Always Ready
   Summer, 2005                                                                                                                               1 June, 2005

Association Officers

Ron Zimmerman Sr.
(In Transient, new address
will be in next newsletter)

Vice President
Doug Hauser
2137 Young Farm Pl.
Montgomery, AL 36106

Don McClane
2613 Dalgreen Court
Plano, TX 75075
George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036


From our President: It’s June and this year’s reunion is now 10 weeks or less away. This year is SPECIAL as we are celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the ship’s commissioning. With time growing short it’s time to get busy with making the commitment to attend. So, put down the newsletter, pull out the registration form and fill it out, put it in an envelope along with your check and mail it to our Host. Then pick up the phone and call the hotel for room reservations.
    If you have never attended one of our reunions before then make this your 1st. We have a lot of fun at these annual get-togethers and I have yet to attend one where I didn’t make a new friend. See you in Charleston shipmates!
New Finds: Michael Tobiasson, HM3, ’64; Donald Shoemaker, MM2, ’60; William Diamond, BT3, ’58; Larry McGuigan, SN, ’59; Robert Leonard, SN, ‘57

Honor Roll: John Squires, S1c, ’46; Peter Kubaryk, HM3, ‘51, and Gale Kratzer, HM1, ‘54

Web site update: Not a whole lot of new pictures, etc for this update. The deck logs for “45 & ’46 are finished though and the History pages has been updated. Copies of the Deck Log will be available at the reunion for you to view. There are a few new pictures in the Ship’s Scrap Book from the christening and also in the Ship’s Cruise book for the ‘40’s from when the ship was at NAD Earle when the DE blew up. More on both of these later.

New Address: If you noticed, I no longer have a postal address, phone number or e-mail address listed on the front page of the newsletter. We will be moving to Florida shortly after this newsletter goes out . I would hate to have any pictures, letters, etc. that you want to share with the group get lost in the mail so please do not use my Washington mailing address after June 1st.. If you need to get something to me, contact our Secretary, Don McClane. His address is on the left of this page. I will be staying in touch with him on a regular basis.

History: Over the past 5 years a lot of additional ship’s history has been uncovered. Most of this has come from our shipmates – like the 2 separate incidents of the screw having to be replaced while in the Med and that the ship made a WESPAC deployment in 1969 providing support to the ship’s performing combat operations just to name a couple. Other historical information has come through web surfing and dumb luck in finding someone who either provided verifiable information or gave us reliable sources and their contact information. In the last couple of months we have uncovered some history from the 1945 – 46 period that definitely falls into the later 2 categories..
    The first mystery solved was “Who was Miss Anne Lillian Dimond?”, the lady who was the ship’s sponsor and christened the ship at launching. Besides finding out we had the name wrong all this time, that her last name was Dimond not Diamond; we also learned that we were looking for information about her on the wrong side of the continent! We had assumed that since the ship was built in North Carolina that she was probably a local lady. Nothing could have been further from the facts. Miss Dimond was born and raised in Alaska, the daughter of the Territorial Representative to Congress (remember Alaska wasn’t yet a state) and was living in Washington, DC while she attended Trinity College there during the time her father was serving as the Alaska Representative. The Navy’s has had a long tradition of choosing a person connected to the ship in some meaningful way to be the ship’s sponsor. Since the ship was named after an Alaskan volcano and her father was an Alaskan dignitary, her selection as the person to perform this time honored tradition makes sense. (A copy of the newspaper article along with a picture of the Christening Party will be available at the reunion.)
    The second discovery was astounding! Those of us who served aboard well after the Plank Owners probably remember the “twisted hunk of metal” at the main gate of NAD Earl that had came from a destroyer that blew up while tied up at the piers there and the story that that was the reason behind one of the piers being a little “shorter” than the others. Both were a constant reminder of how dangerous our cargo could be. What we DIDN’T know was that the Great Sitkin was tied up to one of the other piers to take on cargo when this happened. This information came to light while I was going through the Ship’s Deck Logs for April 1946. This prompted an immediate web surfing expedition for more details. The search was very successful. The ship was the USS Solar, DE-221 and according to the information I found, she was berthed at Leonardo Pier 1 of the Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, NJ, when shortly after 1130 on April 30, 1946, three explosions blasted the ship near her number 2 upper handling room. Her number 2 gun was demolished and the bridge, main battery director and mast were all blown aft and to starboard. Both sides of the ship was torn open and her deck was a mass of flames. The tragedy claimed the lives of 7 sailors and injured 30 others. Not only did I find this specific information about the incident, but also garnered some fantastic aftermath photos as well. Our Deck Log shows that we immediately got underway and headed for the anchorage until it was safe for us to return to the pier. Although this is not actually part of our history it is an important incident that took place while we were present. Because of this, the pictures of the damage to the Solar and details about the incident is posted on our web site in the Ship’s Library, Ship’s Cruises 1945 to 1949 book.

