|Fall/Winter, 2004 15 November, 2004|
From our President: Those of you who didnít
attend this yearís reunion missed an outstanding one. Everyone I talked
with seemed to have a great time and several did not want to give up
partying at the banquet (names withheld to protect the guilty!).
Iíd like to thank our host and hostess Don and Patti McClane for the
great job they did in putting the package together and all the hard work
that went into making sure their shipmates had an enjoyable time.
New Finds: David Hughes, RM3, Ď56
Honor Roll: Thomas Ryan, SN, í52; Warren Leslie IV, EM2, í70; Kenneth Bates, EM2, í69; Norman Scheer, LTjg, Ď50s; William Hickok, GM2, í52; Carroll DeWitt, F1c, Ď45;
Web Site Update: Since the June newsletter I have gotten the History pages revamped for the í66 Med Cruise and all of 1972. Those pages also have links (buttons) that will take you to copies of the actual logs. These files and the í65 Med Cruise contain over 350 pages, man that is a whole lot of shipís history! The copies of the deck logs we received from the Navy Historical Branch were available in the hospitality room. From the way the cover was ďdog-earedĒ they got a lot of use. Sam Carolluzzi, one of our Plank Owners, asked to raise the money to purchase the deck logs for 1945 & 1946. The crew opened up their wallets and it now appears that we have the funds to accomplish that. The initial letters to get the ball rolling have been sent.
Besides the history info, pictures have been added to the 40ís and 60ís Crew pages along with several pictures from the 62 cruise and the 72 cruise. The 2004 Reunion pages are under construction and may be up before late November.
From the Desk of the Vice President. Shipmates, due to our move, we were unable to attend the reunion in Corpus Christi, Texas.
I received some good news. No, I didnít get a big discount on my car insurance, but I did find out that I was reelected for another year as your Vice President. Thank you all for your continued confidence.
I am thinking that this may be my last year as Vice President. I think the office should be turned over to someone else. I have enjoyed my terms and hope you think I have done well.
The hurricane season has been very hard on Florida residents and many of our shipmates and families live there. Our prayers go out to them and hope no one was hurt and that you all can recover in a timely fashion.
I have heard the reunion went well, and that is due to Don and Pattiís hard work, I wish to thank them for keeping the reunions going and making people happy so they want to keep coming back.
Remember our reunion for 2005 will be in Charleston S.C.. Kathy and I will be hosting it once more. A lot of the work is already done , but we need to go back once again to refresh most of it and set up a few more things.
Remember the reunion marks the 60th Anniversary of the Great Sitkinís commissioning. We plan on going back to Charleston after Kathyís hip replacement. The operation happened on October 21, 2004. She will be home bound for 6 weeks after the surgery.
I hear that congratulations are in order for George Kaiser. He will be hosting the 2006 reunion in Philadelphia.
I hope to see many of you next year in Charleston.
Vice President & 2005 Reunion Host
Membership Report: I would like to thank all that support our wonderful association. I am glad to report that we have quite a few new members. Thank you for your participation and welcome.
Since I have been keeping the records of the membership, we have collected dues from about 330. Active membership for 2004 has dropped to 232. We have lost almost 100 men. We need to see if we can motivate these men who have, for whatever reasons, not renewed their membership..
I believe if they came to a reunion, they would see the light and gain an understanding as well as an appreciation for our existence.
If you ever have any questions or comments, positive, negative or neutral, Shipmates, please, donít hesitate to give me a call. The board members and I need to know your concerns and nothing is taboo. Our aim is to make our association the way YOU want it to be. Some times, like the old saying goes; Out of sight is out of mind. Call me: 334-277-2151
Donít forget, our awards program for consecutive membership years. We call it Active Membership Awards. They are 2, 5, & 10 year pins. I will send these pins to our qualified members.
Men that have paid for 2004 will get a pin when they send in their dues for 2005. Those that have paid for membership beyond 2004, will begin getting their pins as soon as possible. If you have paid for 4 years but missed a year in between, you can make it up and I will send you a 5 year pin.
Please have patience shipmates. Our move has been a bit disruptive to say the least but I am catching up. Remember our dues are now $20.00 a year. This money supports the newsletter and the Web site, both of which, aid in locating potential new members as well as keeping our shipmates informed.
Thank You Members, for showing up and having fun with us in Corpus Christi. Don and Patti
ďFrom this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered, we few, we happy few, we Band of Brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my Brother.Ē
Henry V, King of England.
