Always Ready
Spring, 2004                                                                                                                    15 March, 2004

 

Association Officers

 

President
Ron Zimmerman Sr.
1000 SE Everett Mall Way, # 402
Everett, WA 98208
(425)356-3100
ae17assn@att.net
 

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

Secretary
Don McClane
2613 Dalgreen Court
Plano, TX 75075
(972)985-0763
no1intex@comcast.net
 
Treasurer
George Kaiser
311 W. Oak Lane
Glenolden, PA 19036
(610)237-1652
dcckaiser@juno.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12th
Annual Reunion

8 - 11 Sept 2004

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TEXAS
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From our President: Shipmates, there’s not a lot to report this time so I’ll keep this short so our Secretary and 2004 Reunion Host, Don McClane, will have lots of room to give you the latest on this year’s festivities. Both Patti and Don have put a lot of time and thought into putting the tours and events together and from what I’ve seen it sounds like it is gonna be one heck of a lot of fun. Be sure to check out the 2004 Reunion Information link on the web site “Welcome” page, www.greatsitkin.org

Web Site - We have purchased the additional server space that the group approved at the last annual business meeting so we have lots of room now for the web site to grow. This update we added pictures from the ’62 & ’69 Med Cruises, more pictures from the ’68 West Pac Cruise and some pictures of shipmates. We also added some couples pictures from the 2003 Reunion. If you have pictures of cruises and/or shipmates that you’d like to submit for the web site, let me know and I’ll supply the info on how to best get them to me.

Honor Roll:
Gerald Wolff, MM3, ’56;                  Gordon Bedford, S1c, ’45;
Harld Schreck, S2c, ’46;                 Paul DiPilato, RM3, ‘63
Donald Beagle, SA, ’51;                  Martin Pietryak, SN, ‘51
Frederick Rohrer, EMC, ’71;            Robert Kapas, SN, ‘61
Eldon Geiger, SK2, ’51;                  Terrence Quinn, RM3, ‘59
Ernest Gedenberg, SKSN, ’48;        Larry Staley, MM2, ‘55
Taylor Osborne Jr., RM1, ‘72,          Charles Overeem, ET2, '59
    We wish to express our deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences to their family and friends.

New Finds:  Welcome Aboard:
Russell Tipping, SA, 63; Eric Simmons, SN, ’64; Anthony Fernandez, ETR2, ’61; Terry Taber, SA ’70; Ken Drummond, SKD2, ’45; Donald Bost, FN ‘69 and Ronald J. Barath, SA, '54 

Sorta Lost: (AKA Bad E-mail Address List)
Harry Upton, Claude Kline, Curtis Cassady, James Baze, Russell Roll, John Daly, John Ogert, William Winder, James Krouse, Tom Ollom, Robert Tilley, Gary Cowfer, Ernest Loser, James Talley, Ralph Knoerr, David Terwilliger, Bobby Knoskie, Joe Foster, James Johnston, Robert Veit, Francis Doyle, Jerald Edwards, Ron McIlhenny. 
  This list is generated by e-mails being returned to one of the Executive Board members as undeliverable (“Mailer Demon”). If your e-mail address hasn’t changed, but your name appears on the list, then it might be caused by you blocking e-mails sent by one of us. If you do not want to receive any e-mails from the Association, just let us know and we will remove your address. PLEASE let us know when you change your e-mail address so we can update our master data base. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep the information on located shipmates updated, you can help by keeping us informed of any changes to your information by e-mailing any of the Executive Board members. 
Ron Zimmerman
President


Preliminary 2004 Reunion Information:
   
Our Hotel will be The Holiday Inn Emerald Beach. Room Rates are $79 per day. These rates are good for up to three days before and three days after the reunion. 
    The Reunion Package: $135 per person. This includes transportation for all tours with the exception of Wednesday’s tour of the King Ranch and Friday night’s Texas Treasures Cruise.

Reunion Schedule
September 8, Registration

Wednesday September 8th 9AM:  The Famous King Ranch Tour.
This is an OPTIONAL tour. It is only for those that come at least a day early. The tour will include a cowboy barbeque lunch, the Historical Tour of the ranch and the Feed Lot as well as the Museum and a chance to shop and explore Kingsville. $50 each.

Thursday, September 9th 9 AM: US Naval Base Ingleside.
This tour is included in the package and includes a guided bus ride across Mustang Island and a Ferry Ride across the bay to Ingleside, a tour of a Minesweeper, Lunch with the crew and a Firefighting Demonstration.

