USS Great Sitkin (AE-17)
4th Issue, 18th Year                                                                                                                                                   1 August 2010

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

Secretary (Interim)
Joe Savadge
84 May Dr
Dillsburg,  PA  17019
George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036


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. . . . . .

New Finds:  Donald Yergeau, FN ‘72;  Willard Oliver, BM3, ‘66 and John Acton, RM2, ‘71.  Welcome Aboard Shipmates!

Web Site:  The 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 were added.

What we are about:  Our Constitution and Bylaws state in part under Article II: Purpose and Use:  Section 1: That our 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.

     Ron Zimmerman

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.

     Jim Dunno
     Vice-President &  Membership Chairman


The Chaplain’s Corner:  “Good 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 in Psalms 91:11 (KJV) 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. God is always protecting and providing for his children.
    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 You.

Honor Roll Update:   Euford McCurley, RC2, ‘45;  Bernadi Zubicki, RT3, ‘45;  Howard Rice, ETSN, ‘52 and John “Jack” Norton, SK3, ‘56. 

Spouses:  Pauline B. Clark, spouse of Charley Stephanski.

Mark Rucker

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 Reunion.

      Doug & Kathy Hauser
      Reunion Hosts

Dear 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 in
Lake Worth, 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 of the USS Great Sitkin
(AE17) Association.  I will add it to my memories and list of never ending blessings that he has given to me this past 49 years.
   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
    Pat Norton

last updated on 08/01/10