USS Great Sitkin (AE-17)
2nd Issue, 21st Year                                                                                                                                                   1 March 2013

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:  Shipmates!  Those of you who have known me for several years know that when it comes to my personal life, I am a very private man.  With that said, there also comes a time when I need to share something very personal with you. 
  Just before Thanksgiving, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 malignant Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  This was probably caused by exposure to Agent Orange 42 years ago.  I have a great team of doctors, oncologists, and cardiologists.  They are the best, and I have the utmost confidence in them.  The prognosis is favorable to put this disease into remission.  The success rate is better with the newer medicines and remission of 10 to 15 years is not uncommon.  The protocol they have me on is “aggressive.”  I have begun chemo treatments, and my doctor is already seeing signs of shrinkage of the largest tumor.  Lymphoma is not treated by surgery or radiation; only chemo.  I have four days of treatment and two weeks off to recover and become stronger.  As of now, they are guessing it will be between 4 and 10 treatment sessions.  In between, I will be having periodic CT and PET scans to determine the progress of these sessions. 
    My plans are to be at the Mobile Reunion and to continue my position on the Executive Board as long as my health allows it. 

     Ron Zimmerman

A word from the Vice-President:   Wow!  Here it is 2013 and January is already shot!  Time flies when you’re having fun!  Don’t know about you, but this cold weather, then warm weather stuff is crazy.  It was almost 70 degrees yesterday, and I was looking for my summer shorts! 
    Membership is hanging in there with 90 paid members.  Once again, I would like to remind you that if anything changes regarding your E-mail address, cell/telephone numbers, and/or your home address, please send it to me so I can keep Dorothy updated. 
Doug Hauser has everything set up and ready to go for the 2013 Reunion in Mobile, Alabama.  I am looking forward to seeing all of you there in September! 
    That will do it for now.  I am going online to book  a cruise to the Southern Caribbean for Joy and I.  We need to get out of the cold for a few days!

     Jim Dunno
     Vice-President &  Membership Chairman

Secretary’s Report:
  As I begin to write my second message to all of you, I couldn’t help thinking of all our shipmates who live in the New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut areas.  I hope all of you were safe during Hurricane Sandy and your homes did not have much damage.
    Vice President, Jim Dunno, is doing a great job as always, but he could use your help.  Let’s keep in mind the words,
“Each One Reach One” as we invite those shipmates who have never attended a reunion and those who haven’t attended recently, to join us in Mobile.   
    Doug and Kathy Hauser are planning many activities and adventures for all those who attend the reunion in Mobile, Alabama, during September 18th through September 22nd.  Fill out the paperwork!  Make your reservations!  We look forward to seeing you there!
    For those shipmates who have ever wondered about our ship’s name, I researched Sitkin facts in the Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia about the origin of the our ship’s name.  Great Sitkin Island is a volcanic island in the Andreanof Islands of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.  The island covers a total area of 60 square miles and lies slightly north of a group of islands located between the Adak and Atka Islands.  The northern portion of the island is dominated by the complex Great Sitkin Volcano which rises 5,710 feet.  The island is 11 miles long and 10.53 miles wide. 

