USS Great Sitkin (AE-17)
2nd Issue, 18th Year                                                                                                                                                   1 February 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

Jack Norton
2386 SE Patio Circle
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036



From Our President:   The Holidays are now over with, we hope each and everyone one of you had a joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year. 
    It seems like only last week we were all together in Boston and here we are, just a little over 6 months away from the next one.  I know Dough and Kathy have been hard at work getting the final details lined up, and it looks like it will be another great time.  It is never too early to start you planning.  See Doug’s article for more details.

New Finds:
  John Glenn, SN, ‘60 and Fredrick McHenney, FT3, ‘53.  Welcome back aboard shipmates. 

Web Site:
  The 2009 reunion pictures got posted after we went to press for the Nov Newsletter, there were 267.  I still need to add the names of the attendees to those pictures on the Banquet Page.  I also added 3 pictures to the ‘60’s Shipmates and 3 to the ‘68 Vietnam Cruise.  That only leaves me a small pile to get caught up on.
Ron Zimmerman

A word from the Vice-President:  Here it is time again for some words of wisdom from me- - - ok so maybe just some words. The snow in Ohio has just about melted away again and the temperature has actually gotten up into the 40’s. The holidays are behind us and I hope you all had a Happy and Joyful one. Santa came and as usual Joy and I had the whole gang over, instead of the usual Ham and Turkey with all the trimmings this year we decided to do Mexican! Yep we had Taco’s, burrito’s, fajitas, and everything else. It was different, but still with the same remembrance of what the holiday season stands for.
    I hear that Doug has said the reunion is just about ready to go complete with a viewing of a Great Lakes graduation ceremony, which should stir memories for all you guys. As for the 2011 reunion things are moving along and I can fill you all in with more details in Chicago.
    Now for the main part, paid membership is now at 114 with a couple of new members this year. So to all you men who are receiving this newsletter and haven’t paid, send me your 20 bucks, and for all you that have
    Once again I’ll say to you that we need ideas for other reunions and articles for the newsletter so don’t be shy send Ron an article and show up in Chicago with a 2012 reunion idea. Anybody who has hosted one will help you. There that ought to be enough words from me until the next newsletter.
Jim Dunno
     Vice-President &  Membership Chairman

Secretary’s Report: To our shipmates and their wives, I want to start by telling you all how much I appreciate your cards, e-mails, calls, concern and especially your prayers.  You are a fantastic group of caring people. 
   Many of you have asked how I am doing, so here is an update.  I had throat surgery on Jan. 28 and it is now 2 days later and all is well.  Back in Nov., I was shown a video of my paralyzed left vocal chord and with that info. we knew that surgery to insert an implant into that vocal chord was needed to close up the gap, since I was at high risk for aspiration.  I had to also continue with my schedule of chemo and be strong enough for the surgery.  The surgeon told me no talking for 2 days and when I received a phone call from our Assoc. illustrious President, he had the distinction of being the first to hear my VOICE (not a whisper) over the phone.  He wanted to know how I was doing and to remind me I needed to do my February newsletter. So, here it is.
Secretary's Report: Hello shipmates, With our last mailing we only received 2 newsletters returned back because of address changes.  So please continue to let us know if you are going to have an address change.  We have received a couple of articles from shipmates and we will be including them in the newsletters.

    Nominations for Office: 
Nominations for the Executive Board positions are now open.  All positions are up for election each year and officers may be reelected.  Only Active Members who have annual dues current are eligible to serve.  All nominations for office must be received no later than April 15, 2010.  All nominations received by that date will be published in the May edition of the newsletter.  Nominations must be in writing and may be sent either by postal service or e-mail to the Association’s Secretary.  Nominees will be contacted by the Secretary to ensure their acceptance of the nomination and willingness to serve.  If you have any further questions regarding nominations or serving as an officer, please feel free to contact me by phone or e-mail.
      Jack Norton

