Spring, 2003 15 March 2003
From our President: First, let me thank each of you for your
continued loyalty and support of our fine organization. It gives me great
pleasure to report to you that our ranks are growing, thanks to the work
of our Vice President and Membership Chairman, Doug Hauser. Let me also
thank each of you for your interest and help with the membership drive. By
contacting your old shipmates and urging their participation, the next
reunion promises to be most successful.
See you all in Virginia Beach,
Non-profit Organization, Constitution and Bylaws: During the 2002
Annual Business Meeting the members discussed and agreed on the need for
updating and revising the Bylaws and the need to form a non-profit
Nominations for Office: Nominations for Executive Board positions are now open. All Positions are up for election each year and officers may be reelected. Only ACTIVE Members, whose Annual Dues are current, are eligible to serve. All nominations for office must be received by the Association’s Secretary no later than 15 May to be published in the next edition of the newsletter. Nominations must be in writing and may be sent either by postal service or by electronic mail. Nominees will be contacted by the Secretary to insure their acceptance of the nomination and willingness to serve.
Preliminary 2003 Reunion Information: Our Hotel
will be The Holiday Inn Executive Center. Room Rates are $62 per
day plus tax. These rates are good for up to three days before and three
days after the reunion.
Lost: Clayton Schnoke, S2c, ‘46 Wayne Shepard,
Sorta Lost: These are the shipmates who have had
e-mail messages returned as bad addresses: George Inch, Joe Biancardi,
Roland Holding, Gary Gartz, Howard Townsend, Ed Rulenz, Albert Parkin,
William Provins, Dave Dunning, Thomas Fisher, Michael Rice
Honor Roll: We have been notified that seven
more of our shipmates have passed on. They have been added to the Honor
Roll. They are:
Do you remember?:
COAT AND TROUSERS; TURTLENECK; SHIRT WITH TIE, ASCOT, OR OPEN COLLAR.
SPORTS SHIRTS, INCLUDING BUTTON-DOWNS, SWEATER, CREW OR V-NECK SHIRTS SOLD AS AN OUTER GARMENT.
OVERCOATS, JACKETS AND WINDBREAKERS.
LEVIS, "PERMA PRESS," AND BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS OF VARIOUS COLORS AND MATERIALS.
WELL KEPT SHOES AND BOOTS OF VARIOUS COLORS, MATERIALS AND STYLES.
CLOTHING WHICH IS EXCESSIVELY WORN, FRAYED, SOILED OR UNPRESSED IS OF COURSE INAPPROPRIATE ANYWHERE.
ATHLETIC CLOTHES ARE TO BE WORN ONLY WHEN ENGAGED IN OR PROCEEDING TO AND FROM SPORTS ACTIVITIES.
DISTINCTIVE PARTS OF THE UNIFORM WILL NOT BE WORN WITH CIVILIAN CLOTHES.
3. I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT THIS AND OTHER RECENT DIRECTIVES CONCERNING GROOMING AND UNIFORMS ARE NOT A LOWERING OF STANDARDS BUT RATHER ARE CHANGES IN STANDARDS TO REFLECT CONTEMPORARY TIMES.
E. R. ZUMWALT, JR., ADM, USN,
Web Site Update: All of you fortunate enough to
have computers and access to the Internet should know about our website
www.greatsitkin.org. If you haven’t checked it out, please do. The website
contains a lot of information as well as some great pictures of the ship
and crew. Thanks to all the contributors, the photographs offer a good
account of the ship and her exploits. Of course we are always looking for
more pictures. Please submit them by mail or e-mail. They will be
From The Fantail: The next newsletter will include
detailed plans for the 2003 Reunion in Virginia Beach.
Mail Call: Some notes from the Website Guest Book.
I have really enjoyed to website. Remembering and corresponding with former shipmates has been great. Gypsy correct your email address. YN3 William (Bill) Manning ’70-‘73
My Father served 1963-65 Lewis J Hayes Sr. Thanks for the great web
site. We miss him much.
Coxswain, 1st loader artillery 3"50 Owe SN Fonarow of Philly, $30.00.
