USS Great Sitkin (AE-17)
3rd Issue, 17th Year                                                                                                                                                   1 May, 2009

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:  Only a little over 4 months until it will be time for our Annual Reunion.  In this edition you will find the itinerary and 2009 Reunion Registration form.  Please get yours in the mail to Jack and Pat as soon as you can.  Also I would suggest that you not procrastinate and make your hotel reservations early as well.  While the hotel will try to accommodate everyone, they can not guarantee rooms beyond what we have blocked as it gets closer to August.   At this time IF we fill our blocked rooms early, we can get more.  IF you have already made hotel reservations, please e-mail me and let me know.  If you could include your confirmation number, that would be great as it helps us track room counts.  Thanks!

New Finds:   James Connallon Jr., MM2, ‘60 and Ronald Doctorman, PN3, ‘63. Welcome back aboard shipmate.

Found now LOST! : Mailings of our last newsletter were returned as “Bad Address” for the following shipmates:  Mark Battel and John Evers ( the ‘47 crew Evers).  If anyone knows where these shipmates are, please let us know.

Web Site:   Have a couple of new pictures of shipmates added this update - 1 from the ‘40s; 2 from the 60’s and 1 from the ‘70s.  Also a couple of new pictures from the ‘68 WestPac cruise.  I am also still working on converting a bunch of slides that John Whitford provided of the cruises in ‘71 and ‘72.  There will also be some shipmate pictures that will come from that treasure trove as soon as he can ID them for me. 
      Ron Zimmerman

A word from the Vice-President:    It’s that time again and here I sit wondering what kind of stuff I am going to write about in this edition of the newsletter. I could go on and tell you that the membership now stands at 130 paid members, which is up from the 107 we had at the time of the last newsletter. I can even mention that all of you guys who have paid your dues and those of you who are going to send them in soon, that your support is greatly appreciated! But I’m not going to do that. Oops! Sorry seems like I just did!
   The next item on the agenda is membership pins for consecutive years in a row for paying Dues. (How did I get back on this subject?) After having George, Ron, and even Doug Hauser fumble through their past records we found out where we had ordered the pins from in the past which was back in 2004 and I have the new pins on order. In conclusion all you Gents who have 10 and 15 year pins coming will get them a few days after I receive them.
   Third item to bring up is, if all of you would fill out the membership forms completely it would help to keep track of you. Any change of address, phone and e-mail address help us to send out your newsletters and every now and then an All- Hands Email. I will send this info to Ron/ Jack as I get it. Yes Doug even if you have 2- email addresses I will take them.
   Well seems I must end this here and decide which direction I need to run in. Spring has sprung, the flower beds need attended to and the grandkids have started Soccer; and of course they are all going in different directions! This wraps things up until the next issue when it will be about time for the reunion.

    Jim Dunno
    Vice-President &  Membership Chairman

Secretary’s Report:   Hello Shipmates!  Well, we did not receive any new nominations for the Executive office positions.  So there will be no names published with this newsletter.  However, nominations will still be opened until we have our business meeting at our reunion in September.  The rules that pertain to nomination will still be adhered to.
    From the last newsletter we only received back about eight with incorrect addresses.  We have to pay a penalty for these returns, so if your address is changing before our next mailing in August please let us know your correct address.  Thanks to the shipmates who have called us or sent e-mails about address changes it is appreciated.

