Ron Zimmerman Sr.
1000 SE Everett Mall Way
Everett, WA 98208
1303 Doolittle Dr.
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036
USS Great Sitkin Association
13 – 16 Sept.
The USS Great Sitkin Association Annual Reunion for 2000 was held in
Cleveland, Ohio, on the 8th through the 10th of September at the Radison
Hotel. Thirty-three of our Crew members were in attendance along with
their spouses, children and friends. Several were attending a reunion
for the first time and we want to extend to them a hearty "Welcome
Aboard" and hope to see each of them again.
Events this year included a Dinner Cruise aboard the Nautica
Queen on Friday evening; and a very interesting Trolley tour of the City
of Cleveland along with tours of the USS Cod (SS-224), the Steamship
William G. Mather, the Cleveland Brown’s Football Stadium and the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame Museum on Saturday.
The Annual Business Meeting and Banquet was held on Saturday
evening at the Radison Hotel. The crew voted on the location of next
year’s reunion and the election of Officers took place. Glenn
Frankenbach, President and Adelmo Costantini, Secretary/Treasurer,
announced that they were not going to seek reelection. Nominations for
those positions were made from the floor with Ron Zimmerman, as
President, and George Kaiser, as Secretary/Treasurer, being unanimously
elected. Nick Huzinec was re-elected as Vice President, but he made it
clear that this would be his last year.
Glenn was also presented with a Letter of Commendation from the
Association for his tireless efforts in getting and keeping the
Association going, encouraging others to get involved and starting the
web site. His son, David, was also presented, in absentia, with a Letter
of Appreciation for all the work he has done in creating and updating
the first web sites.
Our hosts for this year’s event were Mike & Dorothy
Hodnichak. They did an outstanding job getting everything lined up and
making sure it went off smoothly. Congratulations Mike and Dorothy and
Thank You for all your hard work.
The USS Great Sitkin Association now has it’s own domain name and web
site host. It can be found at www.greatsitkin.org
The move to our own "Homeport"
was necessary after the previous host was having reliability problems
and the site was out growing the amount of space allowed under a
personal site. Check it out and let us know
what you think.
2001 Reunion – Mobile, Al:
USS Great Sitkin Association’s Annual Reunion for 2001
will be held September 13th through 16th in Mobile, Alabama. Our host
and hostess for next years event is Shipmate Doug Hauser and his wife
Kathy. Doug has been "Bustin Butt" getting things lined
up for us all to have a good time. Final arrangements are in the works
with costs and details nearly complete
The Lafayette Plaza Hotel in the downtown
historic district will be our Homeport for the four day event.
Rooms will be available, at the Reunion Price, for 2 days prior to and 2
days after the scheduled dates for those who are planning on taking a
little longer vacation . All rooms have coffee makers for those of us
who can’t function in the morning until we get the first cup-of-mud
in our system. They also have ironing board, irons and hair dryers (as
requested by several of the ladies). There is also a coin operated
laundry for those who may need one. Check-in time at the hotel is 3:00
PM. The Hotel said they can arrange earlier occupancy upon request.
There will also be a Hospitality Room which
is conveniently located on the main floor off the lobby. Room rates will
include Buffet Breakfast for 2 each morning.
The events included in the Reunion
Package will be a dinner cruise on Friday evening aboard the Cotton
Blossom Stern Wheeler; a tour on Saturday of the USS Alabama Memorial
Park which includes the Memorial Bell Ceremony on the fantail of the USS
Alabama and afterward a luncheon. Also included is the Saturday evening
Annual Dinner Banquet, which will be held in the hotel.
Doug has also lined up a couple of optional
tours if enough interested parties sign up. One will be to the Pensacola
Air and Space Museum, about a 7 hour tour, and the other is a tour of
the Bellingrath Gardens and historic Mobile.
More specific information along with
registration forms will be forth coming in the next newsletter and also
posted on the website.
Obtaining Personal Awards and Replacement Medals: Several
of the crew members have inquired about obtaining awards they never were
issued or replacements for the ones they were. The following information
was provided by the Naval Personnel Center and is reprinted here for your
To obtain copies of awards earned,
write to the National Personnel Records Center at the below address. This
office will identify any awards you’ve earned and provide replacement
awards as necessary. It is helpful to include a copy of your Discharge
Certificate (DD 214). If a Discharge Certificate is not available, include
your full name, service number, social security number, date of birth and
as much additional pertinent information as possible.