Friday Morning, September 10th 9AM: The USS Lexington
for our Memorial Ceremony in the Hanger Bay, Tour the ship and a catered lunch. After lunch take a short walk next door to The Texas State Aquarium. As you will see, this is a lot more than an Aquarium. Very classy and lot’s to see. 

Friday Evening, Texas Treasures Cruise.
This is the second OPTIONAL tour and includes transportation, A must do for those of us that enjoy a First Class Evening of Food, Cruising and Gaming. $45 each. 

Saturday, September 11th, FREE DAY
This is your time to enjoy some of the other attractions in and around Corpus Christi. Our Best Recommendation: Drive out to Padre Island National Park or take a Harbor Tour. 

Saturday Afternoon, Annual Business Meeting.
Old and new business, election of Association Officers. 

Saturday Evening, Cocktail Hour (Cash Bar), Our Annual Banquet Dinner
and entertainment. 

Make your reservation's soon by calling the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach at 800–456-4329 or direct 361-883-5731. To assure our special rates refer to group code: GSR.  These special rates are good for 3 days prior and 3 days after the reunion, so why not plan a great vacation in the area and take advantage of them?

I highly recommend reserving your reunion package early. The King Ranch and Texas Treasurers Cruise must be paid in advance. You will receive a confirmation by return mail.  Mail your check to:
USS Great Sitkin AE-17 Association
% Don McClane
2613 Dalgreen Ct.
Plano, TX 75075

An “Early Bird Drawing” will be held among the first twenty people to register for the reunion. The Prize is to be determined. (I’ll make sure it’s a good one) 

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.

From The Desk of the Vice President: 
Please let me thank you all again for a great reunion in 2003.
    Shipmates, I am greatly disappointed that those of you who bought pictures at the last reunion haven't received them. I apologize. Ron Zimmerman is trying to find out what happened and hopefully we will get some satisfaction. Anyone that purchased pictures at the reunion in Virginia Beach and did not receive their order may contact either myself or Ron Zimmerman by phone, e-mail or snail mail.
    I hope to see all of you in Corpus Christi, Texas. Your hosts this year are Don and Patti McClane.
    Kathy and I have been working on our 2005 reunion in Charleston, SC. This reunion will mark the 60th Anniversary of the ship's commissioning.
Thank you,
Doug Hauser
Vice President


Membership Chairman ‘s Report: 
I want to thank the many of you who have paid their dues for 2004. We now have over 200 paid association members. There are still many of you that haven't paid and I know with a little effort we could reach the 250 mark or more. Please remember that our annual dues are for the time period from Jan 1 to Dec 31. Those of you who haven't paid for this current year 2004, please, mail your dues as soon as possible.
    We have over 900 shipmates on our mailing list. Remember, you are all members, but I hope many more could become Active Members by joining us. Dues are only $20.00 per year and it helps support the newsletter and Web Site. The Web Site is growing by leaps and bounds and this we owe to Ron Zimmerman our President and Web Master. So, please become an active member and do your part to support our organization.
Thank you,
Doug Hauser
Membership Chairman

