Spring,  2003                                                                                                                    15 March 2003

Association Officers

President
Ron Zimmerman Sr.
1000 SE Everett Mall Way
Suite 206
Everett, WA 98208
(425)710-2100
ae17assn@aol.com

Vice President
Doug Hauser
609 Hillsboro Rd.
Montgomery, AL 36109
(334)277-2151
hauserae17@aol.com

Secretary
Don McClane
2613 Dalgreen Court
Plano, TX 75075
(972)985-0763
no1intex@attbi.com

Treasurer
George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036
(610)237-1652
dcckaiser@juno.com


USS Great Sitkin Association
Web Site
www.greatsitkin.org

2003 REUNION
Virginia Beach, VA
11th - 14th Sept.

  

 

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.
    It is important to start making your plans for Reunion 2003 in Virginia Beach. Doug has been busy putting together our package of meals, tours and fun events. The Virginia Beach and Norfolk area has a lot to offer. If you come early or stay late, the opportunities are outstanding.
    Our reunions seem to get better with each passing year. Please help with your attendance to make Reunion 2003 the best ever.
    Your President and Executive Board have been pretty busy. I have outlined below, some of the business that has gotten a lot of our attention.

See you all in Virginia Beach,
Ron

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 corporation.
    The proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws, have been completed and will be presented to the membership for a vote during the next Annual Business Meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, September 13th, 2003. A copy of the proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws will be provided to all ACTIVE Members in attendance with their Reunion Registration Package upon arrival. Considerable time and effort has been afforded by the Executive Board to insure the changes represent fairness and protection for our association and its members. Your review and approval is much appreciated.
    With regard to the Non-profit Organization, The Articles of Incorporation have been filed with the Delaware Secretary of State. The association has received a Certificate of Incorporation from them. As of January 30, 2003, The USS Great Sitkin (AE-17) Association is now a Delaware Non-stock, Non-profit Organization.
    We have applied for and expect to obtain the very important “Tax Exempt” status from the IRS. The forms are “In Process” and I expect to have a letter of determination by the time for Reunion 2003.

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.
    The Reunion Package: $138 per person. This includes transportation for all tours.
        Schedule:
  Friday, September 12th, From 8:00 am until 4:30 pm , The Historical Williamsburg Tour.
This will be an optional tour. The additional cost per person is: $32. Bring your cameras. Everyone will enjoy this.
  Friday Evening, September 12th. Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. An evening to remember. 
  Saturday, September 13th, Naval Base Tour. Make sure to bring a picture I.D. Only women’s purses and cameras are allowed.
  Saturday Afternoon, Annual Business Meeting. Old and new business, election of Association Officers.
  Saturday Evening, Cocktail Hour (Cash Bar), Dinner and entertainment, Take Two, followed by a live band with a singer, the Katz "N" Jammer's
  Sunday September 14th
, Mess Tent Buffet Breakfast. This is a time to wish a fond farewell to our Shipmates leaving on Sunday. 
  Make your reservation's soon by calling the Holiday Inn Executive Center, 757-499-4400, make sure to mention The USS Great Sitkin Reunion for the special rate. These special rates are good for 3 days prior and 3 days after the reunion, so why not plan your vacation in the area and take advantage of them?
  If you would like to get a head start and pay in advance you may do so by sending  your check to me at the following address. You will receive a confirmation by return mail. 
           USS Great Sitkin (AE-17) 2003 Reunion
           c/o Doug Hauser               
         
 609 Hillsboro Road            
           Montgomery, AL 36109      

  Please Note:
The tours are paid for and booked two weeks in advance. Those monies cannot be returned after that time. All other cancellation refunds will be paid.  

Found Shipmates:
Henry “Dan” Hoff, RDSN, ‘55     John Whitford, SK2, ‘70
Thomas Ewing, SH2, ‘68          Claude Kline, SA, ‘50
John Norton, SK3, ‘56              Charles Puglisi, MM3, ‘61
John Colling, FN, ‘61                Donald Carlson, EMFN, ‘71
David Michaels, SR, ‘71           John Windover, SN, ‘71
Jerry Adams, MM2, ‘61            John Ogert, BMC, ‘67
Alfred Luck, GMG3, ‘69            William Morrison, PC3, ‘68
Nicholas Abate, MM3, ‘68         Peter Scott, Ens. ‘67

Lost: Clayton Schnoke, S2c, ‘46    Wayne Shepard, BM3, ‘66   
Stuart Gibson, RD3, ‘56    Roman Cantos, SKC, ‘71

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
 Please e-mail your correct address to;
      Don McClane    no1intex@attbi.com

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:
Charles Schlaffer, BM3, ‘56        Harry Lukens, SN, ‘66       
Hillard Petersen, SN, ‘53            Clark Rohlfing, FN, ‘53
James Speicher, FN, ‘52            Richard Lawrick, SA, ‘49   
Dale Ziegler, MR3, ‘66 
   We wish to express our deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to their family and friends. 

