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Great Sitkin (AE-17)


A volcano in the Aleutian Islands. 

(AE-17: displacement 13,910; length 459'2"; beam 63'; draft 28'3"; speed 16 knots; complement 267; armament 1 5-inch, 4 3-inch, 4 40 millimeter, 16 20 millimeter; class Wrangell; type C2-S-AJ1)

Great Sitkin (AE-17) was launched on 20 January 1945 under a Maritime Commission contract (M. C. Hull 1706) at Wilmington, N. C., by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 20 January 1945; sponsored by Miss Anne L. Dimon; and commissioned at Charleston. S.C., on 11 August 1945, Lt. Cmdr. William F. Smith in command.

After shakedown out of Norfolk, Great Sitkin sailed to New York on 25 November 1945  to begin dumping condemned ammunition in an assigned area off Sandy Hook, N.J. She continued that 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 John F. Kennedy's announcement of a naval quarantine around Cuba. She cruised the Caribbean during the next several weeks carrying reserve ammunition for U.S. ships on quarantine duty. 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 SixthFleet, and during those tours she has participated in several Fleet and NATO exercises. After a three-month overhaul Great Sitkin left Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Hoboken, N.J., in December 1966 for training exercises off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

Ultimately stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 2 July 1973,  

Published: Sat Aug 20 02:01:20 EDT 2016