Navy Liaison Office
National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Veterans are entitled to one replacement set of their
medals. To request medals, send a Standard Form 180, which can be obtained
from the National Personnel Record Center to the above address. Please
write on the envelope "Do Not Open in the Mailroom"
Be patient. These request sometimes takes a
while to verify and process.
Cold War Recognition Certificate: In
1998 the Secretary of Defense approved awarding the Cold War
Recognition Certificate to all members of the armed forces and
qualified federal government civilian employees who faithfully and
honorably served the United States anytime during the Cold War era which
is defined as Sept 2, 1945 to Dec 26, 1991.
The US Army has been tasked with the issuance
of the certificates. For those of you who have internet access they have a
dedicated web site. You can find it at: http://coldwar.army.mil
A telephone help line has also been set up. The number is (703)275-6279.
Again, be patient. Due to the success of the
program turn-around time for mailing the certificates is approx. 12
Republic of Korea War Service Medal:
This medal was initially proposed by the South Korean government in
1951 to honor all United Nations troops who battled the communist
aggressors during the Korean War. After 48 years, the medal was finally
approved by the Department of Defense. The medal may be awarded to all
military personnel who served 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive
days in Korea or in its territorial waters. The medal may also be awarded
to aircrew personnel who flew combat support missions over or to Korea.
Additional information on how to apply for or request the medal can be
obtained by contacting the Air Force Personnel Center, Monday thru Friday,
7:30AM – 4:30PM (CST) at (800)558-1404, or by writing to:
550 C Street
West, Suite 12
Force Base, TX. 78150-4717
or by visiting their web site at:
President‘s Desk: I have heard it said many times in the past
few months that a lot of crew members think that this association is for
the 1950's group. This is a misconception! I believe this
fallacy is mainly due to the age group of the Reunion
attendees. True, the majority of them are from the 1950's crews. Most of
them are retired or semi-retired and have more spare time on their hands
than those of us who are still working on a daily basis or have not quite
reached the retirement age. But this association is for ALL CREW
MEMBERS, regardless of when or how long you served aboard.
Since the Cleveland Reunion, I have been going through the list of
names and addresses of crew members we have located. It surprised me when
I tallied up the year groups and found that the largest number of
shipmates we have addresses for are from the '60's & '70's year group.
At the Reunion, nearly everyone of the guys asked me why more of
the shipmates from "our" group weren’t attending. I didn't
have an answer then and I don't now. All I can tell you is what I saw and
heard while in Cleveland. No one shunned me, in fact they went out of
their way to make me feel a part of the group. True, I was razzed a little
about being the "youngster", but it was done in a good natured
way and not demeaning. I had a very enjoyable time and look forward to our
I hope those of you who have been staying away or not interested
because you thought it was "just for the '50's crew" take
another look at it. Both the association President and Secretary/Treasurer
are from the '70's crew. We hope that you'll get "on board" and
join us and attend the next Reunion in Mobile, AL, Sept 2001.
Sr, '72 - '73
News articles & Sea Stories: Attempting to publish a newsletter
on a frequent basis can be a tough job, especially if you’re not a
We want to try something different starting with this newsletter
and also hopefully continue it in future newsletters if there is any
interest. We would like to include articles of interest or sea stories
submitted by our crew members. All will be considered for publishing
provided they are in good taste and are not a forum for personal opinion
(regardless of the nature). Articles for consideration may be sent
by e-mail to George Kaiser at email@example.com or mailed to him at:
311 W. Oak
Tribute to US sailors: This was sent to us by Shipmate Doug
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I am the American Sailor. Hear my voice, America! Though I speak
through the mist of 200 years, my shout for freedom will echo through
liberty's halls for many centuries to come.
Hear me speak, for my words are of truth and justice, and the
rights of man. For those ideals I have spilled my blood upon the world's
troubled waters. Listen well, for my time is eternal -yours is but a
moment. I am the spirit of heroes past and future.