Kent Robertson ’59-‘62
Was my first ship brings back a lot of good and bad times. Would love to hear from some of the guys. Douglas “Rookie” Brown ’71-‘73
I like the Great Sitkin site, good memories. Jim Bradbury SN ’63-‘65
I noticed that I'm not on the "Retired" list: 9/52 to 9/72. It also appears that I'm not paid up with dues, which I'll take care of. With regard to the "state locations" you have me in Burke, VA., however, I came into the Navy from Saginaw, Michigan, if that's important. When I first came to the Great Sitkin, I was assigned to the 1st Div, worked on the deck force, was also the coxswain on #1 motor launch, and ultimately wound up in the Gun Office. Look forward to talking with some old shipmates. Robert (Bob) HAMLIN, YNC, USN(Ret) ’53-‘55
Remember 2 med cruises and a long 4 day cruise that lasted 3 mo around Cuba. Jerry Adams MM2 ’61-‘63
Have just found web site and have been enjoying the memories for the past hour. John Whitford ’70-‘72
I took out the application form to become a member. I sure am interested in knowing if any of the reunions have guys that I served with. Also my first year and a half was spent on the PT boats out of Norfolk. Any info on MTB RON 1. Thanks I will get my application in the mail right away. John J. Norton ’55-‘58
I was aboard with some great guys during my 2 Med. Cruises - On my 1st cruise I was in 2nd Div. Deck force and on my 2nd I was in Supply Div. - I reported board as SN and left the ship as SK3 - I remember a lot of different things we did and have some photos of the cruises I was on - Hope to hear from some of my shipmates. William P. Johnson ’64-‘66
Was on the Great Sitkin for the Med Cruise in 1952 and was in the electric shop (EM1). The Sitkin was a great ship and had a great crew. Hope to hear from any shipmates who were on the ship at the same time. Donald Ramsey ’52-‘53
Didn't know this site existed. Enjoyed my tour aboard the AE17. I retired June 1977. Looking forward to hearing from all I served with. Never forgot the Bent Screw. William Carroll ’63-‘66
I was an ET3 on the Sitkin and made one Med cruise. The ship was based in Bayonne, NJ at the time. Glad to find there's a site for the Sitkin. Will send in my dues and keep in touch. Richard Allen Smith ’61-‘63
If you want, you can e-mail your comments to me;
firstname.lastname@example.org or write me a regulation ole letter.
When I came aboard in November 1969, we had 3 repair stations, forward Repair 2 on the mess decks, after Repair 3 back by the steering gear room, and the Rescue and Assistance locker on the port side 01 level. During our 1970 overhaul, we added Engineering Repair 5, a neat little cage we built on the reefer flats outside of R division spaces. Ok, all that to remind everyone where Repair 3 was located.
Because of our out of the way location and its size, Repair 3 was a gathering point for a lot of R div. Hey, I even had 2 hammocks set up in there. At times, we were able to handle sales of various gee dunk items as well. Even dispensed M&M Peanut candies. A select few of you know what I’m talking about there. So, 30 years later, it’s just natural that I sell stuff out of Repair 3.
Sell stuff? Well, since you asked. I’ve got some new offerings for you that should be pictured somewhere in this newsletter. The past few years we’ve been selling ships ball caps that had the name and hull number on it. We changed the design this order. We now have them in 3 different colors, blue, tan, or white. Only the hull number, AE-17, is embroidered on the front, yellow on the blue hat, and blue on the others. One of the hats is pictured on the head of a young lady who is, believe it or not, the wife of our Association Secretary and former MPA, Don McClane. They look great, and will give you the opportunity to tell all who ask “What does AE17 mean” all about the best ammo ship in the fleet. Other items we sell are t-shirts, pins, vinyl decals, and a real nice mug.
OK, some of you probably read that and thought “best in the fleet?” You bet! Why? I guess it could have been just a rusty old C2 freighter to some. We all spent anywhere from 5 years to 5 weeks on the Great Sitkin. I did 18 months, my only “real ship.” I went from there to the Navy Reserve where I spent 27 years, retiring as a Chief Damage Controlman in 2000. On the Great Sitkin, I got my start as a volunteer Fireman, thanks to DC3 Fred Applegate. The old boat gave me my Navy start. I guess it didn’t seem it at the time, but now, 30 years later, we did a pretty good job. And the old girl didn’t look bad either. Raked stem, cruiser stern. Banging away at 18 knots with her belly full of bombs, she did cut a fine wake.
Well, now that I’ve praised the ship, how about the crew? I’m sure if you’re getting this newsletter, than you’ve taken at least some kind of steps to being contacted as a former shipmate. And if you were asked, you’d probably say that the guys you sailed with were the greatest. I know the guys from my time were. And more and more of us are turning up on the “found” list. As I get your dues checks, I see a lot of old names. “Doc” Kleinbeck, our resident Hospital Corpsman. Hey Doc, remember the speaker setup on 4 hold hatch? We just located Nick Abate, MM3 from A gang. Hey Nick, how about when we burnt the shaft spring bearings on our way to the Med? Yeah, I bet a lot of you remember that! OK, that was a sample of what can happen when old shipmates get together, for a reunion maybe?
Well, here’s your chance. We gather this year in Virginia Beach for our reunion. Details are provided in another section of this newsletter. But, those of you that are maybe thinking, “why go there?” I’d like to add some more information for your consideration. For those that don’t remember, Norfolk is also in the Virginia Beach scenario. In fact, the hotel is actually in Norfolk. Our reunion coordinator, and association VP, Doug Hauser, has assembled an outstanding package for us. But, seeing how the special hotel reunion rate is good for a number of days before and after the actual reunion, you might want to consider making a longer stay an idea. For “old Sailors,” the Norfolk / Tidewater area is a goldmine. The Maritime Museum in Newport News is good for a day, and has more nautical displays than you can imagine, the newest of which is the gun turret from the USS Monitor.
