USS Great Sitkin (AE-17)
1st Issue, 18th Year                                                                                                                                                   1 November, 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:    Another successful Ship’s Reunion is in the books!  We had a great time in Boston seeing the sites and visiting with shipmates.  This year we had 10 shipmates attending their 1st reunion, and 2 that have not been to one in quite some time, Vinny Albanese and Bob Veit.  1st timers were: A.J. Antone, ‘51;  Kenneth Carlson, ‘63;  James Connallon, ‘60;  Paul Dellorco, ‘67;  Robert Donahue, ‘64;  Ed Hart, ‘68;  Keith Morgan, ‘51;  Curt Pew, ‘71;  Bill Swiecicki, ‘71;  William Yuengling, ‘63.  Welcome to the 1st timers and welcome back to those who have not attended for a while!  We are glad you were able to join us and we hope to see you at future reunions!
    I would like to take this time to thank shipmate Vinny Albanese for stepping up to the plate and assisting with the Chaplain duties.  Our Chaplain Mark Rucker had a family emergency just prior to the reunion and had to cancel.  Thanks for volunteering Vinny!  It was very much appreciated.  Also a big
THANK  YOU to John and Sharon Whitford for donating the lanyards for the name tags.
    Hats off to the Sheraton Hotel in Braintree for the terrific service and support they provided the group.  There always seems to be a couple of hiccups putting these events on, no matter how well they are planned, the hotel handled them quickly and professionally.
    I must say though that I was a little disappointed with the light turn-out,
especially after so many of you who have not been attending reunions in a long time were whining and complaining about where the reunions were being held and touting that you would attend if we brought one back to the North Eastern states.  WELL, WHERE  WERE YOU?  This was your chance!  Some of you didn’t even bother to contact us and say Thanks, but I can’t attend this year.  To those of you who did contact us - Thank You We know you appreciated the effort we made and we understand why you were unable to attend and that you were with us in spirit.  We hope your situation changes and you will be able to join us in Chicago next year.

New Finds:   Harold Ward, CS1, ‘56;  Dennis Jay, YN2, ‘55;  John Ashe, S2c, ‘46 and John Glenn, SN, ‘60. Welcome back aboard shipmates. 

Web Site:  A lot of new pictures added this time.    I finally got through the pictures John Whitford sent us of the early 70’s cruises.  We added about 130 to the Cruise Book.  Also, thanks to Mike and Dorothy Hodnichak  for all the pictures she sent in for the reunion.  I don’t have an exact count yet, but it is probably close to 200.  Plus we have several more pictures from the reunion provided by John & Betsy Kelly, Jack and Pat and a few Sally took that I have not had time to process yet.  They will be added by the next newsletter is out in February.
      Ron Zimmerman

A word from the Vice-President:   Well there you have it, another successful reunion thanks to the work of Ron and Jack. I hope everyone who attended had a good time and got to see everything they wanted to see in Boston. It was great to meet some of the new attendees from the 70’s this year, I know George was surprised even after looking at the list of shipmates who were going to attend several times, Thanks Ron and Jack! Now it’s your turn to step up to the plate Doug and being the veteran reunion planner that you are, I know we all can expect another great reunion in Chicago. I think Joy and I will drive next year as that puddle jumper of an airplane we traveled on had seats made of concrete!
    Ok now it’s time for the usual entry in my note, 2010 is about to start and as of this time we have 80 members who have paid their dues. So don’t be bashful and take a few minutes to fill out the membership form and send me 20 bucks, and if any of you would like to your always welcome to send in an article for the newsletter.
    I would like to thank you guys for the vote on selecting Chattanooga for the 2011 reunion, I also noticed that I was the only one to submit a location. Anybody who is thinking about hosting a reunion but feel they would be lost just has to ask and anyone of us who has held one would be glad to give you some help. Lots of convention and visitor bureaus can offer more help than you can imagine. 
    My plans are to visit Chattanooga the end of this month and get the ball rolling, there is plenty to do there, so Joy and I are going to take a mini vacation and see the sights. Who knows maybe we will have some more surprises for George.
    Well that wraps it up for me I have to go find my winter coat and go cut the grass, this shouldn’t bother me after all I do live in Ohio.
   Jim Dunno
    Vice-President &  Membership Chairman