Most recently, this quote was used as the title for the book by Stephen Ambrose, chronicling Easy Company of the 101st Airborne during WW2.
Iíd like to offer another view of the Band of Brothers idea.
With a few exceptions, most of us getting this newsletter served on the Great Sitkin at some point over the 28 years she was in commission. Now, while we all know the old ship wasnít a warship in the style of a carrier, cruiser, or destroyer, the Great Sitkin did go in harms way many times during her career. Even during routine operations, any one of us could have been called upon to shed our blood in the service of our Navy and Country. It is in that aspect that I would like us all to think of our association as a Band of Brothers.
Why do I bring this up? Elsewhere in this paper, youíve seen accounts of this yearís reunion in Corpus Christi. Iím not going to re-tell stories already told. What I do want to talk about however, are the good times I had with fellow Shipmates. I again mingled with guys that served on the ship while I was still in diapers. As a retired Chief, I have the bond with other Chiefs. That is a special thing and very much a part of being a Chief in the Navy.
Using that sort of relationship as an example, I continue to enjoy the good times with the guys I served with during my time on our ship. Each year, we get together and our friendships grow deeper.
One extra special Shipmate that made his first reunion this year is Charley Stephanski. Charley was the Main Propulsion Assistant during my time on board. Youíll see his picture along with Mark Rucker in this edition. Having Charley there really made the reunion for me. Along with the Shipmates that did attend the reunion in Corpus Christi, there are still a lot more Iíd like to see, like you guys on our mailing list from ďRĒ Division.
There are a lot of guys that I served with that havenít been found yet; SF2 Dennis McCracken, DCFN Joe Weber, DC3 Jay Miller, SH3 Denny Barolin. One guy Iíve been trying to find for 30 years was DC2 Gary Miller. I was surprised on October 12th to get an e-mail from him. He found my name on the web site.
Another Shipmate I found last year canít come to any reunions. ETSN Rich Kelly was a New York City firefighter who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. The details of his death were in last falls newsletter. This year, I wrote a letter to his firehouse, Ladder 11, telling them we would be remembering him again this year at the reunion. I got a call last week from one of his fellow firefighters, and he was so grateful for our doing that. He again made the offer for any Great Sitkin Shipmate to stop by the firehouse in upper Manhattan to see Richís memorial and share a cup of coffee.
I guess what I want us all to consider this time is this; We who served on Great Sitkin are indeed a Band of Brothers. Just like all of you, I hold dear to my heart, all the relationships Iíve made during my 5 years with our association. As this year draws to a close, I sincerely want all of you to take a good, hard, look at your schedule for next August, and consider coming to Charleston for what will surely be another great reunion of Shipmates, of our own Band of Brothers.
Ships Store: IĎve got a lot of gift ideas back here guys. A new item is a really nice 4Ē round embroidered patch. The t-shirts are no longer available; a new design will make itís debut at the reunion next year. We still have plenty of hats, decals, pins and mugs. And donít forget the 71 Med Cruise DVDís. Speaking of DVDís, anyone that bought one in Texas, have you played it yet? Itís been brought to my attention that one of them wasnít fully complete. If you have a bad one, send it back and Iíll get you another one.
Money Business: A note about the checks you send; I make a deposit once a month, so it might be a while till the check you send to me clears. Also, we can only process checks drawn on US banks. We have to pay $15 for cashing a bank from out of country. And, I am trying to ship out merchandise as soon as I get the order, so please make sure the money is in your account to cover the check, as the stuff you buy will probably be shipped before your check is even cashed.
Have a good Christmas, and keep it safe!
From The Fantail: Short, to make room for the good stuff. Patti and I know that each of the attendees had a good time in Corpus Christi. We (as you could surely tell) had a wonderful time with our end of it. Let me thank all of you for your cards, e-mails and letters, thanking us for what we did, It was indeed our pleasure. I especially thank the ones that helped with the mundane chores that always accompany these events; loading and unloading the van, moving the TV and stuff, reminding us of things we forgot! as well as running errands. I hope we remembered to thank you in-person, if not, please accept our sincere appreciation in these humble words.
Charleston is coming up folks. Letís make it bigger and better than ever. Charleston is one of the nicest places we could ever hope to hold a reunion. The people are friendly, there are more things to do and more great places to eat than we could hope to list. There are historic places and things to visit and enjoy. Charleston is home to the Citadel and their Friday Parade is a must-see. The CSS Hunley is another not-to-be-missed attraction.
If you miss Charleston, you will miss a true winner. Patti and I will see you there.