Ron Zimmerman Sr.
474 SW Prater Ave.
Port St. Lucie, FL 34953
272 Stone Hedge Row
Johnstown, OH 43031
PO Box 675
Barnegat Light, NJ
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036
241 Larchmont Ave.
Springfield, OH 45503
25850 Lake Shore Blvd.
Euclid, OH 44132-1107
From Our President: First
of all, I would like to thank everyone for their “get well
wishes and prayers.” They were very much appreciated! I
finished my sixth round of Chemo treatments in April and
have had both a follow-up CT scan and bone marrow biopsy
test. My doctor reported that the results from both tests
show the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is in remission! I now go
into a follow-up program of two CT scans in the next six
months to make sure everything stays the same. If
everything is okay after six months, then two more CT scans
over the next year. Once I pass that test, then one scan
per year for two more years.
George Morrell, FN ’67. Welcome aboard Shipmate!
I finally got the 2012 Reunion pictures on the Internet and
the Web pages complete. I also added a couple of shipmates’
A word from the Vice-President:
Dorothy is back from China, word has come that it is
Newsletter time again, and she is looking for our reports!
Of course, I put it off to the last minute too. I don’t
know about you, but where we live, it snowed on Monday and
the temperature went into the 80s the next day! Should I be
surprised? No! It’s Ohio.
Membership update: As of this time, we have 100 paid
members. This isn’t bad considering the number of members
we have added to the Honor Roll these past few years. I
found a Sailor, George Morrell, from the ‘67 - ’68 period.
Welcome to the Association, George!
Everyone has been doing a great job in keeping us informed of
their addresses, E-mails, phone numbers, and other important
information. KEEP IT UP! Mobile is around the corner. See
you all there!
Vice-President & Membership
Nominations for Officers: Nominations for the Executive
Board positions are now open. All positions are up for
reelection every year. Present Officers may be reelected.
Only active members who have annual dues current are
eligible to serve. All nominations for office must be
received by the Association’s Secretary no later than
September 4, 2013. Nominations must be in writing and sent
by either postal service or E-mail.
Nominees will be contacted by the Secretary to insure their
acceptance of the nomination and their willingness to
serve. If you have any questions concerning nominations or
serving, please feel free to contact me.
All of us have had many experiences on the USS Great Sitkin.
We’d like to begin collecting stories to possibly include in
upcoming Newsletters. Think about your stories, write them
down, and send them via postal service or E-mail.
In closing, please think about attending our September
reunion in Mobile. Looking forward to seeing you there!
EACH ONE REACH ONE.
As we roll into the summer months and all of the ensuing
crazy schedules, I’d like to take a few inches of this
Newsletter and encourage you to look back at where you’ve
been. For some reason, it seems to me that I’ve been on
this subject before. If so, just let me say, “Here we go
Out of my 30-year career in the Navy Reserve, I have what I
like to think of as three significant Navy experiences that
shaped not only what I did in the Navy, but actually who I
am today. I am going to skip past my boot camp time to my
first encounter with the Naval Damage Control Training
Center in Philadelphia. I attached with that command 16
September 1969 to attend Damage Controlman “A” School. It
was there that I learned all the intricacies of my rate,
fighting fires, shoring, pipe patching, hull repair,
woodworking - all that good stuff! I met shipmates, learned
even more about the Navy and was prepared to go to my second
Navy experience reporting aboard the USS Great Sitkin in
December 1969. With my newly acquired DC knowledge and my
sea bag, I entered into this new world. Beyond being a
Sailor in the world’s greatest Navy, I was able to forge
friendships that are still in place today. That is the
reason I’m sitting here on a rainy Sunday in May doing my
Newsletter report. Hold this thought for when I tell you
about events that happened just this past week.
After 18 months of active duty on the Great Sitkin, I left
the active Navy and entered into the world of the Navy
Reserve. It was one weekend a month in a Reserve Center,
watching old training movies, doing correspondence courses,
blah, blah, blah. No small wonder that when I got to the
end of my enlistment in July 1974, I got out as fast as I
Fast forward to 1976. It was one baby here, more to come,
need cash, so I decided to “re-up” and go into the Navy
Reserves again. I’m lumping the period between July 1974
and December 1980 as Navy experience #2. Not much went on,
but I did make 2nd Class and was able to build my “Navy
knowledge résumé” into a useful package for the next few
In January 1981, I went into a Reserve unit that was attached
to the Naval Damage Control Training Center (NDCTC),
Philadelphia. Yeah, this was the same place I did DC “A”
School 12 years earlier. This is where I lived out
experience #3. We had a small unit, approximately 20 of
us. We did Damage Control, shipboard firefighting, and CBR
training for Reserve units from up and down the East Coast.
We never set foot in a Reserve Center, only stood an
inspection once a year. We knew our Officers and Chiefs by
their first names. Most significantly, we trained Sailors
on how to save lives and protect valuable Navy assets, and
we made friends. As with my Great Sitkin shipmates, I have
friends from the NDCTC whom I still have close contract with
today. As we’ve seen these past years with Great Sitkin
shipmates, time is working its way on us. Slowly, but
surely, our numbers are being called to the staff of the
Supreme Commander; that’s military jargon for “passing
away.” On May 11th, I had the sad duty of putting on my
dress blues and attending the Life Celebration Service of
MMC Jerry Reynolds USNR retired. Jerry was a shipmate from
NDCTC. We taught firefighting together for nine years.
Good Sailor and Chief; treasured friend.
I was with NDCTC up until September 1993 when the facility
was shut down. For the next four years, I was with a unit
based in Brooklyn, New York. In January 1997, I walked over
the brow for the last time. Ahh, the wonderful world of
Reserve retirement. Live until you are 60, and we’ll give
you your pension. Okay! Game on!