Secretary’s Report:  Hello Shipmates!  I would like to thank all the members who again voted for the existing board of officers.  Your confidence in us continues to be fantastic support.  We did not receive any nominations in the mail or at the business meeting in Boston, hopefully because all members are satisfied.
    As a reminder, if you are going to have even a temporary change in your address for our early February mailing, please let us know so you receive your newsletter, we don't have to pay for returned mail and you don't become one of our lost shipmates.
    Also, if you have a story of interest about your time aboard the Great Sitkin, please forward it to one of the officers and we will try to get it into the newsletter when space allows.  Hopefully, you are checking in on our website.  Ron is doing such a super job generating all of this information and pictures of shipmates while we were on board and in fact what the shipmates look like today, if they attend a reunion.
    In closing, Pat and I want to thank you all for
your good wishes, cards and prayers that all goes well with my health concerns.
      Jack Norton

Repair 3:   Well, after 9 year as an Executive Officer of the Great Sitkin Association, and the ensuing responsibilities of writing pieces for the newsletter, it occurred to me that memories and stories from my 18 months on the ship are getting fewer, and that most of my stories about the ship these days come from the 9 times now I’ve traveled to various venues around the country to meet with fellow veterans of the Great Sitkin. My vacation time, and my plans to get away from the homestead now revolve around wherever the association is meeting that year. And this year was no different, So, I’d ask you to spare me now a few lines to reflect on this years gathering in Boston. 
   Typical reunion. Nice hotel, large spacious hospitality room. My pick up is full of ships store merchandise, Great Sitkin memorabilia, and a small space for our belongings. Good trips planned to area attractions, this year we even got to visit several Navy ships. And as always, the prospect of seeing old friends, good friends we’ve come to know and love over the years. There, Georges reunion update, short and sweet! 
   But, as you know, we met in Boston. For 35 years, I’ve wondered where my R Division shipmates were, how they were doing. I had some small contacts, a note here, a phone call there, nothing substantial. But one thing about R Division and Boston. I knew that a lot of my guys lived right in the area, like right there by the hotel, almost anyhow. But with this years guest list, geez., not one of them registered for this reunion. What was up with that? I did get a call from David Obershimer, our division officer for a time, saying he was going to make it there for a brief visit. Ok, this is good. Still hoping for some of the enlisted crew, but all signs showed no go for that.  But, unknown to me, other members of the “E Board” were planning a big surprise. Wednesday night at the welcome social, who showed up but SF2 Ed Hart and SF2 Paul Dellorco, 2 of the 1970 -71 R Division “Wrecking Crew.”  It was like one of those Visa commercials; Travel to reunion = $200, hotel reservations = $450,  Reunion Package for 2 = $324, seeing 2 buddies for the first time in 36 years….PRICELESS!  And that is my reunion message for Fall 2009.  
    If you’re getting this newsletter, that means you’ve paid your dues. And if you think enough of your years on the Great Sitkin to support the Association, then you should want to see your old shipmates too. I might be one of them, or maybe I’m just your shipmate because we sailed the same ship, just different years. Maybe you had Repair 3 as your general quarters assignment, maybe you had a rack in after berthing, starboard side. Whatever the case, if you don’t make it to a reunion, you’re depriving me and yourself of some great times, and that’s a shame. In closing, Paul and Ed, thanks for being there this year. Lets make it times 2 in Chicago in 2010.
        George Kaiser

