USS Great Sitkin (AE-17)
1st Issue, 21st Year                                                                                                                                                   1 November 2012

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

Jim Perko
PO Box 675
Barnegat Light, NJ
George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036

Mark Rucker
241 Larchmont Ave.
Springfield, OH  45503

Editor  (Non-officer)
Dorothy Hodnichak
25850 Lake Shore Blvd.
Euclid, OH  44132-1107
(216) 731-5289



From Our President:  The 2012 Reunion is now in the books and another year is close to being over.  While we had a great time in Baltimore, I must say I was more than a little disappointed in the turnout since the reunion was in the Northeastern part of the States.  Where were all you shipmates that said, “I don’t like to travel much, but if the reunion is in the Northeast, I’ll be there!”……………..
In other news, our Secretary, Joe Savadge, had to step down from his position for personal reasons.  His health is fine, however, with work and a couple of personal projects he has going on, he didn’t feel he had the time to dedicate to the position without leaving us in the lurch.  I want to personally thank Joe for “stepping up to the plate” and taking over the position when we needed him.  Joe!  You did a great job as Secretary.  THANK YOU!!!
    With that said, I’d like to welcome shipmate, Jim Perko, to the Executive Board as our new Secretary and our Honorary Member, Dorothy Hodnichak, as our Newsletter Editor.  Thank you both for stepping up to help the Association!

New Finds:  None to report.  If anyone has recently found an old shipmate that is not on our current “Found Crew” list, please have them contact me.  I’d love to add their name!

Web Site:    I’ve been promising a couple of you that I’d get the pictures you sent posted.  By the time you get this newsletter, that should have been accomplished.  If you don’t see them, then send me an E-mail.  I might have missed them in the stack of pictures I already have. 

     Ron Zimmerman

A word from the Vice-President:   Well, with another reunion under our belt, I hope everyone had a great time in Baltimore!!
      Thanks again to Ron Zimmerman and George Kaiser for all the work they did in putting together our 20th reunion!  As we look forward to 2013 in Mobile, Alabama, I know Doug Hauser will do his usual GREAT JOB hosting it!  A special THANKS to those of you who stepped up to hold the next two reunions!  Once the rest of you see how easy it is with the help of the local Convention Bureaus and those who have held reunions, I hope more of you will “get on board” so to speak.  Joy and I had a lot of fun in planning the Cincinnati and Chattanooga reunions.  There is also a great deal of satisfaction to be had when you see everyone having a great time.   
      I’m looking forward to working with our new Secretary, Jim Perko.  Thanks for volunteering, Jim!  I know you will do a great job!  Word has come via E-mail from our new Editor of the newsletter, Dorothy Hodnichak, to “get busy writing your reports!”  Congratulations on your position!
      As you all know, after each reunion comes time to renew your membership.  I will be happy to start receiving your dues for 2013.  We have 63 paid members for 2013 or beyond.  Get your membership cards out and check the date; and that means, you, Mr. President!  Don’t know what made me do that, but any chance to poke fun at Ron is always a pleasure!
      Retirement is great and it’s getting close to lunch.  I promised to take Joy out for something healthy.  Hmm!  Subway sounds good!

     Jim Dunno
     Vice-President &  Membership Chairman

The Chaplain’s Corner:   “Good Day” to all of you!  Another reunion has come and gone.  We had a great time in Baltimore!  I thought our location was perfect.  It was close to the harbor with wonderful restaurants and sites.  Good job, Ron and George!!
      I was a little concerned this year regarding the business meeting.  Losing our Secretary, Joe, was a little troublesome.  Our President had some straight forward comments for us at the business meeting, but I think those comments were needed. 
      Thanks, Jim Perko, for stepping up and helping the Association! It made Ron feel a lot better.  Thank you, Dorothy, for volunteering to assist on the newsletter.  I feel you both will do an excellent job.  I remember in my prayer at the beginning of the business meeting, I asked the Good Lord to help us have a good spirit in the meeting and we did.  All who spoke were considerate and respectful of one another. 
Proverbs 16:20 says, “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good:  and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy [is] he.
      Time to say:  “See ya later.”  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:  Elmer Dudash, CS3, '51;  Hugh Nuremberg, GM2, '51;  Charles Thistle, EMCS, '65

       Mark Rucker

Secretary’s Report:
  Thank you” to all the Association members for electing me as  Secretary!  At this time, I am still learning  the duties and responsibilities of the Office of Secretary of the USS Great Sitkin Association.  It is our goal this year to increase active membership participation in our Association.  With that in mind, we ask each paid-up member to reach out to one more crew member with our theme being: “EACH ONE — REACH ONE.”  More active membership is the only way that the Association can continue to survive in the future.  I look forward to working with all of you to achieve this goal.