If you’re a retired Navy type, the Navy exchange complex is huge. I’m also working with a few active duty Navy contacts about some of us getting a ship tour too. For the shoppers among us, Williamsburg has one of the biggest outlet stores complex in the East, as well as the Williamsburg Pottery Outlet. Also in the Williamsburg area is Busch Gardens Old Country theme park, good for at least 2 days, one to spend riding the roller coasters, the other for the rest of the rides and attractions. There are many more things to do and see in the area. If you’d like more info, feel free to call, or email me. My phone number and email address are listed on the front page of the newsletter.
Ok, I’ve used up more than my space. Time to lock up and hit the rack. Keep it safe guys, till next time.
Anniversary Mini Reunion: Looking for Shipmates interested in a
mini reunion on the Battleship New Jersey, located on the waterfront in
Camden, NJ, Saturday, June 29th 2003.
US Navy Ship Nicknames per the Naval Archives:
USS SIERRA (AD-18): High Sierra (Drug problems)
USS EVERGLADES (AD-24): The Swamp Lady
USS PUGET SOUND (AD-38): Putrid Sound, Pubic Mound
USS YELLOWSTONE (AD-41): Jellystone
USS SHENANDOAH (AD-44): The Bear
USS GREAT SITKIN (AE-17): Great Shit Can
USS NITRO (AE-23): The Grey Ghost From the Jersey Coast
USS FLINT (AE-32): The Bedrock Bullet
USS DENEBOLA (AF-56): The Dirty “D”
USS OXFORD (AG-169 / AGTR-1): The Ox
USS TACONIC (AGC-17) Titanic
USS LASALLE (AGF-3): Ghost off the Arabian Coast
USS CORONADO (AGF-11): The Death Star
USS MAURY (AGSC-16): Little Mac
USS JUPITER (AKS-8): Baka Hachi Maru
USS BETELGEUSE (T-AK-260): Beetle Goose
USS CANISTEO (AO-99): Can o’ shit
USS WACCAMAW (AO-109): Whack Me Off
USS NEOSHO (AO-143): No Go, No Show
USS KAWISHIWI (AO-146): Special “K”, Triple “A”
USS TRUCKEE (AO-147): Keep on Truckin’
USS WILLAMETTE (AO-180): Will Ram It
USS SYLVANIA (AFS-2): Super Syl
USS WHITE PLAINS (AFS-4): White Flames, The Orient Express
USS SHIPPINGPORT (ARDM-4): Stuck in Port
USS FULTON (AS-11): BLDG-11
USS PROTEUS (AS-19): BLDG-19, The Old Pro
USS SIMON LAKE (AS-33): Sea Moan Laga (To Taxi Drivers in Rota, Spain)
USS CANOPUS (AS-34): Can o’ Piss
USS BUTTE (AE-27): The Big Butt
USS CONSERVER (ARS-39): The Fighting “C” (Crew was known to fight over anything)
More about the Reunion:Shipmates, the Reunion is going to be very special this year. 30 years ago, our ship was decommissioned. The Great Sitkin was our duty station, our home, our work and for most of us, a lot of education.
There are few things in life that offer the friendships and special bonding of our Reunions. Without getting really corny, let me say that they are more than “Special” in our lives. Remembering the Great Sitkin and all the experiences we had with each other, sharing those memories and renewing the friendships, makes taking a vacation with our shipmates a great thing to do.
Turn the page back to that calendar. Mark the days you can be there. Call the number to make your reservations. All of us want to see you. All of us will welcome the chance to shake your hand and say those words again. “Hello Shipmate”
See you in Virginia Beach
Sea Stories:The following are two Great Sitkin Moments as they are remembered by Shipmate Mike La Fauci.
The Bent Screw Incident - 1965
SM3 Mike La Fauci, October 1964 - May 1967: This is a story about the infamous “bent screw”. It’s taken me a while to put it on paper, but to the best of my recollection I think I have most of the facts straight. Now, I understand that there might have been TWO bent screw episodes and I mention this so as not to confuse the issue. The episode I remember was during my time aboard the USS Great Sitkin, which was late 1964 until mid-1967.
The event I recall occurred while the ship was being docked at the ammunition pier in Crete. It was a blustery, cold morning and the ship was conned by a junior officer.
As the ship made the approach to the pier the stern moved towards the pier (which was constructed of concrete). I think the wind might have been the culprit; in any event the stern swung into the pier while the screw was still turning. This resulted in the loveliest curved edges to the ship’s screw. There was a big “to-do” over who was to blame but in the end I believe the Captain took responsibility. In any case, we were out of the ballgame as far as the 6th Fleet was concerned.
A new screw was sent to us and was secured to the fantail. I was a young kid at the time and thought the screw was huge. It was pointed out to me that if the screw were melted down in MIGHT make enough metal to become a nut on an aircraft carrier’s screw.
It is my recollection that we made our way from Crete to Rota, Spain, where we off-loaded everything aboard and then got towed to Gibraltar, where repairs were made. I might be wrong about which leg we did under our own power and which leg we were towed. I do remember that the emergency power on the ship went out during the tow and I had to signal the towing ship of this with a battle lantern.
Upon completion of the repair work we returned to Rota, onloaded all our ammo and then rejoined the Fleet and continued the usual operations of rearming and replenishing.
Collision During UNREP
graphic courtesy of: