USS Great Sitkin (AE-17)
3rd Issue, 18th Year                                                                                                                                                   1 May 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:   To all of our shipmates, I have an announcement to make….  I am going to retire as President at the Annual Business Meeting this year.  
    With that said,  I want to make one thing very clear, I am not mad at anyone nor has anything caused me to walk away from the Association.  This is something I have given much thought to this past year.  After 10 years as President and almost 6 months of helping Glenn before that by keeping the web site running, it is time I step down. It is time for some new blood at the helm.
  My mind is made up on this, so please no attempts at trying to change it, the rest of the Executive Board has already tried.
  For the somewhat selfish part, I would also like to start enjoying the reunions a little more myself.  I always have a good time
, of that there is no doubt, but I am also working at everyone one of these in some manner or another.  Sally and I will continue to attend the reunions and hope to have more time to relax and talk with everyone. 

New Finds:  Five new finds to report this time:  Jesse Kellum, MM3, ‘67;  Charles Kinney, CS2, ‘68;  Richard Wild, BT3, ‘64;  George Roy Jr. MMFN, ’59 and Donald Dietrich, RM2, ‘57.  Welcome back aboard shipmates!

Web Site:  
No updates to report this time.

     Ron Zimmerman

A word from the Vice-President:  Time is flying by fast and it’s getting closer to another reunion, not that I’m in a hurry to go to another reunion I just want to enjoy the summer first. This past winter saw snow higher than the top of the snow blower which is 24”. I know you guys on the coast think that’s nothing, well when your 5’ 5” tall it makes it hard to get around in. Joy is 5’1” and I lost her in the last snow! Had to shovel for hours to find her! Not really but its fun to think so.
  Well as most of you know there was a mailing to remind those of you who were behind in your dues. The most comments I received were that ”I paid them at the reunion” .  Yes you did pay them at the reunion but as I say every time “Look at the date on your card” when most of you paid at the reunion you were paying for a year that was 3 months from being over. Therefore if you sent me another $20 that paid you up for 2010 and when you get to the reunion you can pay for 2011 and be ahead of the game. I’d like to thank all of you who have responded to the letter. As of this time I have 162 paid members which is GREAT!
  On the down side of this mailing so far I have had 3 letters returned with no forwarding addresses, so if your planning to move don’t forget to let us know so you don’t have to go to the web site to read the newsletter. The other sad point is that we have added 8 or 9 more names to the Honor Roll.
  Ok that wraps it up for me, don’t forget Doug has the bank open and you can register at the hotel. And yes I’m still working on Chattanooga.
Jim Dunno
     Vice-President &  Membership Chairman

Secretary’s Report: Hello shipmates!  In reading the President's article you know that he is retiring this year.  The executive officers tried to convince him to stay on, but he has made his decision.  With all that he does for the Association, his shoes will be hard to fill.  He has stated that he would help the new President in all aspects for the next year and he has told me that he will continue to help in putting together our newsletter.  This means a lot to me and I appreciate his friendship and his dedication to the USS Great Sitkin (AE-17) Association .
  We have not received any nominations for the executive office positions.  As a result there are no names to be published with this newsletter.  However, as in the past, nominations will still be opened until we have our business meeting at the reunion in September.  The rules that pertain to nominations will still be adhered to. 
  The last weekend of April my family all met in Asheville, NC (President Obama followed us there).  We had contacted one of my best friends aboard the Great Sitkin, Bob Leonard who lives in SC, to ask if he could get together with us.  Until the Association 's reunion 5 years ago in Charleston SC, Bob and I had not seen each other for 45 years.  Bob told me he was having dialysis Friday morning and after that he and his wife, Marie, would drive to Asheville.  Shipmates, I've got to tell you, as fantastic as it is to have quality time with my grown children, it was a huge bonus to have a couple of days with a great friend from my Navy days.
  I do not know how else to explain how much I appreciate being part of this Association, but to encourage you to attend the reunions and then you will also realize how great all the other members and their wives are to be with. 
  If you are changing your address, please let us know.  We received 7 newsletters back with no forwarding address, so we have to pay the post office for the returned mail and even worse these shipmates become lost members.
      Jack Norton