REPAIR 3 REPORT: 
Hi to everyone. Hope you are all weathering the winter ok. To start things off, I’d like to tell you about a new item available from my “stash” back here in the repair locker.
    When I did my Med Cruise in 1971, I took movies with my state of the art, Super 8 mm camera. A long time ago, I put all the little reels together to make a 21 minute long “feature.” Now, I’ve had them put on DVD, and they’re available from the ships store for $20. Now, you might ask, “Why would I want to have a copy of George Kaisers Med Cruise movies?” Well, maybe here’s why.
    All the movies I took were of the ships activities. Underway replenishment, the time we broke down and were visited by a Spanish shrimp boat, various crew members mugging it up for the camera, plus lots of good looks at some of the ships we sailed with. There is no sound, but the DVD comes with a written narration of what’s going on. If you’d like a copy, send your order to my address.
    Other ships store items are listed on another page of the newsletter. One more thing about the t shirts. We are down to the last few shirts, and we won’t be reordering this design, so get your shirt orders in soon.
    I’m sure Don will cover the 2004 Reunion in other parts of the newsletter, but allow me a few lines with my thoughts.    Don is trying something new this year, in an effort to make the reunion experience more of a total vacation package for those that wish to make it that, plus allow some structured time for old Shipmates to interact with each other. You’ll see that there are trips planned for Wednesday and Thursday, and that Saturday morning is set aside for “free time.” Me and CINCHOUSE, (Commander In Chief, House, aka: my wife) will be coming in on Tuesday and making a week out of it. I’m really excited about the trip to the Ingleside Navy Base and the fire fighting demonstration. Hey, think they’ll let me man a hose? 
    Speaking of fire fighting, another new feature this month from Repair 3 is a walk down memory lane. I’m going to reach into the bin and pull out an Oxygen Breathing Apparatus, or OBA.
    The Type A-3 Navy OBA started replacing the Type A-2 Navy OBA in 1953. The Type A-3 was a self-contained, closed circuit device by which oxygen, generated by chemicals in a canister, could be exhaled, independent of the surrounding atmosphere for the effective time limit of the oxygen supply (approximately 60 minutes). Once the canister was inserted and activated, it created a closed, self-sustaining system with the mouth, throat and lungs.   
    The Type A-3 Navy OBA had a rubber face piece, head straps, a set of plastic eye pieces, a speaking diaphragm and a rubber mouth piece. These improvements were multiplied by the quick starting canister, which greatly reduced donning the apparatus and enhanced reduce response times to fires.
    The Type A-3 OBA remained in service through the early 1970s, when they were replaced by the Type A- 4 OBA. Now I’m kind of partial to damage control gear, so most of my memories will involve repair locker equipment. If any of you feel inclined to write about some of your jobs on the Great Sitkin, get in touch with the Don, I’m sure he’d be happy with any contributions.
    Until next time, smooth sailing to you all.
DCC George Kaiser, USNR (Ret)
Association Treasurer
DC 3, 1969 - 1971.

From the Fantail: 
Let me put a few groups on you about Corpus Christi. This years reunion will be a little different. Since it starts on a Wednesday and lasts through Saturday, that means four days. The weekend before is Labor Day weekend and a lot of us plan our vacations around that time. The so-called “Season” in Corpus Christi is over after that Monday and therefore our Hotel can give us the good rates. I think all of you know that Patti and I really love the Corpus Christi area and have very special hopes that you will too. I call the area a “Sleeper”. Even at the height of the season it never seems crowded. Their “Rush Hour” seems to be pretty tame and only lasts about twenty minutes in the afternoon. The city is very clean and the people are what I call “Texas Friendly”. There are a lot of nice restaurants and the prices are a pleasant surprise. Patti and I have found great little local and neighborhood eateries by just taking a walk around town. Southwest Airlines flies into Corpus Christi and their fares are great. Be sure to check with them if you are planning to fly. Corpus Christi is “Military Minded”. There are a lot of retired military families in the area and plenty of Navy facilities. In planning for the reunion, we found it difficult to decide what tours to schedule and when to schedule a break to just relax and chat with our shipmates. We hope you like the idea of having four days to have fun with each other including most of Saturday as “Free Time”. The single suggestion mentioned most has been, “We need more time, to do just what we want”.
    Patti and I will answer any questions and give our recommendations any time. Please feel free to call or e-mail me. I have posted the Reunion Agenda and a printable registration form on the Internet. You can access it by way of our official Great Sitkin site where Ron has posted a link. You can also get there by going to our family site; http://www.numberoneintexas.com and clicking on the Reunion 2004 link.
    Make your hotel reservations and send your registration as soon as you can.
Don McClane
2613 Dalgreen Ct.
Plano, TX 75075
972-985-0763

Sea Story: 
    SH3 Wayne Agee, September 1959 - September 1962: 
One of the funniest things I saw happen was during the "Med Cruise" of 1961.  We were operating with the Greek Navy.  The ship we were operating with was an old LST we had given them back in the late fifties.  Anyway our skipper invited the Captain of the LST over and he brought his XO with him and both had their wives with them.
   As most of you know when we were over seas there was a small white box with a red cross on it on the Quarterdeck of the Sitkin.  This box contained some "necessary equipment" (condoms) for visiting the ladies of the night in whatever port we happened to be in (uhhhh.... if you went for that sort of thing). 
   I was the Petty Officer of the Watch on the Quarterdeck (01 level) when their boat came alongside.  They all climbed the ladder and I sent the Messenger of the Watch for the Captain.  As it happened they got to the Quarterdeck a minute or two before our Captain.  About the time our Captain got there one of the ladies casually flipped up the top on the box and looked in.  Her face turned bright red.  They were all speaking Greek and the two men were laughing.  I have no idea what they were saying, but I think it was as funny to them as it was to me.  I still had a grin from ear to ear when they left the ship and the lady who peeked wouldn't even look at me.  I do know that shortly after we moved the box to the bottom of the ladder on the main deck. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! 

