen in a
David Prasek, GMT2, '61; James Pixomatis, SN,
'51; Thomas Stachelski, SN, '71; James Isom, EMP3, '55 and
Keith Morgan, SN, '51. Also a correction to last
newsletter's list: John Muller was reported as John Miller.
Jess Tapp Jr., ET3, '51; Carl Ross, LTjg,
'62; Barbie Cummings, SN, '53; Marino Lucafo, YN3, '51,
John Russo, SN, í56 and Kenneth Drummond, SKD2c, Plank
We wish to express our deepest sympathy and most sincere
condolences to their family and friends.
Support the Troops:
This is the
latest information I have received on relatives of shipmates
that have been or will be deployed. They are both nephews
of shipmate John Whitford.
FC3 Joseph Klein, CF Division, USS Winston S Churchill and
PFC Bryan Russell, 673rd Medical Company DS
The 2007 Reunion pages have been finished and posted with
over 250 pictures of the events and crew. I have also
received a couple of shipmate's and cruise pictures that
have been added and roughly another 18 or so slidesfrom the
61 Med Cruise that I need to see if we can convert them into
digital pictures. The Deck Logs for the 1968 WestPac Cruise
are done and also posted and depending on time I might have
the History page for them done as well. I am also working
on extracting the information on which ship's we have
rearmed and/or UNREPed with from the Deck Logs we have
will not be done in time for this update, but my plans are
to have the list completed in time for the Cincinnati
Reunion. See you there!
Ron Zimmerman Sr.,
From the desk of the Vice President:
going to combine the membership report with the VP report;
why you ask, because I have to write both of them and this
will make the report look longer, make it seem like Iím
actually doing something.
Membership had a good December as well as January with the
number of dues paying members reaching 106. I mentioned the
idea of presenting the membership pins at each reunion to
the ďBoardĒ and we all thought it was a good idea. So at
each reunion I will present a pin to each member who has
earned one as a way to give you a little recognition for
paying your dues and a way to say thanks. If of course
you canít attended the reunion I will mail your pin to you
along with my thanks for your continued support. To this
date 20 members are to receive a pin, with 2 first timers!
Now for a lighter note, as you can tell the reunion is ready
to go! The web site "Welcome" page has a link to the reunion
information where you will find a slide presentation about
the inn and the package. Any program such as Windows Media
Player, Real Player, Power DVD, etc. should be able to open
the slide shows. There is also a printable version that
includes the reunion registration form. You will have to
make several selections on the registration form, so make
sure you make a selection for everyone coming. The June
newsletter will have the regular insert for information and
registration in it.
The Drawbridge is ready to take your reservations at any time
now; all you have to do is mention the Great Sitkin to
receive the rate.
Dinner Thursday will be buffet style on the dinner cruise and
lunch Friday at the AF Museum will be on your own. The AF
going to have a photo ID to get on the main base! no pic no
Wednesday evening will be a fruit and cheese reception with a
selection of wines from Ohio. If there isnít enough food
there I will gladly point you in the direction of the dining
As a side note to the reunion, Friday evening is open.- - -
The Cincinnati Reds are playing the Milwaukee Brewers at
7:05 that evening. If I get enough interest Iíll see what I
can do to set something up for the game.
Now that I have rambled on with this ďBRIEFĒ
update Iíll stop here and give you another update in June.
Donít ask how there can possibly be more, but there is!
Vice President & Membership Chairman
It seems like we just printed our last
newsletter and here it is time for the next one. I know as
I get older the time just flies by, but I am thankful and do
enjoy all the good things that life has in store.
With that in mind, I am looking forward to our next reunion
in September at Cincinnati. Our reunion Chairman, Jim Dunno
has everything just about in place and before we know it
will be here. I hope that if you ever planned on attending
a reunion, that you do it now and I assure you will not want
to miss any in the future.
Ron and I went to Boston the end of November and we were
able to finalize some of the plans for the 2009 reunion.
The morning we went to Quincy to check out the USS Salem I
think was one of the coldest days I can remember. We met
up with one of our Sitkin shipmates, Vince Albanese, who
lives in the Boston area and has volunteered to help. We
have had other shipmates, who also live in the area, that
have offered to help as well and we will be calling on them
also for additional assistance. We hope to have plans for
an exciting and worthwhile reunion in the Boston area
complete by the time we all go to Cincinnati.
Nominations for Office:
Nominations for the Executive Board positions are now open.
All positions are up for election each year and officers may
be reelected. Only ACTIVE Members, who have Annual Dues
current, are eligible to serve. All nominations for office
must be received by the Associationís Secretary no Later
than May 15, 2008. All nominations received by that date
will be published in the June edition of the newsletter.
Nominations must be in writing and may be sent either by
postal service or by electronic mail. Nominees will be
contacted by the Secretary to insure their acceptance of the
nomination and willingness to serve. If you have any
questions regarding nominations or serving as an officer,
please feel free to contact me by phone or e-mail.
and a fine Navy day to everyone! Hope everyone had a good
Christmas and have already worked off all the holiday
eating. Ron tasked us early to get our pieces in for the
newsletter, and as always, itís like ďWhat can I say that
hasnít been said before?Ē Iíve just about conducted ďtoursĒ
to every part of the ship, itís not like it was a battleship
we were on. About a month ago, we received an email from a
gentleman who was a representative of a mesothelioma
foundation; he wanted us to advertise his website in the
newsletter. It got me to thinking about an event, or series
of events, that happened on the Great Sitkin during our yard
period in Hoboken NJ in the spring of 1970. So, this time,
instead of wandering around the ship, permit me to bring up
a story or two of events long ago, yet fresh in my, and
hopefully your, memory.
