2002 Reunion: Our hosts for this years Annual Great
Sitkin Association Reunion, shipmate Doug Hauser and his wife Kathy, have
been working hard and have done an another outstanding job getting the
events and nice hotel accommodations lined up for us. Details for this year’s
bash are as follows:
Doubletree Hotel Omaha, Downtown, located at 1616 Dodge Street. This is
close to the airport and the Historic section of Omaha. They provide a free
shuttle service to and from the airport for those of you who are flying in.
For those who are driving in, there is covered parking available at the
hotel for a cost of $4.00 per day. The rooms are $74.00 night, single or
double occupancy and feature complimentary coffee makers, hair dryers, irons
& ironing boards for your convenience along with a reduced rate for
breakfast. Prices will be good for 2 days prior to and 2 days after the
scheduled dates for those taking an extended vacation. Reservations must be
made no later than August 16, 2002 to guarantee these prices. Reservations
can be made by calling (402)346-7600 or Toll Free (800)222-8733. You must
mention that it is for the USS Great Sitkin Association Reunion.
events include a dinner excursion aboard the Fremont Dinner Train on Friday
evening, Sept. 6th from 4:30 - 11:00 PM; a tour of the US Air Force
Strategic Air & Space Museum on Saturday, Sept. 7th from 8:30 AM— 2:00
PM with a lunch at Mahoney State Park; and the Annual Dinner Banquet on
Saturday evening, from 7:00—11:00 PM with Cocktail Hour commencing at 6:00
PM. The Banquet will have a DJ to provide music for your dancing and
listening pleasure, so bring your dancing shoes and get ready to party!!!!!
There are also a couple of Optional tours available for those wishing
to attend them. One is the Durham Western Heritage Museum on Friday, Sept.
6th from 8:30 AM—Noon; and the other is the Henry Doorly Zoo on Sunday,
Sept. 8th from 10:00 AM— 2:00 PM
ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING and
HONOR CEREMONY: The Annual Business Meeting and
Memorial Ceremony will be held on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM in the Hotel
Hospitality Room located on the 3rd Floor.
Doug has lined up a really nice Hospitality Room for people to use to relax
and talk. Located on the 3rd floor, the “Capital Dodge Room” will be
available daily from 8:00 AM— Midnight Wednesday thru Sunday. There will
be coffee & sodas along with snacks - cheese & crackers, peanuts,
etc. - available. We will also have the Ship’s Store set up there for
those who would like to purchase items we have available.
For your convenience, a USS Great Sitkin Association 2002 Reunion
Registration Form is enclosed. It is also available on the web site or you
can call Doug at (334)277-2151 or E-mail him at Hauserae17@aol.com. He will
be glad to send you one.
Bravo Zulu to Doug and Kathy for another outstanding job of getting
things ready for us to enjoy. It sounds like it will be a lot of fun and we
hope to see all of you there.
Honor Roll: Since the last newsletter we have received notice
that several more of our shipmates have passed on. All have been added to
the web pages and will be added to the list for the Memorial Ceremony at the
next reunion. They are:
Duane Trossen, SK3, ‘50
Glenn Frankenbach, SH1, ‘52
John Yankowskas, SN, ‘55
Paul Armato, SA, ‘51
Charles Sode, BTC, ‘59
Our condolences to their family
Election of Officers: The Association By-laws calls for the election of
officers each year with the election to coincide with the annual reunion.
All positions are up for election each year and officers may be re-elected.
The following Articles of the Constitution apply:
- Right to Vote: Only an ACTIVE MEMBER who is present
or has submitted an absentee ballot is entitled to nominate and vote at the
Annual Membership Meeting.
- Eligible to Serve: Only an ACTIVE MEMBER who is
present or who has made a commitment on an absentee ballott is eligible to
serve as an officer.
- Active Member: One who has paid his annual dues.
Nominations for office must be received no later than 1 June 2002.
Nominations may be sent to the Secretary/Treasurer either by E-mail or
Web site update: More new pictures of cruises and shipmates have been
added along with pictures and Registration Forms for the 2002 Reunion and
additional items for the Ship’s Store. Be sure to check it out at
www.greatsitkin.org and let us know what you think.
Membership Dues: by Doug Hauser
First, I want to thank all of you who have decided to become “Active
Members” for supporting the Association by sending in your dues of $15.00.
They are very much appreciated and very badly needed in order to continue to
support our web site and Newsletters.
