Always Ready
Fall/Winter, 2003                                                                                                          15 November, 2003

Association Officers

Ron Zimmerman Sr.
1000 SE Everett Mall Way
Suite 402
Everett, WA 98208

Vice President
Doug Hauser
609 Hillsboro Rd.
Montgomery, AL 36109

Don McClane
2613 Dalgreen Court
Plano, TX 75075

George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036





From our President: The Virginia Beach Reunion marking the 30th anniversary if the ship’s decommissioning, was a huge success.
  I’d like to thank our host and hostess, Doug and Kathy Hauser, for the wonderful job they did in putting the package together and doing their best to make sure everything ran as smoothly as possible, so our shipmates and guests could enjoy themselves. You will find a more detailed report from our Vice President and Reunion Host later in this newsletter.
  A heart felt Thank You goes out to: our Chaplain, Mark Rucker, and shipmate Charlie Ross for the fine job they did with the Honor Ceremony; our Treasurer, George Kaiser, for taking the time to stop by to pick up the Ship’s Bell and Builder’s Plaque from the Naval Historical Center in Washington, DC; Mike LaFauci for helping Doug and Kathy out in the hospitality room; Mike & Dorothy Hodnichak for all the pictures they took and sent to me; Bill Simane for setting up his lap top computer with the web site on it so those who do not have a computer can see all the pictures and info we have gathered; and to everyone who brought or sent me pictures of shipmates and cruises for the web site. Again, thank you for your support and for a job well done. 
  For those of you who were not able to make it this year, at the Annual Business Meeting the Active Members present unanimously passed the changes to the Association’s Constitution and Bylaws. Those Active Members who where not able to make it to the Reunion and are interested in obtaining a copy, one will be available either by requesting it when you pay your 2003 or 2004 dues; or if your dues are current, by sending a written, e-mail, or phone request to the Vice President & Membership Chairman, Doug Hauser.
  Elections were also held at the Annual Business Meeting and the current Executive Board was unanimously re-elected for the fiscal year 1 October 2003 to 30 September 2004.
    Ron Zimmerman

New Finds: 
Orville Pinkerton, SN ‘49   Robert McKuskie, MM3, ‘57
William Siegfried, IC2, ‘69;  Hilbert Cowles, EM3, ‘52; Richard Weiss, SN, ‘63
Woodrow Prouty, RM2, ‘63;  James Holt, MM2, ‘64  Alexander Kaminski, FA, ‘51
Reynaldo Mangual, BM3, ‘67;  William Swiecicki, SN, ‘71; John Evers, EM2, '56

Found - now lost: John Brocken, LCDR, ‘67

Honor Roll:  Joseph Festa, F1c, ‘45;  George Belot, YN3, ‘63;  Coy Layel, MM1, ‘54;  Leroy Coraluzzo, EN3, ‘59;  Paul Etter, YNC, ‘59;  Richard Kelly, ETSN, ‘71
    We wish to express our deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to their family and friends.

Sorta Lost: James Waslewicz, Richard Therrien, Larry Teeter, Joseph Sullivan, Ansis Bergs, Larry Kozielski, Fred Rohrer, Cloyd Fullmer and Paul Chidester.
  These are the shipmates who have had several e-mail messages returned as bad addresses. Please e-mail your correct address to:
      Don McClane,

Web Site Update: 
During the Annual Business Meeting a question was asked, “How large is the web site”?
  Before this update we had used about 2/3 of our allotment. From the November 2000 through June 2003 updates, roughly 1,060 pictures of shipmates, cruises and reunions have been added (this does not include the little thumbnails that you click on for the larger picture).
  Soon, between 129 and 265 more pictures will be added to that total, with even more from past reunions and the pictures for this year’s event.
  With all the pictures, crew lists, ship’s history, etc... there are over 90 web pages, plus the 58 page Guest Book.
  I hope this helps in explaining how large and how much information is available on our web site. Thanks to all who have helped us in this endeavor.
    Ron Zimmerman

Reunion 2003 - Virginia Beach, Virginia: 
This marked the 30th anniversary of the ships decommissioning.
  First I would like to say thank you to all of you who attended this reunion as it was the biggest ever. We had, I believe around 82 shipmates and a total of 151 people attended this reunion.
  Many who have attended all the reunions said this was by far the best reunion of all. So pat yourselves on the back for making it the best.
  The reunion went well but our optional tour was cut short due to heavy rains. All 80 or so of us that went on the Williamsburg tour got soaked but it did not dampen our spirits for the rest of the reunion.
  At the business meeting the Reunion site was chosen for 2004 and it will be held in Corpus Christi, TX with Don & Patti McClane as your host and hostess.
  The 2005 Reunion was voted to be held in Charleston, South Carolina.  Doug & Kathy Hauser will host Charleston, South Carolina (God willing).  Charleston is where the Great Sitkin was commissioned in 1945 and it will be the 60th Anniversary of it ‘s commissioning. We will try to make it special. 
  I want to thank Ron Zimmerman for all his help in doing the itinerary and the name tags, a lot of work went into them and they were a big help to us. An Honorable Mention goes to Mike LaFauci for helping at the reunion. (Thanks, Mike)
  Kathy and I hope to see many of you at Corpus Christi in 2004 & I am sure Don & Patti will host a good reunion.  Thank you all again.
    Doug & Kathy Hauser

From The Fantail: 
Friends and Shipmates, Did we have a great reunion in Virginia Beach or what? Like Doug said, the only dampener was a soggy day in Williamsburg. The whole thing was super and (as usual) we owe it all to some great planning and hard work on the part of Doug and Kathy Hauser.
  I would like to personally thank Charlie Ross. He gave everyone copies of his book “Friends Family and Fantasies”. Charlie is a great friend and Shipmate. His poems are outstanding. I’ll put one of my favorites in this newsletter.
  Next year, our reunion will be in Corpus Christi, Texas. Patti and I will host the event. We consider it an honor and hope to do as well as Doug and Kathy have.
  Corpus Christi has so much to offer and we are busy sorting out the things we think you will enjoy the most.
  By the next edition of this newsletter, we should have some good ideas and you will know what we have planned. In the meantime I have posted a webpage for you to check out. I have e-mailed a lot of you with the address and asked for feed-back. Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    Don McClane

"In Harm's Way"

Is it right or wrong to go "In harm's way?"
Should we be strong? Or 'look the other way'?
Should we ignore the cries of other's pain?
And stay out of sight while tyrants reign.

Must we remain aloof from evil rulers?
And turn callow backs on evil-doers?
When did our lessons disappear?
Remember the Holocaust of yesteryear?

Generations of mankind went "In harm's way"
Some on foreign battlefields, where they stay.
Some bear physical and emotional scars,
That they conceal - in isolation, and lonely bars.

And some who went "In harm's way"
Lived and return, and are here to say:
Let's unite and be strong!
Don't confuse right with wrong!

Those who plot to destroy our dreams
Still conspire against us with evil schemes.
Their hope is that we'll divide and fall.
If we do as they wish, we'll lose it all.

We don't "Police the World", nor should we.
But look at the victims and see what they see!
Cherish and Salute those men and women who say:
"We answered the call to go 'In Harm's Way'!"

Charles W. Ross, RMC, USN (Ret)

Greetings Shipmates! Hope this Fall newsletter finds you all well and rested after an all too fast summer. I’m sure you’ve read other items in this issue about our reunion in Virginia Beach, so I won’t rehash it all again. I’d just like to say thanks and a big Bravo Zulu to all the guys that came that sailed with me in the early 70's. It was good to see you all again, and I hope you will all look forward to future reunions as much as I do.
  I’d like to take time in this issue to talk about a 70's Shipmate some of you may recall, especially those who worked in the Operations Division.
  About 2 weeks before the reunion, I was doing a general search on the search engine, using the keyword, “uss great sitkin” The search led me to an obituary for Richard Kelly, FDNY. As I read the obit, I soon realized that Richard Kelly served on Great Sitkin from February 1971 to August 1972 as an Electronics Technician. After leaving the Navy, he worked in the banking industry until his appointment to the New York City Fire Department in 1977. He served with Ladder 11 in East Manhattan until September 11, 2001. On that day, his truck company was dispatched to the alarm at the World Trade Center. He was searching the Marriot Hotel for victims when the north tower collapsed, killing him and his entire truck company. Richard Kelly was a casualty of the terrorist attacks on America. While many of our Great Sitkin Shipmates have died since their days of service on the ship, and Great Sitkin had her share of casualties that occurred during her years of service, I would imagine that Richard Kelly is one of the few of our Shipmates killed as a direct result of hostile action directed at Americans.
  At the reunion this year, Mark Rucker led us in our memorial service for our departed Shipmates. Charlie Ross read a very moving poem about those who have gone on before us. And Mark made a special recognition for Richard Kelly, and his sacrifice made trying to save the lives of his fellow man.
  If you are in the New York City area, consider stopping by his fire house, Ladder 11, 222 East 2nd St. NY,NY 10009. Tell them you served with Richard in the Navy. Also, the website for his obituary is:

The web site for his ladder company is: 

Be sure to check them both out.

Ships Store:  The holidays are fast approaching Shipmates. Don’t forget the items in the Ships Store. Shipping dates are 11/ 31 and 12/15, so get your orders in early!
  And that will about wrap it up for this edition. Don’t forget to send your dues in to Doug, and be sure to get into the web site and see all the new pictures Ron has posted for us. All good stuff.
    George Kaiser DC3 1969/1971
    Association Treasurer