Flight Quarters, Flight Quarters, all hands man your Flight Quarters Stations
† The F6F Hellcat had the highest Kill/Loss ratio of any American fighter plane in Army, Navy, Marine or Air Force service during WWII. It was designed specifically to stop the Japanese Zero
Shipmates, this picture depicts Flight Quarters and Air Operations on Hancock in WWII. The above is a Launch Sequence of Grumman F6F Hellcats from VB-6 of Air Group 6. Photo actually was taken on the Yorktown CV-10 during flight ops, November, 1943.
The picture above shows some jubulent young pilots attached to squadrons on the USS Lexington just after the Marshall Islands attack, November, 1943 aboard the USS Lexington CV-16.
On an aircraft carrier, no other time is quite as important as Flight Quarters. This is the soul reason for her being and her existence. While the whole crew is truly the heartbeat and life of a ship, all that is done on a carrier is done for this one particular purpose and objective: Getting aircraft into the air, completing the mission, and getting them safely back onboard again.
The Hancock's Mission from the very beginning in 1944, was Air and Sea superiority and this is why this sign would always greet you as you came aboard...
If anything or any time on ship got one 'pumped up', it was this time.
Things came alive when you'd hear the bosun call Flight Quarters over the 1MC.
One didn't have to be an Airdale, to get excited about it, we were all "Airdales" on the Hancock. As I said previously, we were a "One Crew Ship" - and that statement took on a very special meaning during Flight Quarters..
In the Ready Rooms, pilots were getting prepared and "Psyched up" for their Air Missions.. here we see several doing just that...
Air Captains were readying their crews, and Deck Personnel were preparing themselves for the evening's Launch and recoveries..
It was at this time, that I found my life in the Navy the most exciting and rewarding.
Although I was a 'Captain's Yeoman', I got to be part of the action, up on the Bridge, when I stood the Captain's Phone Talker watch just behind the Captain's Chair. It was here, that I had a "Birds Eye View" of the action down on the flight deck. I got to experience all the activity on the Bridge. Many good things, and then, some bad as well. I sometimes experienced the Captain's disapproval to some pilot's less than acceptable launch or recovery, which often got you a bit nervous, for he seemed like 'God' up there. The only word that can truly describe it is Awesome. It was awesome to be a part of this scene of action, and often, scary too! To me, this was truly when I felt in the "Real Navy" - Hoo-yah for Naval Air!
† Visit Aviation History site