A volcano in the Aleutian Islands.
(AE-17: dp. 13,910; l. 459'2"; b. 63'; dr. 28'3"; s. 16 k.; cpl. 267; a. 1 5", 4 3", 4 40mm., 16 20mm.; cl. Wrangell; T. C2-S-AJ1)
Great Sitkin (AE-17) was launched under Maritime Commission contract by North Carolina Shipbuilding Co., Wilmington, N.C., 20 January 1945; sponsored by Miss Anne L. Dimon; and commissioned at Charleston. S.C., 11 August 1945, Lt. Comdr. William F. Smith in command.
After shakedown out of Norfolk, Great Sitkin sailed to New York 25 November to begin dumping condemned ammunition in an assigned area off Sandy Hook, N.J. She continued this duty for nearly a year, returning to Norfolk in November 1946. Great Sitkin's pattern of operations for the next few years took her to the Caribbean and the Canal Zone on ammunition replenishment trips, as well as twice to Gibraltar. In addition, she participated in local operations.
Since 1951 Great Sitkin has served as a mobile ready reserve source of ammunition for the Fleet. She has regularly deployed to the Mediterranean to support the 6th Fleet, a bulwark of freedom in the region, and has served the Fleet during crises in trouble spots such as Lebanon and Suez. When not deployed in the Mediterranean, she has operated out of New York, participating in various fleet maneuvers in the Atlantic and the Caribbean.
During the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, she sailed for the Caribbean 23 October, following President Kennedy's announcement of a naval quarantine around the Communist island. She cruised the Caribbean during the next several weeks carrying reserve ammunition for American ships on quarantine duty off Cuba. Departing the Caribbean 16 December, she returned to New York and resumed her pattern of operations in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Between August 1963 and July 1966 Great Sitkin has deployed three times with the 6th Fleet, and during these tours she has participated in several Fleet and NATO exercises. After a 3-month overhaul Great Sitkin left Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Hoboken, N.J., in December 1966 for training exercises off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At present she continues to support American ships in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and she stands ready to supply ammunition necessary for the continuing task of "keeping the peace."