Always Ready
Summer, 2007                                                                                                                         1 June, 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: It is time to quit procrastinating and start making plans for this year's Reunion.  Doug & Kathy have put together a good package with plenty of time for swapping stories and catching up with old friends.  The insert in this edition has all the information and the Reunion Registration form.  See Doug's reunion update report for more information.

New Finds:
Charles Fridinger, F1c, '47; John Stephens, SN, '61 and Thomas Hill, SA, '61; Robert Goddard Jr, SR, ‘72

Honor Roll:
James Quist, SN, '51; Clifton LeBlanc, CS1, '60, Franklin Coleman, GMSN ’55  and Donald Herschell, QM3, '53
  We wish to express our deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to their family and friends.

Support the Troops:
Another of our shipmates has reported that they have family serving overseas in support of the operations taking place there. They are:
SGT David A. Collins, US Army, C Battery, 2nd 138 FA, Kentucky. Stationed near Baghdad.  Nephew of shipmate Wayne Agee, SH3, '59 - '62
    In addition, the Executive Board voted to    donate some money in support of the troops.  After careful review of several organizations it was voted on to donate $250 to the Fisher House at Walter Reed Hospital.  The funds are used to help support  the families visiting those who were seriously wounded and receiving care at that facility.  Another $250 was donated to an American Legion Post’s “
Support Our Troops” program.  The funds are used to purchase AAFES debit cards and Military Phone Cards which are mailed to personnel currently stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Web Site: Not too many changes this time.  A couple of '40's shipmate pictures and a few from a '47 cruise and one from a '60's cruise.  While I would like to get some more pictures in for the web site, I must admit it does feel good not to be swamped and scrambling to get them done in time for the scheduled update. 
If you find a web page that is not working, please let one of the officers know.  We can’t fix what we don’t know is broken!

Ron Zimmerman Sr.,

From the desk of the Vice President:  Some news to report -- I am retiring at the end of this term.  For the last 6 years, I have had the pleasure of being the Vice President and Membership Chairman, but it is time for a younger man to take over.  At age 75, I plan to use my extra time to have even more fun.  I will be attending future reunions, God willing, so this is not the last time you will be seeing me.
     I want to thank all of you who joined the Active Roll to help keep the USS Great Sitkin AE-17 Association alive and well.
    I hope to see many of you in Baton Rouge, LA, on September 26 – 30.  Take care and God bless all the men of the Great Sitkin and their wives.

Doug Hauser
Vice President

Note:  Doug has tendered his resignation to me in writing  and after a lengthy discussion it has been accepted.  Anyone interested in the position and would like to know more about what the duties are, please contact me as soon as possible.
Ron Zimmerman Sr.

Membership: Well, since this is my last newsletter as Membership Chairman I will do as I have done in the past and remind you to pay your dues for 2007.  Without dues it would be hard to maintain the USS Great Sitkin AE-17 Association and we would no longer exist. There would be no newsletter, web site, and no more meeting old shipmates and making new friends at the reunions.
    Our membership count for 2006 was 197 which was ok, but we have been as high as 235, so we have slipped somewhat over the years.  This year I am sad to say that as of this month we are only at 118 paid, so for those who might not have paid for 2007 sit down and write a check now.
    It would also be very much appreciated for those of you who enjoy the newsletters and web site to join the membership roll. If we can’t get you to join all of this could go away.  So please do your part and join us today.
Let’s make this the best year ever.   Thank you!

Doug Hauser 
Vice-President & Membership Chairman

Secretary Report: Well, we did not receive any nominations for replacement of the current officers, which would have been published in this summer newsletter.  Nominations for all offices  will be accepted at the Annual Business Meeting.  
    Hope you are planning to attend the reunion in Baton Rouge, LA, since we are looking forward to meeting new shipmates and friends from past reunions.  If you keep saying that you are going to attend one of our reunions, now is the time.  Life is short, as we all know. 

