From Our President: Life
is a roller coaster at times, full of ups and downs and is
ever changing. This is one of those times. As you all
know, I was going to retire this year and leave the running
of the Association in the capable hands of Jim, George,
Jack, Mark and whom ever the new guy was going to be. That
all changed on July 15th when our Secretary and my good
friend Jack Norton suddenly passed away.
Jack had been battling another round of cancer and seemed
to be winning again. He had lost some weight but his spirit
and determination to beat this set back was still strong.
Even with all that was going on in his life, he was still
concerned about the Association. We talked about this at
length when I last visited him a couple of weeks ago. He
knew he was not going to be strong enough to attend this
year’s reunion and was worried about someone filling in for
him again. He was worried about not being strong enough to
fulfill another year as Secretary and replacing 2 E-Board
members at the same time. He was concerned that replacing 2
members would put a burden on Jim, George and Mark.
It was at that time I told him not to worry about either
of those thoughts. Someone would gladly volunteer to fill
in for him at the meeting if he wasn’t able to attend. I
also promised him that if he decided that he wasn’t going to
be able to do another year, that I would delay my retirement
a year so we would not have to replace 2 board members at
the same time.
In speaking with his wife, Pat, the other day, she told
me that Jack had discussed this with her after I had left
and that he was glad and also relieved that I had made the
decision to run for re-election if he was not able to do
another year. He wanted the Association to carry on and
continue to grow and
get more of the shipmates to attend the reunions and
reconnect with old shipmates before it was too late. . . . .
Yergeau, FN ‘72; Willard Oliver, BM3, ‘66 and John Acton,
RM2, ‘71. Welcome Aboard Shipmates!
Honor Roll page was updated and a couple of pictures to the
70’s cruises and crew and a shipmate’s picture from the 40’s
What we are about:
Constitution and Bylaws state in part under
Article II: Purpose and Use:
purpose is to promote the preservation of the history of the
US Navy ship named Great Sitkin (AE-17), and to perpetuate
the memory of the ship and it’s crews.
At last year’s Annual Business meeting, it was voted on by
the shipmates in attendance to further our purpose by
purchasing 3.75 x 7.0 inch plaque for mounting on the U.S.
Navy Memorial’s Commemorative Wall. The design has been
completed, approved by the Executive Board and the full
amount due paid to the US Navy Memorial Foundation.
Hopefully by reunion time we will have a date of completion
and posting. A copy of the approved design will be
available at the Registration table for all to see.
A word from the Vice-President: It
seems like I just finished writing this article for the
newsletter and here I am writing another one. Are you all
ready for Chicago? It’s not that far away now so get your
stuff into Doug. And while I’m on the subject of reunions we
need for some of you “Gents” to step up and take a shot at
putting on one. I have been told that if nobody comes up
with an idea that it falls on the VP to host the reunion, at
this point I am hosting 2011 and to try and do 2012 might be
a little much, not impossible but a little rushed to get it
together. So come up with ideas and past hosts will be happy
to give you some help.
Membership has been holding steady for the past few years
right now we are at 177 paid members. So if you all would
check your cards and make sure you are up to date, if it
says 2009 you’re behind and if it says 2010 you are current.
Dues will be accepted at the reunion as usual.
As far as the 2011 reunion in Chattanooga goes I am planning
to take another trip there in October to finish up ideas for
activities, entertainment, and travel. All of which I will
fill you in on in later newsletters and at the reunion.
Well judging from the aroma coming from the kitchen it’s time
for dinner and again hope to see you all in Chicago.
Vice-President & Membership Chairman
Day” to all of you. I can’t believe it’s the middle of July
already. “Time stands still for no man”.