      Jim Perko

Repair 3:  I should be joining the rest of the editorial staff in rehashing details of our reunion in Baltimore.    OK!  Maybe eventually, but as I was thinking about what to say regarding Baltimore, the thought process led me into remembering what got me to the reunion in the first place.  The answer will involve taking a trip in the “Back to the Future Machine.”
      Take a minute to think about why you joined the Navy.  Patriotic fervor?  Family tradition?  Avoid the draft?  A desire to sail the seas and visit exotic ports?  All of the above?  Maybe, none of the above.  Me?  My family led me into bell bottoms.  My dad and three uncles were Sailors.  My grandfather worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  In the late 50’s, when it was okay for boys to “play war” in the local school yard, wearing their dad’s old WWII gear, I was right out there in my dad’s blue jumper, wearing a Dixie cap.  While other kids were carrying rifles, I had a Daisy air rifle that was blue and had an anchor on the stock.  One of my uncles was a career Sailor.  I was a teenager during the time he was stationed on the USS Snowden, a WWII era DE at the navy yard.  My cousin and I spent many weekends on the Snowden with Uncle Charles, Chief.  We stayed in the CPO mess. 
      By the time I was in high school, it was pretty well set I was going to join the Navy, hopefully, to be an Engineman.  In 1968, an Engineman was almost assured of going to Vietnam in the brown water Navy.  My Mom and Uncle Charles conspired to get me into Damage Controlman “A” School and from there, a “cushy” assignment on a ship in Bayonne, NJ.  Uncle Charles had a lot of clout in those days!  By now, I hope it’s clear that this story explains why my wife and I were in Baltimore the first week of September. 
      I spent 18 months on the USS Great Sitkin.  I’ve always considered that my “college experience.”  I learned things I still use in my job and in life.  I met friends, my wife, Mary, all things that prepared me for the next 41 years.  This brings us right up to September 2012.
      Eleven years of reunions.  Eleven years of meeting once a year with my “teachers” as well as others who sailed on the same school in earlier years.  The venues?  They are okay.  This year we visited Washington DC, including the Navy Memorial.  The USS Great Sitkin is memorialized for all time on the “wall of ships.”  We had lots of fun in Baltimore Harbor, great food, and all the venues that make a trip like this fun and memorable. 
      We had a little crisis of confidence with  the Executive Board, but that was quickly put to rest during the business meeting.  Without reservation, I need to say that the best part of this or any Great Sitkin Reunion is the members, the shipmates, the crew.  This year was especially cool because there were two members of the “Wrecking Crew,” AKA circa:  1971 R Division, who were there.  That was really sweet.  I spent 27 years in the Navy.  I had a lot of duty stations and met a lot of good people.  It was great!  I cherish the time spent.  I would really like to share memories with every one of you next September in Mobile, Alabama. 
      Start saving $$ now; maybe put it on your Christmas list.  I hope everyone has an awesome holiday season.  Remember as you are out there shoveling snow:  “You ain’t as young as you used to be!” 

    George Kaiser

Comments from the Editor:  Many thanks to the Executive Board for giving me Honorary membership.  I’m very touched by your kindness.  With time on my hands and a secretarial background, I offered to help the Association in any way I could.  It didn’t take long for me to be nominated and elected as Editor of the Sitkin Association Newsletter.  I have big shoes to fill taking over the newsletter part of Joe Savage’s former position. 
      Many of you don’t know it, but Pat Norton also had a large part in getting the newsletter ready for publication and sent out.  Thank you, Pat!  Another set of shoes to fill!  I would like to think my husband, Mike, would be proud I could be of service to his beloved Sitkin Association.  Thank you. 

Dorothy Hodnichak

last updated on 11/01/12