Repair 3:  Greetings from my repair locker. Newsletter time again, and as before, it seems stories about the Great Sitkin that I can conjure up from memory have pretty much been told, and retold. But as I sit here trying to come up with something to entertain the Shipmates, the story of yet another victim being pulled alive from the rubble in Haiti is breaking on the news. Wow! Talk about getting a second chance! Hmmm..ok, I will, talk about getting a second chance.
   Everyone who knows me from the reunions knows just how much I love putting on my Service Dress Blue uniform for the Saturday night dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed my 27 years in the Navy, and the question I always am being asked is “How’d you manage to stay in all those years?”  And also, if you know me, you probably have heard the story, that the only reason, the one and only reason, I stayed in the reserves was due to the fact that I had the good fortune of being assigned to the Naval Damage Control Training Center at the Philadelphia Navy Base. From 1981 to 1994, I taught shipboard damage control to reserve units that came to us from pretty much the whole country. I had the privilege of working with some of the finest fellow instructors, both reserve and active, the Navy had to offer. After the DC School was closed by President Clinton, I spent my last 3 years teaching damage control at the reserve center in Brooklyn, NY. In 1997, I parted company with shipboard DC training, and that was a big part of my life gone away.
   After I retired from the reserves, I was able to continue teaching firefighting to local volunteer firefighters, and I also teamed up with some other retired military members on a maritime incident response team. It wasn’t Navy damage control, but at least I saw a ship every now and then. So, you are probably wondering by now, what in the heck does all this have to do with second chances? Well, just last week, I found out our team has been contracted to teach damage control to civilian shipwrights at the Bath Iron Works in Maine. To teach Naval damage control, to guys who will be riding new Arleigh Burke class destroyers that are coming out of BIW for sea trials. We go up in March to do our first seminar. Pipe patching, shoring, repair lockers, OBA’s, all the DC stuff I taught for so long at NDCTC. And one thing about damage control, it is basically timeless. My knowledge from 1994 will just about fit with the 2010 Navy, with a few tweaks. And what’s really surprising for this old seadog, I still recall most of it! So, Anchors Away! And, Don’t Give Up the Ship! I’m getting a second chance to teach sailors about how to save themselves and their ship!
   Till next time, stay safe. And keep planning for Illinois in September!
          George Kaiser

The Chaplain’s Corner:   “Good Day” to all of you this New Year.  I wonder if Al Gore has asked any of the folks living in the south what they think about “Global Warming”. Well I guess it’s that time of year for cold, snow and ice for us folks living up here in the north.
    It was certainly hard to miss the reunion this year, not seeing everyone and talking about old sea stories that we have heard and told over the years. I never get tired of hearing them. Patsy dad was very ill and passed away Sept 18th. He was a great man and lived to be 83 years old. An old Sailor of WWII. Served aboard LST 387 in the Med. He loved to talk about those days and tell some great stories when he was just a young man. He had been a faithful warrior for his Lord for many years. He had touched so many lives of the younger people. We preached his funeral and there were over 200 present at the church. A great testimony to the life he lived. I think that’s what all of us want to leave behind. Solomon said in Proverbs 22:1  “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”      Patsy and I would like to thank you for your prayers and cards. They meant a lot.
    I heard from Dougy and he said things are ready for us in Chicago. He and his wife have put a lot of work into this reunion coming up so let’s get our schedules set, reservation made and registrations in.
    Well it’s time to say “See ya latter”.  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:  Arthur Turcotte HN ‘48;  Pete Homa  FA  ‘54;  Robert Magnuson  SA  ‘60 and Charles Kochan S1c  ‘48
Mark Rucker

USS Great Sitkin AE-17 Reunion 2010:      Reunion set to go so anyone coming can call hotel NOW and make your reservation.  I recommend that you make them early as time will go fast and hope no one will miss the dead line.   You can always cancel if the need arises.
    I will be opening the bank account early next month, you can send in you money for the reunion package anytime after that. It will be one less expense at reunion time. I will have a taxi service lined up for those flying in at either airport. I believe it will be a little cheaper at O'Hare International than Midway Airport but not that much.  I will have more information in the next newsletter on transportation.
    Looking forward to seeing you all again and lets hope we get some from the Midwest Area ... Great Lakes, Tour of Chicago & River cruise and tour of Cantigny, also entertainment on Thursday and a Band for dancing and listing at The Banquet, So come one come All….