Ron Zimmerman

From The Desk of the Membership Chairman: 
Here it is, June already, so I thought you might need a reminder that it's 2005 and time for dues.
 In the four years I have been doing the membership I have had over 325 paid at one time or another.
 For 2004 we had 234 paid but would have liked more. As we are into the 2005 dues year we have only 157 paid. I am hoping that those of you who have not paid will sit down and write a check now.
  I would like to thank Don McClane, George Kaiser and of course Ron Zimmerman for the excellent work and dedication they have shown to the association and I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of the loyal members for your loyalty and support.

Doug Hauser
Membership Chairman

Reunion 2005:  Important information for those planning on the reunion: The cut off day for reserving your room is July 27, 2005. Please Shipmates, don't wait until the last minute to make the call. The Hotel’s phone number is 1-800-334-6660.
  Shipmates, the cut off time for making sure you have your 2005 Reunion registration is 2 weeks before the reunion. That time is approaching rapidly. In order to reserve the events and transportation I must have a firm number of attendees by that time frame. Fill out the form attached to this newsletter and get it to me as soon as you can. If you have any questions please call me at 334-277-2151.

Doug & Cathy Hauser
2005 Reunion Host & Hostess

Nominations for Office: Shipmates, take notice. Remember, we will hold elections for all Association Executive Board offices during the Annual Business Meeting in Charleston. To date only two proposed changes seem to be in order; Yours truly, Don McClane has been nominated for the office of Vice President and Shipmate, Jack Norton has accepted the nomination for Secretary. No other nominations have been received so far. Additional nominations will be called for during the business meeting.

Don McClane

From your loving Secretary:  I consider myself most fortunate to have been your Secretary for the last three years. Thanks to each of you for your kind words and support..
  The shipmates that came to the last reunion in Corpus Christi made that reunion very special for Patti and me. I know we had a fun time, we have pictures to prove it. Those of you that saw that area for the first time now know why we love it so.
  Patti and I attended another reunion last year in Charleston. I hadn't seen the place since 1962. To say the least, it has changed. Charleston is an ideal spot for our reunion. I’m pretty sure there will be something for everyone’s interest. The area is so full of history that we will have a hard time choosing things to do and see other than the wonderful plans that Doug and Kathy have made for us. Patti and I highly recommend doing the whole reunion package.
  While you are on your own, check out the Friday Parade at the Citadel. We enjoyed that as much as anything else we did. Get there a little early if you can and pick a shady spot. I will guarantee a few proud tears and great feelings about the whole experience.
  The Historic Area is also a must-see. There are lots of great restaurants and the prices are fare. Take a carriage ride, enjoy the facts and history with any one of the experienced guides. Once again, this is well worth your time and something you will always remember.
  When we get to Freedom Park, be sure to walk through the Submarine. When we went, I was reluctant but ended up really enjoying the walk through.
  Those of you that might be hesitant to come to Charleston for what ever reason may be making a mistake. The location is pretty close to most of our members and if you drive, you will find the countryside beautiful. If you fly, you will have the extra time to spend with a lot of folks that in my view are pretty cool.
   While we are there, please let me or Patti know if we can help in any way.
This is my last newsletter shipmates. I know that you will give the new Secretary as much support and encouragement as you have given me. Patti and I will see you in Charleston.

Your Friend and Shipmate,
Don McClane