Ron Zimmerman Sr.
474 SW Prater Ave.
Port St. Lucie, FL 34953
272 Stone Hedge Row
Johnstown, OH 43031
2386 SE Patio Circle
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
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
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
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
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,
after so many of you who
been attending reunions in a long time were whining and
complaining about where the reunions were being held and
touting that you would attend
we brought one back to the North Eastern states.
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 -
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
good wishes, cards and prayers that all goes well with my
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
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.
Post Reunion Report—2009:
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
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:
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
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:
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.
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? )