Over the past year, our “Active Member” roster has grown from
around 65 to 180 members. While this growth has been fantastic, we still
need more of you to consider becoming “Active Members” if we are to
continue to keep mailing almost 900 newsletters 3 times a year; and also
keep the web site up and running. Cost for these is not cheap with the
newsletter costing around $500.00 per edition for printing and postage; and
the web site around $100.00 per year to have it “hosted” on a server
that keeps those annoying banners and advertisements from popping up. Also,
as you may have heard, the US Postal Service has asked for and gotten
approval for another rate hike. This means that our costs will also rise
So, I am asking those of you who have not already done so to pick up
your pens today, fill out the Active Membership Application (found here in
the newsletter or on the web site) and mail it to me along with your check for $15.00 for this
years dues. I will process your application and send you a USS Great Sitkin
(AE-17) Association Active Membership card.
Oh, by the way, “Active Members” are also eligible to vote at
meetings, help to select the reunion site for the coming year, elect the
Association’s Board of Directors and make suggestion for improving the
association and making it better for us all.
Also, please do try and attend reunions. They are a great place to
meet your old shipmates and also meet also new people from all the years she
was in commission. Besides you will have fun and wonder why you have waited
so long, like I did.
While I’m on the subject of Reunions, we also need people who are
interested in Hosting a reunion in your home town or close by. It is a
little work, but I think it is a lot of fun too. All you need to do is get
together some rough costs for lodging and some possible tours and either
present it to the group at the Annual Business Meeting, or send it to one of
the Association officers for presentation. Your local Convention Center is a
good source for this information, and they are usually very happy to help.
As I live a little over a 1000 miles away from Omaha, the Convention Center
there has helped me a lot in planning for the coming reunion. I would be
happy to work with you if you chose to hold one in your area.
Thank you to those picking up that pen, and paying your first dues,
for your support.
Also, thank you to those who have continued to support the
Association with Membership renewals.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may
have or if you need help. You can contact me by mail, phone or E-Mail. I am
retired so I am home most of the time. Leave a message and I will get back
Found – now Lost: Since the November newsletter the following is the
list of shipmates we have recently lost contact with:
Frank Sagmeister, Peter Sluka, Hardy
Bush, Terry Taber,
Albert Snapp, Michael Germain, Gregory Bradner,
William Sweetman, Keith Morgan, Christopher Smith
In addition, the following is our list of “Bad E-mail” addresses:
Cliff Hoffman, John Shade, Joe Galey, Charles
Evans, Ken Bagarella,
Murray Cato, Mike LaFauci, John Shuble, Leslie
Fred Gallagher, Arthur Bjorkner
If anyone knows the whereabouts of these shipmates, or has current
E-mail addresses for them, please contact us at the Association’s mailing
address or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Finds: Since the last Newsletter 13 more of our shipmates have been
located. These new finds are:
Albert Merchant, ICFN, ‘67
Michael Delpidio, SA, ‘53
Edward Unterseher, RM3, ‘61
Leslie Martinez, MMFN, ‘72
Howard Townsend, GM3, ‘57
Thomas DeJarlais, FN, ‘57
David Martin, ETN2, ‘72
Maynard Chiglo, ChGun ‘45
William Manning Jr., YN3, ‘70
David Dunning, BM3, ‘64
James Palmer, ENS, ‘65
Thomas Fisher, SR, ‘64
Craig Connors, MM3, ‘65
Treasurers Report: by George Kaiser, Secretary/Treasurer
Not much to write about this time around guys. I did want to say
thanks for everyone that is making the effort to send in their dues. Checks
continue to come in on a fairly continuous basis. I’d like to point out
again though, that the dues year for the association runs from September 1st
to August 30th. We just have to assume that any money we receive
mid year is for membership that ends on August 30th this year.
One more thing about dues, it would really help us if you fill out a
membership application, even for renewals, when you send your check. If you
don’t have an one, at least put a piece of paper with your address and
other good info on it. Sometimes just the check won’t even let us know who
the sender is. And, speaking of checks, please make sure your bank account
has enough money in it to cover the check. Returned checks cost the
association $12 in processing fees, plus the dues money we lose.
Don’t forget the reunion coming up in September. As a 70's
crewmember, it was great having all my shipmates from that time in Mobile. I’m
making a special appeal to my fellow “R” Division guys to come to Omaha.
Hey Ed Hart, Carl Anderson, Paul Delorco, Fred Applegate, where you guys at?
Get off the wallet at least once and come on out! Or, at the very least,
give me a call or e-mail me and we can chat about it!
Are any of you making an effort to find any of your old buddies from
the Great Sitkin? We have pretty much exhausted our efforts at locating
former crew, and are relying on web site contacts and personal searches for
new additions. As this newsletter goes to press this time, I am in “hot
pursuit” of DC2 Gary Miller, a fellow “R” division shipmate. I
managed to track down a few leads, I’ll let you know how I make out.