Thankfully, I was able to connect with the USS Great Sitkin
Association in September 2000. Hmm…..maybe I could call
that a significant “Post Navy experience?” If so, then
being a part of this with all of you is surely #1. Just
about the same time, I was able to begin my post Navy
experience #2 by joining the Tri-state Maritime Safety
Association, Maritime Incident Response Team, based in the
We provide shipboard firefighting and damage control training
for area emergency response organizations, as well as taking
our “show on the road.” We travel as far as Bath, Maine and
Norfolk, Virginia. This is where I was last week. Again, I
was spending time with brothers from the fire service
teaching the same material I learned on the Great Sitkin and
the NDCTC. What goes around does, indeed, come around.
Why would all of this interest you, our card carrying-dues
paying members? Simply this: There is a story that’s been
around about the guy who was looking through a cemetery
reading the years on the headstones: “John Smith 1923 -
1985.” What the fellow wondered was what did that time
period cover? Take a few minutes to think about your life
experiences, especially your Navy time, be it a few years or
a whole career.
Leaving you with that thought, Mary and I hope to see you in
Mobile in September. If you haven’t been to a Great Sitkin
Reunion before or maybe have been absent for a time, please
come this year. I promise: You will have fun! And…….maybe
you will make another memory to fill that period of time
shown on your headstone.
The Chaplain’s Corner:
Good Day to all of you.” I hope you are planning to be in
Mobile in September. I’m sure we will have another
wonderful reunion! Doug and Kathy always do a great job!
Patsy and I just got back from our vacation in St. Augustine,
Florida. We had a wonderful time in this great city. The
weather was a little cold for this time of year in Florida.
We were able to drive down and have lunch with Ron and
Sally. He looks great and feels good! He is growing some
fuzz back on his head too. The doctors are very pleased
with his progress. Prayer and Hope can move mountains.
Keep up the fight, Ron!
It’s time to say good-bye for now. 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:
Walter C. Beilfuss BT2 ‘51, Carl T. Franke SKSN
‘51, Frank E. Hacker III GM3 ‘61 , Donald H.
Roberts SK3 ‘55, Howard B. Steelman S1c ‘46
Comments from the Editor: Jim
mentioned my return from China. I spent a month visiting my
daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in Shanghai.
They are an Expatriate family living overseas, and China is
their third country assignment. |
I asked Joanne what helped her become successful at being an
Expat wife and mom. Her answer surprised me. While growing
up, she used to listen to her Dad’s stories about his Navy
experiences aboard the USS Great Sitkin and the USS Waccamaw.
Not only was she fascinated with his stories, but she
developed a real interest in everything international. He
passed on his love of traveling and all the countries he saw
while serving on these two great ships.
Mike’s experiences didn’t end with his four years of
service. They have affected our family right up to the
present. He was very proud of his service to the Navy and
See you in Mobile!
many fond memories of my time on the Great Sitkin. Two
events especially stand out. One event was when we went to
Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As you entered the Harbor, the
scenery was fantastic. The natives would come out in boats,
and we would throw coins from the deck. The natives would
dive for them. It was like in the movies.
The second event: I believe it was in Italy on either the
‘58 or ‘59 Mediterranean Cruise. The Captain stopped the
ship’s engine and put the whale boat in the water so we
could jump from the deck of the ship into the water. We
then either climbed back up the Jacob’s ladder or the
gangway was lowered to get back on the ship. What an
Tom Dever SM ’56 - ’60
From Your Reunion Host:
This is JUST to remind you the reunion is only about 3.5
months away. If you plan on attending, please call the
hotel and make your reservation ASAP. Sit down, break out
your wallets and write me a check!
Kathy and I are looking
forward to seeing all of you once again. We’re also looking
forward to seeing new faces too! New comers: Don't forget
to bring your wife! Family, too, if you would like. The
more, the merrier! You are all welcome!
You have activities to attend, and you will also have free
time to spend with your Shipmates, spouses, and friends.
have only two tours so there will be plenty of free time to
do as you please. There is so much to do in Mobile! Almost
everything is within walking distance, too!
will be the Mystery Dinner Theater which is right across the
street from the hotel. We will tour the museum first, then
have dinner and see the show. You can have all the wine you
can drink! This will be a good time for all!
morning we board a bus @8:30 a.m. for Pensacola, Florida, to
tour the Naval Air Station where we will have our Memorial
service. Afterwards, we will tour the museum and have lunch
on the base. We will be back at the hotel by 4:00 p.m.
Plenty of time to relax and renew ole times with everyone in
the Hospitality Room! Pssst! Did I tell you how much there
is to do in Mobile?
is “free” time to do whatever you please. There is the
Hospitality Room or you can tour Mobile. There will be
coffee and ice tea. Good time to trade Sitkin stories and
give family updates. Family photos? Bring them on! Love
to see photos of children, grandchildren, etc.
(2:30 p.m.) the Sitkin Sailors will have their annual,
hour-long business meeting. Then you will have plenty of
time to relax before the cocktail hour at 6:00 p.m.
- There will be an opportunity to have a photo taken with
the Trail Maids. The Sitkin photographers (Dorothy and I)
will be taking candid photos too. Dinner
buffet will begin at 7:00 p.m. Then party time!!! Yipee!!!
8:00 p.m. – Mardi Gras Party – parade, beads, and so much
more. And…we will crown a King and Queen!! Will it be
you? It will be a wonderful time for everyone!! Live band
and dancing until 11 p.m.
– breakfast from 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Time to say
But – first things first!!!
Call the hotel and make your reservation! Secondly, write
a check and mail it to me ASAP! Third, set up your travel
accommodations! (Registration form on back). See you
soon!! Kathy and I are pulling out all the stops!! You
don’t want to miss this reunion!
2013 Reunion Hosts