      Jack Norton

The Chaplain’s Corner:   “Good Day to all of you”. Spring has finally arrived. This is a beautiful time of the year. The birds are returning to their summer homes bringing with them their songs. The flowers are starting to bloom with all their splendid colors. Trees are starting to green up. It’s so wonderful to see new Life emerging all around us after a long cold winter.  And of course we think about Easter and the new life and hope we have in God’s son. What a wonderful gift he has given us.
    I want to share something I read the other day about attitude. 
 “John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, If, I were any better, I would be twins!  He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there, telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.  Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, I don't get it!  You can't be a positive person all of the time.  How do you do it?”  He replied, each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today.  You can choose to be in a good mood can choose to be in a bad mood, I choose to be in a good mood.  Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it.  I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or...I can point out the positive side of life.  I choose the positive side of life. Yeah, right, it's not that easy, I protested. Yes, it is, he said. Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.  You choose how you react to situations.  You choose how people affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood.  The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.”
    When you choose to have good attitude and be in a good mode it will not only make you feel better but also those around will be affected. Try it. The only thing you have to lose is a bad attitude.

Honor Roll Update: Lets 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.
Robert Pritchard, BM1, ‘57;   Nolan Saalman, S1c, Plank Owner and  Sigmund Racki,  BM3, ‘52.

Honor Roll Update:
    Mark Rucker

2009 Reunion update:   Once again thanks to Ron for staying on top of the Reunion.  I had more surgery in March (which was not planned) but I am really doing good now and trying to help Ron as much as I can.  With having to miss Cincinnati last year, we are REALLY looking forward to seeing all the friends we have made at the past reunions.  For those of you in the North East who have been waiting for it to come back to your area, here is your chance!  We are counting on your support and future membership.
     The Reunion is completely under contract and firm. This Reunion promises to be a fantastic time and hopefully a
pleasant and memorable experience. From the Wine and Cheese opening cocktail party and meeting old friends to our tour in Boston in trolleys and all the different sights including our Memorial Service on the USS Constitution and the rest of our Boston visit; to our trip to Fall River and the Battleship Massachusetts and other ships; to the Concrete Beach Picnic at the hotel; to Saturday’s optional tour of the Kennedy Library and some side attractions; to the annual Dinner Banquet (dinner and dancing) and finally to our Farewell Breakfast on Sunday morning it will be fun and a great chance to visit with old ( and new) friends.  
    Also, something
NEW we are going to try this year is a DVD of pictures from the web site IF Ron can make it work.  There will be pictures from ALL the past Reunions, pictures of shipmates, the ship, ships we rearmed and of course places we visited.  However, we will need the assistance from someone who will be driving to the Reunion (arriving on Wednesday) and has a TV & DVD player they can loan the use of.  We will be using it in the Hospitality Room and it will be playing anytime we are gathered there.  If you are interested in helping, give me a call.
The long awaited Reunion Registration form is in this newsletter.  Don’t set it aside, take it out, fill it in and mail it to us today!  Once again, please Northeastern Shipmates (and anyone else who has never attended), whether you are an Active Member or not, join us and your shipmates and help support this Reunion.  We know that once you attend one of our reunions you will keep coming back and will stay active in the Association.
    Jack & Pat Norton
    Reunion Hosts

Repair 3:  Well shipmates, here we are, time for another newsletter. As President Ron is at me again to come up with something from Repair 3, I will again attempt to convey some musings of an old Sailor. Wow, that sounds tough, doesn’t it? Well you try coming up with a story line that hasn’t been told 10 times already. Please!
   With all of the Somalia pirates in the news these days, has anyone thought back to the “repel boarders” drill we used to conduct on the Great Sitkin? Maybe some of our US flagged ships need a little of that these days. All kidding aside, a big USN “Bravo Zulu” has to go out to our SEALS that took those 3 pirates out of the gene pool and saved the captain of the Maresk Alabama. Pretty cool stuff.
  I should remark, again, about how impressive it is seeing all the support we get from our dues paying shipmates. It just amazes me, even in the current economic climate, that you guys continue to support the organization. The few other Navy group’s I have contact with are continuously amazed at what we do, especially having been a service squadron ship. There are major warships that don’t even come close to the fraternity we keep alive here. Keep it up!
  Speaking of memorabilia, you all should be making some of your own to pass down to your kids and grandkids. With the ability to “acquire” your own from the Great Sitkin being long gone, the next best way is to buy some repro items from our Ships Store. Mugs, pins, hats, shirts, patches, port holes, 2 anchors, the LP turbine, all of it is sitting in my garage, waiting for someone to give them a good home. Well, ok maybe a few things in that list are a stretch, but why not send me an email to see what I do have?
   And that’s it for this edition from Repair 3. One more edition before our reunion in Boston. Oh, speaking of Boston, are your reservations in yet? This trip promises to be one for the record books, and we might even see a few ships!