One last word about our Mobile, Alabama reunion and Sept 11th.
Last month I had the opportunity to visit New York City. We went to the
firehouse of FDNY Ladder 5 / Engine 24. They lost 8 firefighters and their 2
month old fire truck. After our visit, we went to the site of the
World Trade Center (I feel that to call it “Ground Zero” is an affront
to all those who died there). As I stood overlooking the clean up going on,
I could not help feeling bad about our celebrating in Mobile while so much
heartache and loss was going on in New York. I know our thoughts were with
the victims of that day, and to cancel the reunion would have been giving in
to the terrorists agenda, but I also cannot help feeling the way I did while
standing there in the midst of the carnage. Next year is the 30th
Anniversary of the Great Sitkin’s decommissioning, and I think it would be
good to hold the reunion that year in, our at least close to, New York City.
But...we’ll talk about that in Omaha. Hope to see you all there!
From our Shipmates: Throughout the course of the year we receive
numerous letters, E-mails and other correspondence from various crew
members. Here are excerpts of from a few of those:
“Hi Ron, I want to share a short story with you. One
day I mentioned to my wife that I never did find out where the volcano Great
Sitkin was. Later that evening she called me into the den and pointed to the
computer screen. There at the top of the page was the link to the ship’s
web site. We both just looked at each other in disbelief. We clicked the
link and as the screen filled with words, logos and pictures, my eyes filled
with tears. It got better ~ “crew roster”, 1960, letter B, scroll down
and there I was. I will never forget the feeling I got. For that I will
always be grateful to you and everyone else who made it all possible.” from
Joe Biancardi ‘60
“I enjoy receiving the news letter. Thanks”. from Richard Bonnel ‘57
“I like the new look & attitude. Keep up the good work.” from
Lou Baca ‘55
“A good job by all officers of the association. Keep up the good work.
Newsletter is excellent.” from James Crooke ’52
“A few of us waited ‘til she was built. We came over from the USS Mozoma
(AEA-9)” from Robert Hockman ‘45
“I enjoy the web page very much. I had some pictures of the DE that blew
up in Red Bank across the pier from us but have lost them over the years. It
was fun watching the crew learning to handle ammo. Longshoreman loaded the
first load of ammo we took out to sea and dumped. Everybody was new to the
ship and we had to learn”. from Roland Holding ‘46
“Looking forward to the reunion. You guys are doing a terrific job”. From
Paul Finical ‘61
“Keep up the good work. Wife’s health precludes reunion attendance. We
look forward to the newsletters”. From B.J. Reynolds ‘71
“This is an outstanding association. Thanks for all the hard work. AE-17
was my first ship. Many memories”. from Joseph Savadge ‘72
“It’s great to be associated with shipmates on my first ship”. Howard
“The Great Sitkin was my first ship, I still think she was a great ship.
Hard work and long hours”. from Leon Ryder ‘49
“You are doing a great job. Sorry I’m not making reunions. I’ll make
it yet”. from Hugh “Spider” Nuremberg ‘51
“Just learned about the passing of Glenn Frankenbach. Glenn helped me to
organize the reunions back in 1990. He was a dear shipmate. The reunions
could not have been a success without his help. Rest in Peace dear shipmate.
Fair sailing in your next voyage.”
from Domenick Indelicato ‘51
“I enjoy the web page very much. I had some
pictures of the DE that blew up in Red Bank across the pier from us but have
lost them over the years. It was fun watching the crew learning to handle
ammo. Longshoreman loaded the first load of ammo we took out to sea and
dumped. Everybody was new to the ship and we had to learn”. from
Roland Holding ‘46
“Cold enough to freeze….” Now all of you have probably heard
or said this old sea going phrase at some time or other during your stint in
the Navy - but how many of you know the origin of this phrase and it’s
As we all know during the heyday of sailing ships, war ships and some
freighters carried iron cannons and those cannons fired round iron cannon
balls. To be ready for enemy warships, pirates or privateers it was
necessary to keep a good supply of cannon balls next to each gun, but also
prevent them from rolling about the deck. The best storage method devised
was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four, resting on
nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus a supply of thirty cannon balls could be
stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem—how
to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling out from under the others.
The solution was a metal plate with sixteen round indentations in it
called a “Monkey”. If the plate was made of iron, the iron cannon balls
would quickly rust to it. To solve the rusting problem, the plate was made
of brass—thus the term “Brass Monkey”.
Now brass contracts much more than iron when chilled. Consequently,
when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so
much that the cannon balls would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was
quite literally, “Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!”