Mail Call:

    FOR THE PAST WEEK I HAVE BEN ATTEMPTING TO COMPOSE A LETTER TO EXPRESS BY GRATITUDE TO EVERYONE OF YOU FOR THE E-MAILS, CARDS AND PRAYERS.  I HONESTLY CANNOT FIND THE WORDS TO COME CLOSE OF LETTING YOU ALL KNOW WHAT IT HAS MEANT TO ME.
    THE OFFICERS OF OUR ASSOCIATION, RON, DOUG, DON AND GEORGE MUST HAVE REALIZED WHAT A SPECIAL GROUP OF PEOPLE SERVED AS CREW OF THE "GREAT SITKIN" AND I WANT TO THANK THEM ON BEHALF OF ALL OF US.
    AS MY MOBILITY INCREASES, I WILL GET BACK TO EVERY ONE WHO'S E-MAIL ADDRESS I HAVE.  PLEASE ALLOW ME A LITTLE TIME.
    HOWEVER, AT THIS TIME, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO WAYNE AGEE AND HIS LOVELY WIFE LUCY FOR COMING BACK INTO MY LIFE A COUPLE TO YEARS AGO.  HE WAS THE FIRST ONE I HEARD FROM AFTER SIGNING THE GUEST LOG.  WAYNE IT HAS BEEN 40 YEARS SINCE OUR LAST FACE TO FACE, AND NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY TO SET ME STRAIGHT, I WILL ALWAYS PICTURE YOU WITH "CURLY HAIR"!!
GOD BLESS YOU ALL.   
JOE BIANCARDI
GM1BA@AOL.COM

Do you remember that ship?  I was looking at some old/recent e - mail and ran across one from Don McClane that mentioned you and your current situation.  I remembered your name from my days on board Mar 71  to  Nov. 72.
  I haven't been to any AE 17 Reunions but pay my dues and read all the info they put out.  My wife and I started attending the ZELLARS  DD-777 Reunions in about 84 to 96 and couldn't afford to add any others.
  Don M. put out the word to send you an e-mail.  Sorry I didn't pick up on this sooner.  My wife is currently in a local Nursing Home since 7 Jan. 03.  I took care of her for about two years before she agreed to go there.  She is 73 now and me 76.  Old age isn't always kind to everyone!!
  I retired in June 80 with 36 years .  Found a home in the Navy and started out as a Snipe in the boiler room, made E-7 in 56 then lucked out with an LDO commission as Ens. in 58.  We used to say LDO meant Loud , Dumb and Obnoxious.  In some cases that description fit.
  I enjoyed my time in the Navy, the last 5 years straight in Bremerhaven, GE.   We decided to come to Texas after retirement.  Gloria was born in Wisconsin and I was raised in the Catskill  MT of NY, so we decided to come here where the snow isn't up to your belt buckle in winter.  We attended Gloria's brothers funeral in Wisc. Jan. 96.  It was minus 15 deg. at 2 pm at the cemetery and minus 37 deg. at 6 in the morning we left there to drive home.  I was wondering if my warm blooded Texas car would even turn over.  It did. 
  I worked for the local Water / Waste water Dept. here 82 - 86 and enjoyed the work.  I was the second employee then and worked for a man who was an E 6 Seabee in the Navy Reserve.!!!  He enjoyed that .  We got along fine.  When he moved on a year or so later I became Head Honcho, by then I had 3 men assigned to the Water Dept and Waste Water was a separate unit.   The Population here in 80 was 745. Now it's well over 22,000.  We had one cop in 82  -  now there is 40.
  When I quit the City I told the City Mgr. I didn't appreciate his definition of Personnel Administration.  He was the duty Chaplin.  My boys used to go tell him how  bad I was, wanting them to come to work on time and stay till 5 pm.  That's the way it is is in CIVLANT.  Drop me an e - mail when you are resting.  Best wishes to you and yours.  
B J &  Gloria Reynolds
bjogloworm@aol.com

 

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