Do you remember?:
FROM: CNO (Z-68 )
TO: NAVOP
UNCLAS //N01020//
231350Z DEC 70
CIVILIAN CLOTHES ABOARD SHIP
A. CNO 301504Z JUL 70 {NAVOP Z-05}
1. IN VIEW OF THE ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE TO PILOT PROGRAM AUTHORIZING FIRST CLASS PETTY OFFICERS TO MAINTAIN CIVILIAN CLOTHES ABOARD SHIP FOR WEARING ASHORE ON LEAVE AND LIBERTY, PRIVILEGE IS HEREBY EXTENDED TO ALL PETTY OFFICERS ON ALL SHIPS.
2. PROVISIONS OF REF A REGARDING TYPE AND STYLE OF CLOTHING WILL BE OBSERVED. RECOGNIZING THAT GUIDANCE CANNOT BE PROVIDED TO MEET ALL LOCAL CONDITIONS, FOLLOWING EXAMPLES ARE PROVIDED FOR GUIDANCE OF COMMANDING OFFICERS IN DETERMINING APPROPRIATE ATTIRE:

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,
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.

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 returned.
Ron Zimmerman 
ae17assn@att.net

From The Fantail: The next newsletter will include detailed plans for the 2003 Reunion in Virginia Beach.
   Doug Hauser and his wife Kathy have once again volunteered their time and efforts as Host and Hostess. George Kaiser, our Treasurer has helped extensively with the planning and scope of the Reunion.
   I want to remind all of our Shipmates that these Reunions are the reason for our association’s existence. The twenty dollars a year we shell out pays for the newsletter and stamps. All of our known shipmates get a copy, even the non-paying members. (That’s a hint folks) The Reunion costs are paid with the price of the package. Doug, Kathy, George and other contributors do their work for the love of the association. Please be sure to thank them personally when you come to Virginia Beach. They deserve a good pat on the back.
Don McClane
Secretary

Mail Call: Some notes from the Website Guest Book.
Again thanks for the awesome job you are doing for the Great Sitkin crew. I will be there in Sept. Thanks, Joe Savadge 72-73

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.
Lewis Hayes Jr.

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; no1intex@attbi.com or write me a regulation ole letter.
Don McClane
2613 Dalgreen Ct.
Plano, TX 75075

REPORT FROM REPAIR 3: Hi to all the crew. For those who don’t remember, I’m George Kaiser, Treasurer for the Great Sitkin Association. I also handle the Ships Store sales for the association. I reported aboard Great Sitkin as a DCFN and advanced to DC3 in May 1971. I had a lot of assignments, one of which was the care and feeding of Repair 3. I guess a quick refresher tour is in order here.
   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.
George Kaiser
Treasurer

30th Decommissioning 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.
   We will be commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Great Sitkin decommissioning on July 2, 1973.
   Plans are for a luncheon on the New Jersey, followed by a wreath laying ceremony. Costs haven’t been set yet, but should be around $15 each.
   This would be a good time for some of our east coast crew to get together for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re interested, email or call:
George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036
(610)237-1652
Dcckaiser@juno.com

US Navy Ship Nicknames per the Naval Archives:
There are too many to have a complete list but here are a few of interest to us.
AUXILIARIES:
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)
    Seamen Lake
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
  Don McClane
 
Secretary

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

SM3 Mike La Fauci, October 1964 - May 1967:
We had many different things happen in those couple of years I was aboard. Three fires, a collision at sea during replenishing, a runaway anchor (which we lost), a bad storm where the inclinometer read an amazing 34 degree starboard roll, a crack in the hull from the waterline to the main deck starboard side, playing “chicken” with a Russian guided missile cruiser....the list goes on and on.
   I remember the collision with one of our ships very well. I was on the forward deck, helping load skid boxes and nets full of ammo for a ship that was alongside us to port. I noticed the ship seemed to be getting closer and closer and took a quick peek at the phone cable, which, if you remember, was marked with different colors to be a quick reference guide of the distance between ships. I seem to recall we were inside the 60’ mark, so I went over to BM1 John Homick, who was leaning on the port rail drinking a coffee. I said to John, “Boats, that ship is getting pretty close, isn’t it?” He said to me (in his typical salty style), “Kid, I’ve seen them a lot closer than that.” Just then the ship began moving away from us and I was feeling a little better about things. But the ship kept moving away at a rapid pace and we were still hooked up to them! Then the ship began turning again and ran right at us until we collided. I was just in time to see John Homick complete the fastest port-to-starboard sprint I have ever witnessed. His coffee cup sat there on the port rail and he was gone! I yelled after him, “Hey John....Have you ever seen one THAT close?”. I don’t think he heard me....John, if you DID hear me, now is the time to ‘fess up. Although I never heard an official story about what happened, it was rumored that the ship we were rearming had lost steering on the bridge. A call went down to aft steering to take over....but the people aft were either snoozing or couldn’t be raised. In any case, I was a happy chappy to find us still floating and with only minimal cosmetic damage to the port side. A big dent and some red lead showing through a big scrape in the hull was all we had to show for that scary event. .


 

  Patriotic graphic courtesy of: