Always Ready
Summer, 2008                                                                                                                                                             1 June, 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: The past couple of months have been busy ones with doing the revamp of the web pages and incorporating all of the different pictures into one central area making access more convenient.  Check out the Crew's Lounge to see what's been done.
    It is now only 3 short months before it is time for the Annual Reunion.  Your Hosts for this year, Jim and Joy Dunno, have been working hard getting the finishing touches completed before this newsletter went to press.  They have a great package put together and 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.  So before you put this aside and forget to do it, pull out the Reunion Registration insert, fill it out, enclose a check and get it in the mail to Jim and Joy.  You'll be glad you did…..

New Finds:  Donald Hansen, BT2, '59; Charles Bearish, SH3, '54; Michael Mahoney, IC3, '71; Ronald Jakubowski, FP1, '56 and Mark O'Brien, SN, '68

Honor Roll:  William Mollman, MOMM1c, Plank Owner and Vince Carpency, SKSN, '53
    We wish to express our deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to their family and friends.

Web Site:  In addition to the changes to the Welcome and Crew's Lounge pages, I was able to convert the 35mm slides and have added 12 pictures to the 60's Cruises and 1 picture to the 60's Crew pages.  I also finished extracting the information on which ship's we have rearmed and/or UNREPed with from the Deck Logs we have already purchased and that list will be available in the Hospitality Room at this year's Reunion.   See you there!

Ron Zimmerman Sr.,

From the desk of the Vice President:  Here it is time again for another newsletter, I thought I had just finished writing an article and Ron tells me it’s time to write another one!  It’s time again for the warm weather, flowers, and showers that make the flowers grow. So speaking of showers; I know what you’re thinking, here comes another sea story, you’re right!
     It so happened that one day in the fireroom we had to do firesides, for all you topside guys that’s when we open up the boiler to wash it out. I happened to get stuck washing the stack from the inside, at the bottom of the stack. When a certain MPA, whose name I won’t mention, stuck his head into the opening at the same time I brought the hose to the same spot. Needless to say Mr. Stephanski got a shower. He will swear I did it on purpose but really Charlie, it was an accident! (hehehe).
    Things are moving right along with the membership. We have 126 paid members of which 6 are first timers. So, any of you fellows who just happen to find an extra $20 lying around, go ahead and send it to me. I will be happy to send you a shiny new membership card complete with my signature.
    The reunion bank is OPEN so fill out those registration forms and send them to me. The Drawbridge Inn has been taking reservations and a few of you have already made yours.
    If any of you would like to attend a Reds ball game Friday night during our free time please let me know when you send in your registration. Again, if enough people are interested in attending the game, I will try to set something up. The Montgomery Inn is next door to our Inn and they have the best Ribs around. Don McClane thinks Blue Ash Chili is the place to be, but to each his own.
    If anybody has any questions about the info in the insert in this newsletter feel free to e-mail or call me and I will try to answer them.

Jim Dunno
Vice President & Membership Chairman

Secretary Report:  Shipmates, again this year we did not receive any nominations for replacement of the current slate of officers.  Nominations for all offices will be accepted at the Annual Business meeting.  Nominees must be present at the meeting to accept the nomination.  We hope that you are planning to attend the reunion in Cincinnati and are looking forward to seeing you there.
    As a reminder, one of the duties of my job as Secretary is to send get well cards to our members.  So, if you know of a member who should have a card sent to them, please let me know and a card will be sent to let him know that the USS Great Sitkin Association is thinking of him.
    I also would like to encourage our shipmates that have stories of interest about their time served aboard the Great Sitkin to put it in writing and send it to me or one of the officers.  When we have space in a future newsletter it could be included.  Also, regarding the newsletter, if you have changed your address recently or will be changing it before the November newsletter please give one of the officers that information so you will continue to receive your newsletter.

Jack Norton

Repair 3:  Isn’t it funny that as we get another year under our belts (a nice way to say “getting old”) we tend to reflect back on events that have shaped our lives, for good and bad, to recall individuals who’ve set us on our own paths in life. I guess you’re thinking “here comes another reunion pitch!” A little later maybe, but not here. I’m thinking more along the lines of how much my short 18 months on the Great Sitkin set me on the direction that led me to where I am in my life, in May 2008. Right now, I own my own business, I’m happily married to my best friend, I’m an officer in my local volunteer fire department, I teach fire fighting at our county fire academy, I retired in 1997 after 27 years in the Naval Reserve as a Chief Damage Controlman, yeah, I’m quite satisfied with where I am today. Each of these places I owe to my time on the Sitkin. Let me explain.
     I went on active duty in September 1969, attended the Navy Damage Control “A” School at Philadelphia, Pa. I got my orders to the Sitkin from there, reporting aboard on 22 November, 1969. Here’s where I start naming names. After getting checked in, PN2 Leo Minnickel admonished me to “turn 2” and sent me to see DC3 Fred Applegate. Thanks Leo. Fred was a volunteer fireman, and he ran the repair lockers like a little Great Sitkin fire department, which I guess is what they were. I’m not sure who actually gave me Repair 3 as my cleaning responsibility, but it was another career move. A DCFN, and I had my own command! How cool was that? I dug into that place, and had it so ship shape, I got a Letter of Commendation during a SERVRON 2 Admin Inspection in January 1970. I know I stepped on some toes back when that took place, hope the 38 years since then has cooled things off a little. That letter meant a heck of a lot to a boot Damage Controlman, and was another little career shaper. Thanks Fred. While I’m thanking my Shipmate Fred for his early damage control guidance, I would be remiss not to mention the fact that he also set me on my course to be a volunteer firefighter. Right after I was released from active duty and settled in at home again, I joined our town’s fire department, and have been there ever since.
    As 1970 went on, I got to know DC2 Gary Miller very well. He was my steaming buddy and shipmate. Gary had Repair 2, and we dueled it out as to who had the most ready locker. Gary kept me on my toes, he also was a 4.0 Damage Controlman. He taught me to love my rate and the responsibilities that went along with it. Thanks Gary. There were also other Damage Controlmen on the Sitkin that made up our little fire company. DC3 Jay Miller, DCFN Joe Weber, DCFN Russ Marion. And while I’m at it, I also owe a debt to the other members of the AE17 R Division “Wrecking Crew.”  You were all the guys that taught me early on the meaning of “Brotherhood” that is the watchword of the fire service. Guys, I took that lesson, and have used it every day as a firefighter. I used it for the 27 years I was with the Navy Reserve. For 15 of those 27 years, I drilled as an instructor at the DC School in Philadelphia. The job I was able to do so well there was due to the education I got with my Brothers on the Great Sitkin.
      Well, that was the story of how I found the fire service on the Great Sitkin. I also learned how to be a Chief, and maybe even run a business from my Great Sitkin days. Have you ever stopped to consider the impact your senior petty officer, Chiefs, and officers had on you, for good and bad?  R Division had, as our division officer, the Damage Control Assistant, or “DCA.” My first DCA was Lt David Bull. He left in March 1970 so I didn’t know him that well, but as I recall he was a pretty good guy. Not on our found list right now. He was probably the one that got the Letter of Commendation by. Thanks Lt Bull. Mr. Bull’s replacement was Ens David Obershimer.  He is on our found list, so it’s good that 38 years does have a way of changing ones outlook on past events. I guess by the spring of 1970 I was a pretty cocky SOB, and I’m sure that got on Mr. Obershimers every last nerve. I remember we were in the ammo piers in Virginia, on our way to Cuba in June 1970. Mr. O had told me to make an inventory for Repair 3, or no weekend liberty. Well, I didn’t get it done, but went ahead and made my bus reservations home anyhow. We went up to the quarterdeck, and who had the watch? Mr. Obershimer! Holy Crap! How was I going to get this one past? Well, I didn’t. He stopped me, made me go finish the inventory. He could have kept me on the ship for the weekend, but he let me go after I showed him the finished work. All told, I lost about 45 minutes, still made the bus, and learned a valuable lesson in following, and eventually giving, orders. Thanks Dave!
