HISTORY OF HANCOCK'S 6TH VIETNAM WAR CRUISE IN COMMUNICATION FORMAT AS COPIED FROM A COPY OF THE ORIGINAL MESSAGE DATED SEPTEMBER 1972



(CONFIDENTIAL - DE-CLASSIFIED 31 OCT 72)

"HANNA'S ARRIVAL HOME"
A. GREEN TWO ANNEX VICTOR
1. IN ACCORDANCE WITH REF A, FOLLOWING PRESS RELEASE IS SUBMITTED FOR CLEARANCE/RELEASE
2. QUOTE:
A. THAN HANCOCK, AFTER NINE MONTHS ON THE HIGH SEAS, IS COMING HOME. THE 28 YEAR OLD VETERAN OF THREE SHOOTING WARS AND SEVEN VIETNAM DEPLOYMENTS WILL ARRIVE IN ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA 3 OCTOBER.

PAGE 2 (CONFIDENTIAL - DE-CLASSIFIED 31 OCT 72)

B. AND LIKE A GOOD VETERAN, SHE SHOWED THIS CRUISE, AS SHE HAS FOR SO MANY OTHERS, THAT SHE AND HER AIR WING CARRIER AIR WING TWENTY-ONE (CVW-21), COULD BE COUNTED ON IN ANY SITUATION. WHEN THE GOING GOT TOUGH, SHE WAS THERE.
C. THE SUCCESS OF THE HANCOCK ON THIS DEPLOYMENT WAS NOTHING MORE THAN THE PRODUCT OF A HIGH STATE OF COMBAT READINESS AND ENTHUSIASM ON THE PART OF ALL HANDS. FROM THE COMMANDING OFFICER, CAPT ALBERT J. MONGER, RIGHT ON DOWN TO THE FIREMAN APPRENTICE IN THE LOWER DEPTHS OF THE HANCOCK, THE "FIGHTING HANNA" WAS READY.
D. CAPTAIN MONGER, A NATIVE OF BRALEY, CALIFORNIA, WAS A NATURAL FOR COMMANDING THE HANCOCK. AN OUSTANDING AVIATOR, HE HAD SERVED, AT ONE TIME, AS COMMANDER OF THE EMBARKED AIR WING. UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP, CVW-21, IN 1966, SCORED ITS FIRST MIG KILL. THE AIR WING, WITH CAPTAIN MONGER AT THE HELM, ALSO SCORED ITS SECOND MIG KILL AND BECAME THE FIRST AIR GROUP WITH TWO MIG KILLS IN THE VIETNAM ACTION. BEFORE HE RELINQUISHED HIS REIGN AS CAG, CAPTAIN MONGER'S AIR WING DESTROYED A TOTAL OF 16 MIGS IN TWO DEPLOYMENTS.
E. HANCOCK BEGAN THIS CRUISE ON 7 JANUARY WHEN SHE LEFT SAN FRANCISCO. AFTER BRIEF STOPS IN HAWAII AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, SHE BEGAN HER FIRST LINE PERIOD, IN VIETNAM WATERS, IN (PAGE 3) EARLY FEBRUARY, DURING THIS FIRST PERIOD, HANCOCK'S AIR WING HIT ENEMY LOGISTIC POINTS IN LAOS, SOUTH VIETNAM, CAMBODIA AND NORTH VIETNAM.
F. AFTER A BRIEF REST IN JAPAN, HANCOCK RETURNED TO YANKEE STATION IN LATE MARCH, JUST BEFORE THE COMMUNIST OFFENSIVE BEGAN. WHAT WAS TO BE A 12 DAY LINE PERIOD SOON TURNED INTO A 38 DAY STAY ON YANKEE STATION. AT THIS TIME SHE WAS ENGAGED IN SOME OF THE MOST CRITICAL, HARD FOUGHT OPERATIONS OF THE ENTIRE CRUISE. IT WAS AT THIS TIME THAT THE VETERAN CARRIER WITH HER SEASONED AND COMBAT READY TEAM TOOK COMMAND, THE AIR WING, UTILIZING THE RELIABLE, TESTED, AND VETERAN, DOUGLAS A-4F SKYHAWKS AND THE LTV F-8 CRUSADERS FLEW OVER 2600 COMBAT SORTIES DURING THIS LINE PERIOD. OTHER TIMES, THE HANCOCK LAUNCHED MORE THAN 130 OF HER BIRDS A DAY. ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS THE HANCOCK/CVW-21 TEAM PROVIDED THE ENTIRE NAVAL TACTICAL AIR SUPPORT IN SOUTH VIETNAM. IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF APRIL THE ENTIRE WEIGHT OF THE EFFORT WENT INTO STEMMING THE NORTH VIETNAMESE INVASION OF MILITARY REGIONS I AND II AND THE LAST HALF OF THE LINE PERIOD SAW THE HANCOCK ALTERNATE HER ASSETS BETWEEN THE DEFENSE OF AN LOC AND THE DESTRUCTION OF STRATEGIC MILITARY TARGETS IN NORTH VIETNAM.(PAGE 4)