Jack Norton

Repair 3:  Well Shipmates, here it is Spring. Wasn't it just Spring? I guess I'm experiencing that "time flys when you're having fun" thing...again. As usual, it falls on me to come up with some stuff I think would be of interest to fill my space in the newsletter, so, here goes.
    One of the biggest items filling our thoughts these days is the continuing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Regardless of your feelings toward the war, we all should be supporting the men and women who all have volunteered to go into harms way to serve our countries interests in both countries. One of he really cool things I had the opportunity to do as your association treasurer was to cut 2 checks to send to organizations that are providing support services for our troops.  This is just another way your dues dollars help to keep the name of the USS Great Sitkin alive, 34 years since it went away.
    Another war item that relates to today’s Navy is something called Individual Augmentee. That is a process where the Navy is sending active duty and mobilized reserve Sailors to fill critical positions on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. When I first heard of the IA thing, my thought was "Sailors belong on ships, and ships belong at sea!" But these are different times than they were back when we sailed in the 50's, and 60's. This being an all volunteer military, the government needs to use all the resources available to do the job at hand. From what I read, Sailors that are part of the Individual Augmentee program are in support of it and accept it as part of the job that needs to be done.
    And, as I think of Sailors in combat fatigues and my Great Sitkin memories, my thoughts are drawn to our Explosive Ordinance Disposal Shipmates that sailed with us when we deployed. I am sure their names won't show up on any ships company roles, but they sure played a part in keeping us safe. I remember the EOD guys on our 1971 Med Cruise. We had a LT, a 1st class, and a 2nd class. They had all their dive gear and rubber boats and stuff stored on the 1st deck on 5 hold. (In case you're slow here, this is my 'ships tour' moment) My memory is a little fuzzy after 36 years, but I think they had their sleeping quarters back there too. It would have made sense, because the head for after berthing was in 4 hold, along with the ships laundry on the port side. Anyone remember what was located in the compartments on the starboard side of 4 hold? Trvia question someone can answer at the reunion this year, right?
    Ok, don't forget the ships store stuff we still have. Shirts, hats, mugs, patches, decals. The stuff isn't doing me any good guys, so lets get some dollars flowing and order some cool Great Sitkin gear for your summer pleasure!
    Everyone have a good, safe summer and see you in Baton Rouge!

George Kaiser

2007 Reunion Update: Our annual get-together is only a couple of months away and I would like to remind you that to get the special rate you need to make your reservations before our cut off date of September 5th .  At that time, all room blocks are lifted and you may or may not be able to get a room there.  So pick up the phone and call while you have this newsletter in your hand.  If something comes up and you won’t be able to attend you can cancel your reservations 24 hours in advance without a penalty.
    We got a pretty good package together for those attending starting with a “Welcome Reception” by the hotel on Wednesday at 6:00PM.
    Thursday will be a full day with the bus trip to New Orleans and the tour of the National World War II Museum.  There are lots of things to see there with a good portion centered around the D-Day Invasion.  The Higgins boats used to ferry the troops from the ships to the beaches were built in New Orleans.
    Friday is pretty much a “free” day with nothing planned until the meeting at 3:30 PM.  This will give you all lots of time to swap stories in the hospitality room and do some side trips to the local shops and malls. 
    Saturday is our tour of the USS Kidd (DD-661).  While aboard the Kidd, Chaplain Rucker will conduct the Honor Ceremony.  At noon we will have a wreath laying at the Memorial Park and then board bus for lunch at the Hollywood Casino. After lunch there is a bus tour of the downtown area, or those who wish may stay at the casino and try their luck.  For those staying the bus will return to pick you up @ 3:00PM and return to Hotel.  Please be on time or you will have to make other arrangements to get back.
    Saturday night is our Annual Banquet. Cocktails will be @ 6:00PM with a cash bar. At 7:00PM Banquet Dinner & Dancing with and 8 piece band.
    Sunday will be the Farewell Breakfast which will be available from 6:00AM-10:00.  This gives up ample time to say our good-byes until next year.
    That’s all for this report.  There is a Reunion Registration form in the newsletter that gives more details.  Be sure to take it out and stick it to the refrig with a magnet if you are not sending it in today so it will be handy when you are ready!  Hope to see you in Baton Rouge!

Doug & Kathy Hauser
Reunion Coordinators

Forwarding emails:  Almost all e-mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all this type of e-mail does, is to get names and "cookie" tracking info for telemarketers and spammers to validate active e-mail accounts for their own purposes.
    Just a word to the wise:
E-mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress, the President or any other elected officials. To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address. Same with "prayer chains"--be wary.  Check it out:
    Any time you see an e-mail that says forward this on to 10 of your friends, sign this petition, you'll get good luck or bad luck, or whatever, it has either an e-mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and e-mails of those folks you forward to or the host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of "active" e-mails to use in spam e-mails or sell to others that do. (If you have been sending out the above kinds of email, now you know why you get so much spam.)
   Share this notice with others and you will be providing a good service to your friends and will be rewarded by not getting a lot of spam e-mails in the future.

Don McClane

We were the Crew of the Sitkin
by: James “Jaybird” Bryant

We were the crews of the Sitkin in the days long past.
We were the crews of the Sitkin, our memories forever will last.
She was not a mighty man-of-war with guns a blazing day and night,
But her cargo to be delivered would give our enemy a terrible fright.

We sailed the mighty seas alone both days and nights,
With dreams of duty, pride and freedom forever in our sights.
From Bayonne to the Artic circle, and European Shores,
From Gitmo, Viet Nam, they were just daily Chores.
Esprite décor as the Marines would say,
Is what we on the Sitkin practiced everyday.

Always ready, and ready to serve anywhere,
We were prepared to do the job,
No burden was too great to bare.
From drills at sunup and even late at night,
Her crew and guns were made ready
To defend, to give a hell-of a fight.

We gave our all to the ole girl,
And she in turn gave us a mighty whirl.
And, there were liberties on many a distant shore,
 That were anything but a bore.

From the BT’s who made the steam,
The EN’s who furnished the power,
The MMS’s who always wanted more
Of everything,
To the deck hands, the Quartermasters,
The gunners, the cooks, the signalmen, the boat crews,
The Yeoman, and yes, her Officers; chief, petty and
Line, who directed our
Daily lives.

We washed her decks, chipped her paint, blew her tubes and
Shined her brass so bright,
And when she anchored at a port,
She was a grand ole sight.

Her mess decks with the folding tables and benches
In heavy seas were akin to fighting in trenches.
It was a wish come true when they were welded
To the deck,
No more trays on the bulkhead by heck.

From her bent screw,
To banging a pier or two,
And Drifting in the Med without power,
She still got us to homeport
 At the Appointed hour.

The same ole movies we watched, and watched, and watched.
Why, It seems like John Wayne was part of the crew
But alas, there was not much else to do.

There were those times when we stood watch
Four and four,
There were those times when we felt
We just couldn’t take anymore,
And there were times we just
Wanted to go ashore.

But we stood our ground man to man for we were
Sailors of the Sitkin, each and every man.
Men of strength, with an oath to God, duty
And County
That few will ever understand.

There were those times when angry seas seemed to
 Threaten her very bulwarks
as she pitched too and fro and strained to stay afloat,
But she was built by men and women of
Of Impeccable courage with a strong sense
Of duty and pride.
This ole girl could take it, so we sat
Back and went along for the ride.

We were the sailors of the Sitkin who
Watched our fellow shipmates
given duties on other ships and shores,
that would forever remove them from out sight,
But not from our hearts and minds. . .,
Not from those days and nights in which
We all served together in troubled times.

We ARE the sailors of the Sitkin.
Proud to a man!
Proud to be brothers who served and served well.
We are the ones who have the stories to tell.
We did our share to keep our country free,
We did our share so America would always be.

We will all be gone and forgotten someday,
and all That will be left is the memory  we
have entrusted to our loved ones.
It is up to them to say. . .,
These were the men of the
USS Great Sitkin AE-17,
Home Port,
The United States of America!


last updated on 06/01/07