USS Great Sitkin (AE-17)
1st Issue, 22nd Year                                                                                                                                                   1 November 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:  Another reunion is in the books.  Doug and Kathy Hauser did a real good job putting the Mobile Reunion together.  We all had a great time!   This was Doug’s seventh and final reunion.  We need volunteers to step up! Volunteer to host a reunion, propose a site and bring information to the next annual reunion in Nashville!
    On a personal note, I had another CT scan after we got home from the reunion.  The results were promising.  The doctor told me I was still in remission, but we are going to watch it for another three months and then repeat the CT scan.
    At the General Business Meeting, no one volunteered to host the 2015 Reunion.  I suggested  Tampa, Florida.  There is plenty to do there.  They have a WWII Liberty Ship freighter that still gets underway for day cruises.  It was voted on to have the reunion in Tampa with a focus on doing the underway cruise.  Since returning home, I have been in contact with the SS American Victory about their day cruise in the harbor.  The results were not good:  1) They won’t have their 2015 schedule until late 2014.  This is too late to get contracts in place for hotels, etc. 2) They have two cruises a year, usually in March and November (before and after Hurricane season).  3) they will schedule an “exclusive” cruise, but the cost would be between $30K and $40K.  Based on our average attendance of 70 people, that would be approximately $500 per person for just the cruise.  Sorry, shipmates!  The day cruise is out of the picture unless one of you hits the lottery for some really big $$$ and would to make a donation to the Association.  That’s all for now.  See you in Nashville!

New finds:              None to report.

Web-site update:   No update yet. 

     Ron Zimmerman

A word from the Vice-President:   First of all, a big “thank you” to Doug and Kathy for another wonderful reunion.  I’m sorry this will be your last.  To say the least, my Air Force buddy, Walt Dodson, had a great time!  If you don’t believe it, please go to Mobile Mystery Theater and look at the photos of Walt with a  voluptuous blond lying all over him!  I told Joy how much she was missed.  She will be back next year in Nashville. 
    Nothing new to report other than a reminder to send in your membership dues and keep us updated with any new information such as phone numbers, home and E-mail addresses.
    I just squeezed this report in between two grandsons having cross country meets, two granddaughters playing volleyball in different locations, one granddaughter doing cheerleading, and fortunately, the sixth grandchild isn’t old enough to do anything!  There!  You have it - short and sweet!

     Jim Dunno
     Vice-President &  Membership Chairman

Secretary’s Report:
   A big “thank you” goes out to Doug & Kathy Hauser for hosting our reunion in Mobile.  All who attended enjoyed the planned events and the chance to renew friendships.  I hope to see more of you next year in Nashville!
    Our membership needs to grow.  With that fact in mind, please consider our membership theme of
EACH ONE REACH ONE and think of what you can do to help.  If you know the address, phone number or E-mail address of a shipmate, please reach out and contact them or forward the information to Jim Dunno or me, and we will contact them. If any of you have any further ideas on how to increase membership, be sure to let us know.
    Please continue to keep our President, Ron, in your prayers.  It was good news that his recent doctor’s visit was very promising. 
    In closing, I want to wish all of our shipmates and their families a very Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a Healthy and Happy New Year!

      Jim Perko

Repair 3:   It’s a crisp fall evening here in the Bayonne of our memories.  I’m back here in Repair 3, thinking about the events that took place just a month ago at our reunion in Mobile.  Doug and Kathy did another outstanding job!  The USS Great Sitkin has been gone for 40 years.  By now, any of us who sailed the seas in Navy ships have seen those ships go to the breakers or at the very least, have seen them languishing in backwater, rusting away in mothballs.  This happened to the Great Sitkin and yet for 21 years now; men have gathered together in the name of a ship that wasn’t glamorous like a cruiser, as mighty as a carrier or as stealthy as a submarine.  We bring our wives, girlfriends, children, parents, etc. to the Sitkin reunions. Wives of shipmates departed still join us.  During the short time  we are together, we tell dusty, yet still vivid stories of events that took place on this old gray ship. 
    We gather one final time on Saturday evening for our annual banquet.  We sit with our friends.  Sometimes, we seek out that new couple who came for the first time.  We hope to make them feel as welcome as we were made to feel the first time we came to a Sitkin reunion. 
    Sunday, we hug and say good-bye, trusting that health and good fortune will permit us to gather again next year.  Invariably, time will continue to gather us from this  earth to set us on our journey to our Final Reward.  Such is life.  Without stealing thunder from our Chaplain, Mark Rucker, I’d like to offer a passage from the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
    “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens; a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.“
    Be sure to check out the Ship’s Store.  There are lots of Great Sitkin gear, including a digital camo ball cap and a very nice wind breaker. 
   Great news!  We are working with Facebook.  There are two Facebook pages for the USS Great Sitkin.  Many of us are already regular visitors.  Another great way to stay in touch!  Have a smooth cruise this fall.  We’ll see you next spring.