   Mr. Obershimers replacement was Ens Brett Burbank, and he was our DCA for the 1971 Med Cruise. As I recall, Mr. Burbank was a good guy, just had a lot of rather bizarre ideas on how to run a DC department. By the time our paths crossed, I was a seasoned 3
rd Class, and no boot camp Ensign was going to change my routine. More lessons in giving and taking orders. Hindsight always being 20/20, it worked out for the good. One “life lesson” I was able to get from Mr. Burbank that I’ve used over the years was during a port visit to Corfu. I had the duty that day so I was on board, standing sounding & security watches. I also was On Scene Leader for the inport fire party. That was kind of as big step up for a 3rd class petty officer, and I was kind of apprehensive. Well, we got word that Mr. Burbank had the intention to light a fire in a trash can on the welding flats outside of  R Div shop. Now, on an ammunition ship, I would imagine that if one was predisposed to set an intentional fire, the welding flats would be the safest place to do it. I believe that Mr. Burbanks intention was to put the small fire out with one of the pressurized water extinguishers we had in the area. Quick knock on the fire, easy to recharge. Nice fire drill. But I guess being the hot shots we were, we ( the inport fire party) decided to go at the fire with all our resources, which meant charging 2 fire hoses, with the hose teams in full battle dress including OBA’s. And that’s just what we did. Someone saw the smoke, notified the Quarterdeck there was a fire. The fire party was called away, we geared up at Repair 2, got set up at the top of the ladder in the starboard passageway, and with hoses flowing water, we went down the ladder, around the corner, where we encountered a very surprised and by this time a very wet DCA. Oh, and we put the fire out too. I guess the lesson in it all for me was that I discovered that I could make decisions and lead my shipmates in a fire situation. I recalled that day many times in later years when I was put in positions of leadership in far more hazardous situations. So, I owe a tip of the battle helmet to you too Brett, thanks for challenging us to “think outside the box” so many years ago.
      In recalling life lessons I received at the hands of my Great Sitkin shipmates, I would be remiss if I left out the advice I received from my Commanding Officer when I was checking out at the end of my tour. We had been back in the states, berthed at the ammo piers at Leonardo, NJ. I was making the rounds getting my signatures so I could get off and get back to my civilian life. I think my final stop was to see Captain Rohrer. I’m sure he knew who I was, I wasn’t a bad Sailor, but my mouth tended to get me noticed at times. I knocked, requested permission to enter, he invited me, offered me a seat, and we had a sort of “father, son chat.” Me and the Captain. Wow! He asked what my intentions were for the future. Well, I had been writing for the 6 months to a girl I met before I left back in January. “How do you feel about her?” Geez, the Captain asking me this “I think she’s pretty cool, sir!” “Marry her!” Uh…ok. “Your in the reserves, aren’t you son?” Uh…yes sir. “Stay in the reserves son, it will do you good.” So, I married Mary, and I retired in 1997 from the Reserves. Thanks for the advice Admiral!
      Ok, so much for my life story tour of the 71 Med Cruise. Remember, it’s been 38 years, so some of the items in these tales might be stretched a little, but you all get the idea. To take care of some association business, the ships store is still stocked and waiting. When you get your government rebate check, be sure to send VP Jim Dunno 20 bucks for dues, and buy a few things from the store. And maybe use some of it to pay for your trip to Cincinnati in September! See you then!

George Kaiser

Looking for shipmates:  Recently I became acquainted with a German friend who is writing a book about the WWII German ship Prinz Eugen IX - 300.  He found me via the USN Cruiser Sailors Assn.  I had been a crewmember when the USN sailed the ship to the Bikini Islands for the 1946 Atomic Bomb test.  I was asked to try and locate any other USN sailors who might have been on board prior to the test.  My friends name is Ingo Bauernfeind and you can contact him at  Please include me in your correspondence to him.  My e-mail address is  Thank you shipmates!

    B. J. Reynolds,  XO, '71 - '72

last updated on 06/01/08