      Jim Perko

Repair 3:   Our resident Pennsylvania groundhog didn’t see his shadow yesterday.  That’s supposed to mean spring is right around the corner.  Cross your fingers!  Here’s hoping!
    On this morning’s news came the shocking story of the murder of Navy Seal, Chris Kyle, in Texas.  In addition to Chris’ duties with Navy Seal Team 6, he was also credited with being the deadliest sniper in U.S. history.  It’s sad he had to meet his demise the way he did.  Some of the news media is referring to him as “former Sailor” and “ex-Navy Seal.”  In one of the stories, the reporter mentioned that “former” and “ex” should not be used.  The big push in the armed services these days is that once an individual has served, then retired or honorably discharged, the Sailor, Soldier, Airman, or Marine designation goes with you for life and the title is capitalized. 
    I checked the Google Website which said:  “Sailor” can refer to anyone who goes to sea in ships for a living or as a hobby. While many of us made the Navy a living; and for many of us it was as much fun AS a hobby, calling ourselves “Sailors” with a capital “S” does indeed designate us as members of the greatest Navy in the world.
    In keeping with the ship’s theme in this article, does anyone ever think about the old ship?  For all of us, the Great Sitkin was home.  This is where we worked, ate, played, slept and served.  The Navy often refers to the fact that a Sailor who has served on any particular ship, whether it was a submarine, battleship, ammo ship or a tug boat, we all went on that ship to do our thing.  We became part of the Navy crew of that particular ship. 
    Along with my musings about the USS Great Sitkin, we need to consider that on July 2, 2013, it will have been 40 years since the ship was decommissioned.  In my continuing effort to get all of you to promote the fact that we are proud members of the Navy; we are equally proud Sailors of the best ammunition supply ship of the Cold War era. 
    Let this be the official announcement of the rebirth of the USS Great Sitkin Association’s Ship’s Store.  As a starter, look to the Website for a newly designed T-shirt, the old standby golf shirts, patches, decals and ball caps.  Mugs will hopefully come to the reunion, but most sales will be Website-based.
    What better way to commemorate the 40
th anniversary of decommission than to come to Mobile, Alabama this year?  Our last trip to Mobile in 2001 was tragically interrupted by the attacks on September 11th.  Doug and Kathy Hauser are working hard to make this year really special.  There are plenty of “Navy” type things to do.  Start arranging your schedule now.  It’s gonna be great!
That’s it from the Repair locker for this issue.  Keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers.

    George Kaiser

The Chaplain’s Corner:  “Good Day” to all of you!  Spring is near and there will be changes.  Spring flowers will start to emerge from the ground, the robins will return from down south, and the grass will begin to grow again. 
    The biggest change for me:  I will be retiring May 1 from Ohio Edison Electric Company after almost 39 years.  I was thinking of my last days aboard the USS Great Sitkin in June 1973.  I was both glad and sad about moving on to my new assignment aboard the USS Vulcan in Norfolk.  I was glad because Patsy was moving with me, but also sad because I would not see the friends I made aboard the Sitkin during the past three years.  I was going to a military base. What a change that was!  I didn’t know you could have that much Navy in one place.  All those regulations!  I had new officers to train and a new engine room to learn all over again.  I never felt at home onboard the Vulcan.  I found out how much I really missed my old friends and that old “rust bucket.”  I certainly hope my transition to retirement life is better than that was. 
    I was really happy when I found the USS Great Sitkin Association.  I reconnected with some of my old friends again, and I made many new friends.  Well, it’s time to move on.  I need to count (again) the number of days I have left to work.
    Let’s keep all 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:  Ralph Pennacchino, SK2, '51

       Mark Rucker

Comments from the Editor
:    In the November Newsletter, I asked for responses from all of you regarding your accomplishments, what you do in your spare time,  memories, etc.  How nice to hear from you!  In t6he hardcopy of the newsletter I included photos with a little summary from Sitkin people.   Look for the pictures and information.  Not getting the hardcopy of the Newsletter??  Then you need to contact Jim Dunno and find out what you need to do to get your dues caught up!
    George Kaiser gave me an excellent idea.  He suggested using the Newsletter to “blog” about your Great Sitkin experiences.  I’m sure many of you have a sea story or two you can give us.  Why not send me your “blog” and we’ll publish it in the Newsletter?  We’d love to hear those stories!   
    In closing, I would like to encourage all of you to attend this year’s reunion.  Doug & Kathy did an amazing job in 2001 showing us a “Mardi Gras time” in Mobile.  I can hardly wait to see what they have in store for us this year.  It will be the best!  You can bring family too!  Thank you for your support.

Dorothy Hodnichak

last updated on 03/01/13