    George Kaiser

The Chaplain’s Corner:   “Good Day to all of you!”   I feel like I just finished writing the spring article and now it’s time for our fall Newsletter.  Time just keeps marching on!
    What a great time we had in Mobile this year!  Twelve years have gone by since we were there for the first reunion.  Doug and Kathy did another excellent job of hosting the reunion.  The Holiday Inn recently had a $12 million upgrade and looked great.  The staff made us all feel welcome.  The seafood was wonderful.  I ate some of the best combo.  As the waitress said, “It is so good, it will make you slap your grandma!”
    It was hard to come back home after a nice week of relaxing to all the uncertainty in our country that we are facing.  I am tired of all the political posturing and bickering that’s going on in Washington.  The Issues that have affected all the veterans are inexcusable for
ALL politicians in Washington.  They should be ashamed of themselves.  They have embarrassed our country.
    In the book of Matthew 12:25, it says
“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:”   We need to pray for a leader that will unite our country.
    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:
  None to report 

   Spouse Honor Roll:  None to report

       Mark Rucker

Comments from the Editor
:  It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways:  Doug and Kathy Hauser  really  know how to show us a good time!  The weather was beautiful, the activities were loads of fun and best of all, we were all happy to see one another again.  It’s wonderful to see the camaraderie between everyone.  We really have bonded through the years.  
    For those of you who have
never attended or haven’t recently attended one of our “bashes” you are really missing a good time.   Think about it!  Mark your calendars, save up your $$ and plan on joining us in Nashville!  I promise - you won’t regret it.  Gene and Nora McNeill are another fun-loving couple.  I can hardly wait to see what they have in store for us in 2014.  I’ve already made my Holiday Inn  reservation!      

    Dorothy Hodnichak

2013 Mobile Reunion Report:  The reunion takes a long time to arrive, then it’s over for the year.  It was so good seeing Y’all!  Thank you for coming and making it such a great success.  Without all of you, there would be no reunion.
    The reunion began on Wednesday with hot food and free drinks for everyone on the 17th floor of the hotel.  What a beautiful view of Mobile at night!  On Thursday evening, we attended the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater at the Mardi Gras Museum.  The show, along with audience participation, was outstanding!.  George Kaiser won the prize for figuring out “who done it.”  Our trip to Pensacola, Florida and the Naval Air Museum was held on Friday.  Mark Rucker did a superb job speaking at the Memorial Service in the base Chapel.  His service brought tears to our eyes.  The museum was huge with so much to see.  I heard people calling my name, “Doug, Doug!”  I never looked up, therefore, could not find the culprits.  Later, I found out it was the Perkos and the Gallaghers.  Saturday evening was our banquet and Mardi Gras party!   The Mardi Gras Museum players marched in dressed in all their finery with masks and beads for everyone.  True to form, we all got out on the dance floor and danced up a storm to Tony Bower’s Band.  We had a lot of fun! Our 2001 King and Queen, Don & Patti McClane, crowned our new 2013 King and Queen, Alex & Joyce Paszly.   They were really surprised!
    After hosting seven reunions, Kathy & I are now officially retired.  We need others to stand up and offer sites and host future reunions. If no one stands up, there may not be any more reunions and there goes our fun!   Thank Y’all for supporting us over the years and your appreciation for our work in putting these reunions together.      

   Doug & Kathy Hauser
   2013 Mobile Reunion Hosts


last updated on 11/01/13