I was mowing grass yesterday afternoon thinking about what I
could write for this news letter. My thoughts went back to
one of my first cruises on the ship. I hadn’t been on board
very long, a month or so I expect. We were steaming near the
VA Capes. I had just got off the 8-12 watch and had climbed
into my rack. I think I had fallen asleep when this load
voice came over the PA system, “Fire, Fire, Fire in number
#1 Hold. Being new I didn’t know what to think. I did know
that fire and ammo don’t mix. I jumped out of my rack and
was getting dressed and MMFN Stanley was dressing next to me
and he looked at me and said “If you know how to pray you
better start”. Then there was another announcement. “Fire,
Fire, Fire in number #2 Hold”. We mustard up on main deck
near number #4 Hold. I couldn’t smell any smoke and I
thought that was good. The next thing I heard was “General
Quarters, General Quarters all hands man your battle
stations”. I asked what did this mean and some said it’s the
last place you go before you abandon ship. I remember
thinking I am never going to see my family, my Mom or Patsy
again. We got to the Engine Room and MM2 Casey told us
to start laying out fire hose on the lower level but do not
charge it with water.
Well the next think I heard over the PA system was “All
hands secure from General Quarter”. We hadn’t exploded; I
wasn’t going to have jump over board. What a relief. The
next day we heard that the “Watch had smelled smoke up
around #1 hold and called the Bridge and reported it. What
really happened was a forest fire somewhere along the coast
of Virginia had blown out to sea and that’s what he was
smelling. All that commotion for nothing. I wonder how many
shipmates made fun of him the next day.
Well after all this time it hit me yesterday that he was
doing just what he was supposed to do, watching out for all
of us while we were sleeping. He did his job. That’s the
kind of shipmate you want on watch in the middle of the
night, a fellow who cares.
I kept thinking about this and I thought about the scripture
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee
in all thy ways. God is always protecting and providing for
Well it’s time to say “See ya later”. Let’s keep those
families in our prayers that have lost a loved one who
sailed aboard the Great Sitkin. May the Lord Bless and Keep
Honor Roll Update:
Euford McCurley, RC2, ‘45; Bernadi Zubicki, RT3, ‘45;
Howard Rice, ETSN, ‘52 and John “Jack” Norton, SK3, ‘56.
Pauline B. Clark, spouse of Charley Stephanski.
USS Great Sitkin AE-17 Reunion 2010: The
closing date of August 22nd is quickly approaching. To make
reservations call 630-505-4900, Reservation Code is IGS.
Call between Mon thru Fri between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM to
avoid being transferred to the general reservation desk.
Please make your hotel reservations now! Any reservations
made after the 22nd could be at the regular rate and on a
space available basis.
Also, don’t forget to get your Reunion Registration Form
into me ASAP. If you misplaced the one from your last
newsletter, it is still available on the web site. Mail
y6our registration and check to me at 2137 Young Farm Place,
Montgomery, AL. 36106-3136.
If you don’t have internet access, call me at
334-277-2151, and I’ll fill one out for you. The cost is
$190.00 per person for the Reunion Package and $26.00 per
person for the Optional Tour. Hope to see you all at the
Doug & Kathy Hauser
Friends, With my husbands recent passing, I have such mixed
emotions in sending you this newsletter. Any of you who had
met him at the reunions knew how special he was and how hard
he fought to live this past 7 years. Not knowing God's
plans, I was planning on his receiving chemo on July 15,
since we believed that was the way to combat his cancer. I
am grateful, that right up to the end, he never suffered.
He would always say, "I'm not in any pain".
His burial at the beautiful national military cemetery
FL was another
blessing. The ceremony was so dignified and impressive that
it made it possible for me to be able to leave him there.
I do need to again remind his shipmates and the wives to
really know where the DD 214 is located. My Jack told me
where it was, but I did not want to have to use it, so I did
not pay attention. It took us many hours to find this
necessary and important piece of paper.
I do not know how
to fully explain how much Jack enjoyed the camaraderie at
the reunions and how proud he was to be a member and officer
(AE17) Association. I will add it to my memories and list
of never ending blessings that he has given to me this past
In closing, our family would like to express deep
gratitude to Ron for deciding to give you the opportunity of
maintaining him as your President for an additional year and
I want to thank you all for your support and prayers.
Sincerely, a shipmate’s wife