        George Kaiser

Shipmate looking for help:  Shipmates, I was injured while onboard the Sitkin and was operated on at St. Albans Naval Hospital in late 1966 after our return.  I need some help from shipmates who were aboard during the time the incident occurred.   We were underway and had pre-staged ammo on deck for an early morning re-arming. The ship took a bad roll and all the bombs, ammo and fork trucks were flying all over the place.  I tried to stop the batteries in the fork trucks from starting a fire and also tried to stop some of the bombs from rolling. If anyone out there remembers that night it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!  EM2 Mickey Doyle, '65 - '67.
(Editor's note:  If anyone can help our shipmate, please contact me.  I'll pass the information and/or your contact information along to Mickey).

$250 Recovery Payments to Go to Social Security and SSI Beneficiaries in May (Thursday, March 26, 2009)
(Editor's note:  The article below was copied in entirety from the government website, and is provided here strictly as a source of information.  Any questions you may have about your entitlement should be directed to the appropriate government agency).
    Vice President Joe Biden and Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced today that the federal government will send out $250 economic recovery payments to people who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits beginning in early May 2009 and continuing throughout the month. Payments will inject more than $13 Billion into Economy.
    "The Social Security Administration and Commissioner Astrue have been working closely with other federal agencies to get these payments out the door in record time and into the hands of folks who need it most," said Vice President Biden. "These are checks that will make a big difference in the lives of older Americans and people with disabilities - many of whom have been hit especially hard by the economic crisis that has swept across the country."
    "We have been working diligently to issue the $250 one-time recovery payments as soon as possible," Commissioner Astrue said. "The legislation requires extensive coordination with other federal agencies and I'm pleased we are on track to issue these recovery payments earlier than the statute requires. Soon more than $13 billion will be in the hands of more than 50 million Americans."
    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides for a one-time payment of $250 to adult Social Security beneficiaries, and to SSI recipients, except those receiving Medicaid in care facilities. To receive the payment the individual must be eligible for Social Security or SSI during the months of November 2008, December 2008 or January 2009.
    The legislation also provides for a one-time payment to Veterans Affairs (VA) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries. The VA and RRB will be responsible for paying individuals under their respective programs. However, if someone receives Social Security and SSI, VA or RRB benefits, he or she will receive only one $250 payment. People getting Social Security or SSI should not contact the agency unless a payment is not received by June 4, 2009.
    For more detailed information about the $250 one-time recovery payments, go to: 
(Editor's note: It is our understanding that if you are entitled to the VA payment and ARE NOT entitled to a payment under Social Security, then those funds will show up in your June 2009 VA check.  You do not have to file for the payment.)

Support the Troops:  I received the following e-mail from shipmate Tom Dever, SA, ‘56…
    Sorry, I have not contacted you sooner.  My oldest son Thomas is in the Marine Corp. and has been for 18 years. He is now a Warrant Officer 2 . He has been to Iraq a few times.  The last time he came back on the USS BONHOMME RICHARD [LHD 6], in 2007, I was invited along  with  many  others  to join the ship in Hawaii and participate in a Tiger Cruise.  We were on board the ship for 9 days, traveling from Pearl Harbor to San Diego [the Marines and their guests left  the ship at Camp Pendleton by landing craft].  While on board we participated in quite a bit of the life of the ship and had many opportunities to experience new and exciting things to do and see.  It was quite an experience.
       Tom Dever

last updated on 05/01/09