I am the American Sailor. I was born upon the icy shores at
Plymouth, rocked upon the waves of the Atlantic, and nursed in the
wilderness of Virginia. I cut my teeth on New England codfish, and I was
clothed in southern cotton. I built muscle at the halyards of New Bedford
whalers, and I gained my sea legs high atop mizzen of Yankee Clipper
I am the American Sailor, one of the greatest seamen
the world has ever known. The sea is my home and my words are
tempered by the sound of paddle wheels on the Mississippi and the song of
whales off Greenland's barren shore. My eyes
have grown dim from the glare of sunshine on blue water, and my heart is
full of star-strewn nights under the Southern Cross. My hands are raw from
winter storms while sailing down round the Horn, and they are blistered
from the heat of cannon broadside while defending our nation.
I am the American Sailor, and I have seen the sunset of a thousand
distant, lonely lands. It was I who stood tall
beside John Paul Jones as he shouted, "I have not yet begun to
fight!" I fought upon Lake Erie with Perry, and I rode with Stephen
Decatur into Tripoli harbor to burn Philadelphia. I met Guerriere aboard
Constitution, and I was lashed to the mast with Admiral Farragut at Mobile
Bay. I have heard the clang of Confederate shot against the sides of
Monitor. I have suffered the cold with Peary at the North Pole, and I
responded when Dewy said, "You may fire when ready Gridley," at
Manila Bay. It was I who transported supplies through submarine infested
waters when our soldier's were called "over there." I was there
as Admiral Byrd crossed the South Pole. It was I who went down with the
Arizona at Pearl Harbor, who supported our troops at Inchon, and patrolled
dark deadly waters of the Mekong Delta.
I am the American Sailor and I wear many faces. I am a pilot
soaring across God's blue canopy and I am a Seabee atop a dusty bulldozer
in the South Pacific. I am a corpsman nursing the wounded in the jungle,
and I am a torpedoman in the Nautilus deep beneath the North Pole. I am
hard and I am strong. But it was my eyes that filled with tears when my
brothers went down with the Thresher, and it was my heart that rejoiced
when Commander Shepherd rocketed into orbit above the earth. It was I who
languished in a Viet Cong prison camp, and it was I who walked upon the
moon. It was I who saved the Stark and the Samuel B. Roberts in the mine
infested waters of the Persian Gulf. It was I who pulled my brothers from
the smoke filled compartments of the Bonefish and wept when my shipmates
died on the Iowa and White Plains. When called again, I was there, on the
tip of the spear for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
I am the American Sailor. I am woman, I am man, I am white and
black, yellow, red and brown. I am Jew, Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist. I
am Irish, Filipino, African, French, Chinese, and Indian. And my standard
is the outstretched hand of Liberty.
Today, I serve around the world; on land, in air, on and under the
sea. I serve proudly, at peace once again, but with the fervent prayer
that I need not be called again.
Tell your children of me. Tell them of my sacrifice, and how my
spirit soars above their country. I have spread the mantle of my nation
over the ocean, and I will guard her forever. I am her heritage and yours.
I am the American Sailor.
Found & Lost: Shipmates we need you help. Some
of the crew members we had previously found are now again in out
"Lost" files as mailings are being returned. If any of you know
the location of these crew members please let us know so we can update our
files. Your assistance is appreciated.
Name, Rate, Last Known Address
Baker, Perry L., EM3, Gurnee, IL
Byrd, Larry H., SA, Savannah, GA
Connor, Wendell, SD3, Waco, TX
Gerhard, H. E., Capt., Pittsburg, PA
Kirby, Paul L., S1c, Greenville, NC
Langton, W., YN3, Oklahoma City, OK
Lewis, Eugene, QM1, Lewis, ME
Marquis, Gary, SN, Van Nuys, CA
Ogert, Joseph, BMC, Hertforn, NC
Sellers, Joseph, BMSN, Merritt Is, FL
Smith, Leo, SN, Saginaw, MI
Strouse, William, SA, Tamarac, FL
Teall, John, DK2, St.Charles, MO
Wisler, John, PN2, E. Stroudsberg, PA
In addition, we also need updates on the following E-mail addresses:
Joe Galey, Domenick Indelicato, Bernard Kellogg, Albert Haywood,
Wilbur Mennecke, William C. Reed, Contee White, Walt Tvedt and
Ship’s Store: Anyone who has recently ordered items from the Ship’s
Store page of the web site, please be patient. Our vendor has been out of
town for the past 4 weeks due to a death in the family. They have assured
me that they are back in full swing now and will be getting all orders
processed as quickly as possible.