Post Reunion Report—2009:  Well, the reunion in Boston is now just another great memory and is part of the USS Great Sitkin history book.  It has been a little more than 2 years from the time the members voted for the reunion to be in Boston   During  that time we had numerous newsletter, mass e-mail and web site updates, now,  it is time for the final report. for the 2009 Boston Reunion.  Pat and I are thankful we were able to attend this time even though my voice is still not back. 
   Ron and Sally along with Pat and I wish to thank all who attended.  Even though we had almost 2 days of rain, all said it was a great time.  No matter where we have our reunion it is so fantastic seeing old (and new) friends again.  We had so many talking about how great it was seeing these shipmates again after 30 or more years.  Even myself, seeing CS1 Harold Ward after 50 years.  God bless him, he is now in his mid 80's and he came alone by train from NH into Boston and then he had to take the subway and a bus to get to our reunion.  I know he enjoyed being able to talk about his days aboard the Sitkin as much as we enjoyed listening.  George Kaiser had a good surprise when some of his old shipmates showed up.  Also wish to thank the new members that joined us from the Boston area.
    A very special thanks to Dorothy Hodnichak for taking all the great pictures for this reunion.  They came out fantastic.  She is also sending each attendee the pictures she took of them and a full set for the 2009 reunion photo album.  Also to  Ron and Sally Zimmerman who were such a great help while I was unable to do much.  They were really the glue that kept everything together on the planning and contracts. 
  We are now turning the next reunion, in Chicago, over to the very qualified team of Doug and Kathy Hauser.
Jack and Pat Norton
     2009 Reunion Hosts 

2010 Reunion Update:    As you know the USS Great Sitkin AE-17 Association Reunion for 2010 will be held in Naperville, Il.  Dates that have been selected are September 15th through the 19th.  The host hotel will be the Holiday Inn Select Naperville with a standard room rate of  $92.00 a night or a King Suite for $112.00 a night (taxes not included).  All rooms are double occupancy and these rates Include a full hot breakfast buffet.  Reservations can be made by calling (630)505-4900.  Let them Know it for the USS Great Sitkin Association Reunion 2010 Sept. 15th to 19th.   You can call for reservations now, make them early.
    We pretty well have the details finished up for our itinerary with Sept 15, 2010  Main Registration Day.  The hotel will have a Wine Welcome Reception for us that evening.  The Reunion Package includes Chicago Tour and river cruise on Sept 16th along with a picnic Dinner @ 6:00 PM that includes entertainment. 
    On Friday, Sept 17th, we will board a bus for Great Lakes Naval Training Station where we will attend a Recruit Graduation followed by a tour the base and lunch at the Port O Call Restaurant.  The Memorial Service will be held in the base Chapel. 
    Saturday, Sept 18, will be a optional tour in the morning (to be confirmed soon) with the Annual Business Meeting at 3:30 PM.  Our Annual Dinner Banquet will commence at 6:00 PM with a cash bar Cocktail Hour.  We will have a photographer there to take pictures of the couples, so please make sure you stop there before dinner.  A plated dinner will be served at 7:00 PM with a band for your dancing and listening    pleasure afterwards.
    Sunday morning, Sept 19th, from 6:00 to 10:00 AM, we will have our Farewell Breakfast.  There will be lots of good food and plenty of time to say our "Good Byes" until the next year.
    More updates will be posted in the February Newsletter and web site update.  Be sure to check them out.  Hope to see you all there!
Doug & Kathy Hauser
     2010 Reunion Hosts

Correspondence from Shipmates: 
  Dear Ron, Jim, Jack & George.  I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the reunion.  You all did a great job.    I learned more about Boston in four or five hours than I have in the last 60 years living 25 miles south of Boston.   Jack your wife Pat did a great job filling in for you.  She was wonderful.  Hope to see you all in 2010.
A.J. Antoine Jr.

10 February 1954
  The ship changed course south and then southwest in order to keep the swells from the storm on our starboard bow.  From 0500 o0n the 4th to 0800 on the 11th the ship was taken 170 miles south of it’s course and about 300 miles further west than our anticipated 110800 posit by DR ( Dead Reckoning).  Winds were recorded up to 50 knots and was so strong that the anemometer blew away.  Swells were between 25 and 30 feet, sea was 15 to 20 feet.  One roll of 53 degrees was recorded officially in the ship’s log.  The course change took us out of the dangerous semicircle of the storm and the storm finally passed to the north of us.  At the time the storm passed, it’s radius was 1200 miles, winds of 70 MPH and more were recorded near it’s center.
(Ed note:  Unfortunately, this sea story was not signed, and I really don’t remember who gave it to us at the reunion.  Would the author of this story please contact the E-board so we can give proper credit? )


last updated on 11/01/09