Always Ready
Spring, 2008                                                                                                                                                             1 March, 2008

Association Officers

Ron Zimmerman Sr.
474 SW Prater Ave.
Port St. Lucie, FL  34953
(772) 621-4016

Vice President
Jim Dunno
272 Stone Hedge Row
Johnstown,  OH  43031

Jack Norton
2386 SE Patio Circle
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952

George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036




From our President:  March, 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 while. 

New Finds:  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.

Honor Roll: 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 Owner.
    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

Web Site: 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 already purchased.  THAT 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:   Iím 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 Museum requires
everybody going to have a photo ID to get on the main base! no pic no tic!
    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 room!
    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!

Jim Dunno
Vice President & Membership Chairman

Secretary Report:  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.

Jack Norton

Repair 3:  Greetings 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, 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!

George Kaiser

1). When was the first recorded incident of an intoxicated crew member being returned to the ship by Shore Patrol?

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 re-commissioned?

From the web site Visitor Log:
  My father 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.      Joshua Pixomatis

  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 served.
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 DD-753.     
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      Tyrone Patrick

   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 share. Thanks      Kim (Coleman) Wilds

   I was a deck ape that ran the paint locker. I still have contact with "Boats" Vic Gould.    William D. Taylor

 Answers 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

last updated on 03/01/08