From the Secretary/Treasurer's Desk: Greetings Shipmates!
My name is George Kaiser, and I am the new Secretary/Treasurer for the USS
Great Sitkin Association. I want to use this edition of the newsletter
to address some of the items that should be important to anyone who served
on the ship during it's 25+ years of service.
First, what is this association all about? Maybe some of you
belong to other military groups like the FRA, NERA, VFW, etc. Or maybe
you are part of a group that cares for, or meets on one of the many museum
ships around the country. Obviously, our ship is gone. For those
of you who don't have access to the Internet, the Great Sitkin was sold for
scrape in 1974, and dismantled in Camden, NJ the same year. So we have no
ship of our own anymore, just some artifacts in storage at the Naval
Historical Center in Washington, DC. So what this Association is all
about is the preservation of her history and the crews who served aboard.
So, why join? Right now, our efforts go in several
directions. One is the website, www.greatsitkin.org,
and in case you've never been there, it is pretty neat. Lots of
pictures and facts abouth the ship, along with a complete roster of all crew
members and a Ship's Store page where you can get hats, shirts, mugs,
etc. Check it out!
Another direction is this newsletter. In the past the writing
and publication of the semi-annual letter was in the hands of Glenn
Frankenbach, a shipmate from the '50's. With the election of new
officers at the Reunion in Cleveland this year, the torch has been passed to
us to handle some of these duties. As I guess you can see, we are
trying to "jazz up" the letter and add articles we hope you find
interesting and useful. Part of the new look is going to be up to you,
the crew. Got any stories about your time on board? With over
800 guys on the mailing list, that could be a lot of material. Now is
your chance to get your name in print. For example; I was on the ship from
Nov 69 to July 71, serving as a DC3 in R Division. I saw, and did, a
lot of stuff during that time. Like in February 70. We had a
large water leak in 5 Hold while we were in the yards in Hoboken, NJ.
It was on the 2nd deck. SFP2 Rich Johnson took a couple of us non-rates down
to get rid of the water. How? Johnson took a portable cutting outfit
out of Repair 3, made a little cofferdam out of 2 1/2" hose gaskets and
burned a hole in the deck. Down went the water to the 3rd deck.
We went down there and did the same thing, all the way to the bilges.
Or, how about while we were in the Atlantic, enroute to the Med, February
71. It was night, we were in a bad storm, heavy seas, the whole
bit. The Chief Engineer needed A1W sounded. If you remember, A1W
was the forward fresh water tank, and the sounding tube access was on the
bow, just forward of the gun tubs. SFM3 Dennis MacCracken and me were
tasked with the job. We put on life jackets, tied ourselves together,
and proceeded to rappel up the starboard side weather deck. When we
got to the bow, waves were crashing over the bow. We got the sounding,
then we went all the way forward and looked over the peak down into the
water. The ship was pitching to the point where the very bottom of the
bow would breach, then plunge into the sea to where the wave would break
over us. That was awesome! And that, shipmates, is the kind of
stories we are looking for. Got anything?
Another thing we do is the annual reunion. Now they have been
meeting like that for about 7 years, but I never went to one before.
This year it was in Cleveland, Ohio, and everything worked right for my wife
and I to go. We had a blast! Not only with the precious few from
my era, but with all the guys. See, we all had a common bond, time
served on the old ship, and the memories of that old ship transcend
time. The 2001 Reunion will be in Mobile, Alabama, and should be a
good time. Lots of prep work has gone into it already. As more
details become available, we will publish them in future newsletters.
I guess the other thing I would like to say is "How about
getting on board with us?". It would be great if you could send
in your Dues, $15 a year. But, even if you chose not to be a card
carrying member, at least stay in touch. I know my time on board was a
turning point in my life. While I never stayed in touch with any
shipmates, the contacts I have made in 30 years down the line have been
memorable. I only did 2 years in the active duty Navy, but I stayed in
the Reserves and just retired last January as a Chief Damage Controlman.
It really all started on the Great Sitkin.
Think about what your years on the ship did for you. I have
talked to a lot of you since I took this job on. One shipmate the
other night told me how he was a career sailor and was on a bunch of ships
besides the Sitkin. But of them all, he enjoyed his time on it the
best. How about you?
To contact me with dues, stories, or whatever:
311 Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036
Dues checks are payable to:
USS Great Sitkin Association