                                REUNION  INFORMATION
Dates:  Sept 15 -19 , 2010

Hotel:  Holiday Inn Select Naperville, IL
Call for reservation 1-630-505-4900   Code IGS and mention USS Great Sitkin Reunion.  Room Rates:  $92.00  King Suite $112.00 Rates good for 3 days prior And 3 days after Reunion Dates. These Rates include a
FULL Hot Buffet

Package Cost:  $190.00 Per Person and includes the following:

Main Registration Day:  Holiday Inn Select will hold a welcome Wine and Cheese Receptions from 6:00 - 7:00PM in the Hospitality Room.

Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010:Chicago Guided tour to Soldier Field and the Memorial Waterfall, The Magnificent Mile , Millennium Park, and Landmark Water Tower that survived the Chicago Fire.  Then to Navy Pier For lunch on your own. Then enjoy the  River Cruise, and back to the hotel by 3:00PM .
  At 6:00PM there will have a picnic dinner with Mixed Greens, Hamburger, Brats, Pasta salad, chips and cookies, iced tea and lemonade.  There will also be entertainment .

Friday  Sept. 17, 2010:  Great Lakes Naval Training  Station Tour.  A valid ID is required for this tour.  We will attend a Graduation Ceremony and a short tour of the Base.  Lunch is included at the Port O’Call Restaurant.  Then  a Memorial Service at the Base Chapel.  Return to the hotel by around 2:30 PM.  Friday Nite is free to be with Friends and shipmates

Saturday Sept 18, 2010:  The Annual Business Meeting at 3:30PM for conducting old business, election of officers, and selection of reunion site for 2012.
        Annual Dinner Banquet is Saturday  Evening.  Cocktails at 6:00 -7:00PM - Cash Bar.  There will be a photographer to take photos for Memory Book.  I hope you all will buy one it should be reasonably priced.  Dinner will be plated and some live entertainment during dinner.   Menu as follows: 
        Duet Dinner Entrée of Mixed Green Salad, Baked Potato, Seasonal Veg., Strip Loin & Chicken Chardonnay, Bread Bucket and Butter, Coffee and Tea, Desert is Eli’s Cheesecake with Mango Peach Puree.  The band will be Jerry Armstrong for your dancing and listening pleasure.

Sunday Sept 19, 2010:  Farewell Breakfast will be from 6:00 - 10:00 am.  A good chance to visit with old friends and new one last time until next year.

Optional Tour  (not part of the package price):  Saturday, Sept 18th to Cantigny Museum 10:00 am -2:00 pm, cost $26.00 per person.  Tour McCormick Mansion and gardens or First Div. Museum  going thru the trenches from all wars. Very impressive and should not be missed.  Lunch is included @ LeJardin Restaurant on site.  Steak Burger Char grilled served on a Brioche bun with Lettuce & Tomato or Grill Cheese Panini with  Smoked Gouda Slab Bacon & oven Roasted Tomato on Sourdough bread.  Both  with Kettle Chips and drinks of your choice.  Choices will be on  registration form as I have to give them notice in advance.

   If you have any questions, please give me a call at 334.277.2151or send me an e-mail at:
              Doug and Kathy Hauser
              Reunion Hosts

Letters from Shipmates:
Have you ever thought about attending a Reunion?  I served onboard our ship from Mar 72 until May 73.  When I first found out about the association, I gave some thought about attending a reunion.  However, some questions came up like, Would I know anyone? What kind of time would it be? What do they do?  Would anyone even talk to me?
  Well, I have had all my questions answered.  I have attended three and I'll tell you I enjoyed them all and look forward to the next one.  The term "Shipmate" means so much in our association.  Whether you served in the early years, in between or the end, the association and those who attend the reunion are a family.
  The first one I attended was in Florida, I saw several shipmates I hadn't seen in over 20 years.  Everyone attending had one thing in common.  Everyone belonged.  Meeting Old and New Shipmates and their wives is fun and the time we all spend together over the several days seeing the sites and swapping stories is awesome.
  If you ever asked yourself the same questions I asked myself and have not attended a reunion, I would like to encourage you to come and join your Shipmates.  We have a awesome group of Association Officers and Reunion organizers who put a lot of hard work and hours to ensure that we keep our memories of the Great Sitkin alive with renewing old friendships and gaining new ones.

last updated on 02/01/10