As mentioned, we started our overhaul tied to the dock at a
facility in Hoboken, NJ, as I recall, it was Bethlehem
Steel. At the time, I was still a DCFN. As a non rated
member of the crew, I spent my share of time in the engine
room, ripping out lagging. Ahhh, how I loved the smell of
asbestos in the morning. That was well before the awareness
of what breathing that stuff was doing to the pink lining in
our lungs, I guess. Anyhow, after we were done, weíd make
our way down to the berthing compartment, take of our
dungarees with all the white, powdery stuff all over them,
and stuff them in the laundry bag for washing. Wow! That was
hard work in the yards there, but it was also quite an
education for us Sailors still learning the ropes. Another
event from our time in Hoboken occurred at the time of the
Kent State University riots on May 4, 1970. As we know,
the sentiment for the military back then sure isnít what it
is today, and some of the more radical students from the
nearby Stevens Institute of Technology decided to use the
events at Kent State as a focal point to protest the
military and using the Great Sitkin to direct their anger
at. Now, Iím sure my recollections of the event will stir
as much controversy as the bent screw incident or the true
story about the ghost in #2 hold, but here it is. As I
recall, some of the student protestors tried to come on the
ship via the brow and SM1 Pat Ferrullo, the POOW, had to
draw his side arm to back them down. Again, thatís how I
remember it, but it has been 38 years ?!?
Iím a big fan of Allison Krause and her style of bluegrass
music. Recently, she teamed up with Robert Plant to do an
album. Ok, youíre thinking, ďwhatís this got to do with the
Great Sitkin?Ē Well, if you go to Wikepedia.com,
youíll see that Allison was born on July 23, 1971, the day
we got back from our 71 Med Cruise. But, aside from all
that, Robert Plant is the real connection here, he was the
lead vocalist for Led Zeppelin. (Iím sure Iím leaving our
pre-1967 Shipmates behind here, sorry.) Back to Led
Zeppelin. Iím sure anyone who was on the ship for the 71 Med
Cruise remembers listening to Led and other quality music
from Doc Klienbecks stereo equipment set up outside of
medical on #4 hold. Listening to Robert brings back to heady
days of music and salt air in the Mediterranean sunshine.
And to think we got paid to do that! It also important to
mention here that Robert Plant is 62 years old. Geez, where
did the time go?
It wouldnít be a message from Repair 3 if I didnít mention my
guys from R Division, and my Shipmates from 69 to 71. Hey
guys, see you in Ohio?
The ships store is still well stocked back here, so get off
your wallets and buy some of this stuff! Youíd be surprised
how much wearing a Great Sitkin shirt to a restaurant will
get for you. Did you realize that Famous Daves BBQ
restaurant will give a discount to firefighters, cops, and
military? Trust me, the shirt works! Buy one and try it!
Till next time, stay safe and remember or men and women in
harms way right now for us!
1). When was the first recorded incident of
an intoxicated crew member being returned to the ship by
2). What was the purpose of the US Navyís LSMR ships??
3). On what date did the Sitkin exit the canal locks on the
Pacific Ocean side for the first and only time?
4). Was the Sitkin ever decommissioned and the
web site Visitor Log:
James Pixomatis served aboard AE-17 in the 1950's thanks
for keeping up the website. I was able to find many great
pictures from the past.
My Dad, Harold Gene Little, served on the
Great Sitkin. He was a CPO and served as the boiler
technician. He died back in 2005. He always told stories of
his time on the Great Sitkin and our family has adopted it
as a little symbol of our love for him.
John S. Little
Served one year in deck force and
transferred to supply and trained under John Whitford. Many
good memories and good friends.
Gary Wegener SK3
I served in the Korean War on
The Great Sitkin for 18 months. God bless all those who
LTJG Sanford A. Gross
She was my 1st ship out of boot camp and my shortest. I
came on board walked around for four days and left for
Samuel (Skip) E. Layne
Lots of good memories of the Great Sitkin.
Those Med cruises and time in the Caribbean....The Cuban
Missile Crisis...Oh those were the days. Lots of good times
in Bayonne and over to BrooklynÖ
Hey all, I know I am in your lists
somewhere but I don't think I ever signed in here. For
anyone who might be interested, I am the officer
(Communications Officer) who had "the deck" when Capt
English backed the ship into the pier in Crete and created
the "bent screw incident".
Robert P. Donahue
I was in the Aviation Det. Delta that ran
the orange Target Boats. I was the third class mechanic.
Bill Guensch aka Dirt Ball
I had typed in the ships name on the
computer just for the heck of it and Wow! There it was. It's
been a long time but the memories are still there.
Richard P. Thibodeau
My Dad Frank Coleman served on the USS Great
Sitkin and loved it. Although he has passed now I still
remember the stories that he would tell. Thanks for the
site, it keeps him alive in me. Please feel free to contact
me if you remember my Dad or have photos that you'd like to
Kim (Coleman) Wilds
I was a deck ape that ran the paint
locker. I still have contact with "Boats" Vic Gould.
William D. Taylor
to Trivia: 1). August 14, 1945,
3 days after commissioning. 2). Landing Ship
Medium Rocket: a inshore fire support ship used to support
amphibious landings with close in fire support.
3). Sunday, March 17, 1968 4). First
commissioned in Wilmington, NC on February 19, 1945 by
Auxiliary Vessel Ferry Crew #1. Was taken to Charleston, SC
and decommissioned by the ferry crew on February 21, 1945.
Ship was placed into full commission by Capt. Guy E. Baker
on August 11, 1945