Repair 3:  Here it is, May 1st already.  This issue, I’m taking a little break out of the repair locker, I’m sitting up here on the fantail, looking out over New York Harbor. Got a great view, because I start this story on May 1st, 1970. The Great Sitkin is at Todd Naval Shipyards, Brooklyn, NY, in a floating drydock. I’m feeling pretty good, because today, I sewed on my third class “crow.” DC3, 40 years ago today. Maybe you’re wondering, how can I remember that? Besides the fact a good Sailor should always remember the day he makes 3rd, I have it written down. But I do still remember a lot about my days on the Great Sitkin, and the past few months have brought to light, yet again, how much that time helped shaped who I am today. I guess this sounds like a rehash of past newsletter stories, deal with it.  As your association treasurer, every dues check, and every ships store check passes through my hands on the way to the bank.  And I continue to be impressed at the dedication of our active membership in supporting the association. Guys who haven’t sailed the ship in over 50 years still maintaining a dedication to the good of the ship.
   I had the occasion today to talk to a friend who served on the USS Mt Katmai (AE-16) in the 1950’s.  If you remember your ships history, the Katmai was also a Wrangell class ammo ship like us.  As we talked about the joys of serving in this type of ship, I mentioned that it was what we do every year at our reunions, knowing full well his response. “The Great Sh_ _tcan has a reunion association?  Never heard of a service force ship with a reunion group.” Has anyone ever heard that?  Most people think major combatants, ships that have been to war, they are the ones who get together to swap memories. We do it every year. This year, when I made my tri-annual dues payment, I got my membership card, and a “Thank You” card, from VP Jim Dunno. Little picture of the ship, hand written “Thanks George” in it. Shipmates, fellow Sailors, we have a good thing going here. Know that.
   And, like it had happened 3 times during my time on the Great Sitkin, our association is about to have a change of command. By now, you’ve read that our President, Ron Zimmerman, is retiring after 10 years at the helm.  Many of you are probably thinking, like I did when he first told me, “Oh no, what now? Who will run this thing?” Or maybe you’re thinking, “Finally!” Well, whatever your feelings, know this. The change of command will be seamless, like a good US Navy change of command should be. We will elect a new president at the reunion this year, the gavel will be passed, and the Great Sitkin Association will continue on. Some year, hopefully in the distant future, those of us who last sailed the ship will close the association down, hopefully by then our memorabilia will have found a suitable home, and the memory of the Great Sitkin will be preserved in some fashion. But for now, let’s keep on with business as usual. Let’s be “Always Ready.” See you in Illinois!
          George Kaiser

The Chaplain’s Corner:   Good Day” to all of you. Well it certainly has been a long winter and I am glad it is over. Spring is here and everything is getting green and flowers are starting to bloom.
    It makes me think of Easter and what that really means to us. Christ dying on the cross and the great sacrifice he made for us. The Easter Sunday morning they found the empty tomb. That not only meant Christ was alive but that we have eternal life because “He Lives”.
    As some of you may know Patsy lost her mother on Feb 7th and then her brother on March 28th. He was only 53 years old. It has been hard on our family. Patsy and I would like to thank you for your prayers and cards. They have meant a lot.
    Time is moving on and it won’t be long we will be meeting in Chicago where many of us started our journey in the Navy “many a year ago”. Hope to see you there.
    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: Carl Gill Jr, F1c, ‘45;  Edward Maguire, SN, ‘57;  Gary Cowfer, MR2, ‘71;  Donald Riggenbach, DK2, ‘70;  Richard Wimer, BM2, ‘61;  James Andorka, SN, ‘56;  Edmund Jaskolski, F1c, ‘45;  Norman Pichler, Cox, ‘45;  Thomas Smokovich, SN, ’71;  Sanford Gross, LT, ’51 and Sterling Jants, S1c, ‘45.

Mark Rucker

USS Great Sitkin AE-17 Reunion 2010:   Time is drawing near for our September 15-19 reunion and for you to think about making your hotel reservations and send me your registration and money.  Everything has been put into place for us to have a great reunion and now I just need you to let me know your attending.  Some of our members have sent in their reunion registration and payment, so they are ready to have a great time with old friends and shipmates.  Don’t put off making hotel reservation since you will have 24 hours to cancel.
  We are really looking forward to seeing y’all in Chicago this September.
              Doug and Kathy Hauser
              Reunion Hosts

Pet Peeve Department:
  Ever hear the phrase, “Once a Marine, always a Marine!”  Whenever a Marine is mentioned in a news story, it’s always a capital “M”
  Did you know that over 20 years ago, the Navy designated that Sailor should be written with a capital “S” to give proper credit to the profession? Sailor, small “s”, is just someone who goes to sea. So, from this point on, be a Sailor.
“Once a Sailor, always a Sailor.”

last updated on 05/01/10