G. FOR HER EFFORTS THIS LINE PERIOD, THE VETARAN RECEIVED MANY ACCULADES. PERHAPS THE ONE THAT MEANS THEMOST CAME FROM LIEUTENANT GENERAL NGUYEN VAN MINH, COMMANDING GENERAL, III CORPS AND MILITARY REGION III. THE GENERAL WAS IN CHARGE OF ARVN FORCES THAT HANCOCK AIDED IN SUCCESSFULLY HALTING THE ADVANCING 5TH AND 7TH VIET CONG FORCES AND THE POSSIBLE DESTRUCTION OF AN LOC. AS THE GENERAL PUT IT, "WITH THE AID OF ACCURATE AND PUNCTUAL AIR SUPPORT BY THE NAVAL AVIATION UNDER YOUR COMMAND, THE ARVN SOLDIERS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN HALTING THE MASSIVE NVA OFFENSIVE AGAINST AN LOC DISTRICT, BINH LONG PROVINCE. THE CONTINUAL SUPPORT OF YOUR SKILLFUL PILOTS HAS BOLSTERED THE ARVN SOLDIER'S MORALE AND HAS EXEMPLIFIED THE CLOSE COORDINATION BETWEEN THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES AND VIETNAN."
H. IN THE FINAL DAYS OF THIS STAY ON YANKEE STATION, HANOCCK'S PILOTS CARRIED THE ATTACK TO THE ENEMY'S BACKYARD, WITH PINPOINT ACCURACY, AND DEPSPITE HEAVY ENEMY ANTI-AIRCRAFT FIRE, HANCOCK'S TINY A-4FS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOCKING OUT THE DONG PHON THOUNG RAIL AND HIGHWAY BRIDGE. DENIED THIS VITAL LINK IN HIS ONLY NORTH/SOUTH RAIL LINE BETWEEN THANH HOA AND HAIPHONG, THE ENEMY WAS FORCED TO DIVERT MANPOWER ASSETS FROM OTHER OPERATIONS IN ORDER TO (PAGE 5) SUPPLY HIS OFFENSIVE ACROSS THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE. HANCOCK'S CVW-21 ALSO DELIVERED CRIPPLING BLOWS TO PETROLEUM STORAGE AREAS NEAR THANH HOA AND HA TINH, HELPING TO STEM THE FLOW OF POL (PETROL-OIL-LUBRICANTS) TOWARDS THE ENEMY'S OFFENSIVE POSITIONS.
I. FOLLOWING A SHORT REST AND RELAXATION PERIOD IN SUBIC BAY, REPLUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, "FIGHTING HANNA" RETURNED TO YANKEE STATION AND BEGAN COMBAT AIR STRIKES IN NORTH VIETNAM. IN THIS SHORT LINE PERIOD THE ELDEST OF THE NAVY'S ATTACK CARRIERS HAD MORE THAN 1300 COMBAT STRIKE SORTIES LEAVE HER DECK. SIGNIFICANT RESULTS OF THIS STAY WERE SIX ENEMY BRIDGES DESTROYED; 27 GUNS DESTROYED, 121 SECONDARIES OBSERVED; 47 RAIL CARS KNOCKED OUT AND 51 ENEMY SUPPLY CRAFTS DESTROYED.
J. ON 13 MAY A NEW RECORD OF 116 COMBAT STRIKE SORTIES WAS SET FOR A SINGLE DAY'S OPERATIONS. A SHORT 12 DAYS LATER A MIG-17 WAS DESTROYED WHICH WILL UNDOUBTEDLY GO DOWN IN THE ANNALS OF AIR COMBAT AS ONE OF THE MRE INCREDIBLE VICTORIES. TWO HANCOCK F-8 CRUSADERS SPOTTED THE MIG 22 MILES SOUTHWEST OF HAIPHONG AND ATTEMPTED TO MANEUVER INTO A FIRING POSITION. JUST AS THE F-8 WAS MAKING HIS TURN THE MIG PILOT EJECTED. NOT A SHOT HAD BEEN FIRED. (PAGE 6)
K. DURING THE HANCOCK'S REMAINING THREE LINE PERIODS SHE HIT TARGETS IN BOTH NORTH AND SOUTH VIETNAM. THERE WERE OFTEN TIMES WHEN THE HANCOCK, ONCE AGAIN, CARRIED ALL THE NAVAL TACTICAL AIR SUPPORT IN THE SOUTH. SHE PALYED A GREAT ROLE IN AIDING ARVN TROOPS AT THE BESEIGED CITIES OF QUANG TRI AND HUE, THE "FIGHTING HANNA" ALSO WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN SAVING THE ARVN FORCES AT BONG SON IN MILITARY REGION II.
L. IN THE NORTH CVW-21 PILOTS KNOCKED OUT THE PHU LY RAILROAD BRIDGE IN AUGUST. FIVE SPANS OF THE STRUCTURE, SOME 55 MILES SOUTH OF HANOI WERE DROPPED RENDERING THE BRIEGE TOTALLY USELESS TO THE ENEMY. IT WAS FOLLOWIONG THIS STRIKE THAT VADM D.W. COOPER, COMMANDER TASK FORCE 77 COMMENTED, "AGAIN HANCOCK/CVW-21 CAME THROUGH WITH A FINE LINE PERIOD. DAMAGE INFLICTED AND SMOOTH PERFORMANCE IN BOTH SOUTH AND NORTH VIETNAM OPEATIONS WAS ABLY DEMONSTRATED." HE SAID, "WHEN THE GOING IS ROUGH, YOU STAND AT THE HEAD OF THE LINE," HE ADDED.
M. NEAR THE END OF HER FIFTH LINE PERIOD, HANCOCK RECEIVED TWO 7AFF AIRCRAFT FOR USE WITH THE LIGHTWEIGHT LASER DESIGNATOR SYSTEM. SEVERAL VERY SUCCESSFUL TRAINING FLIGHTS, IN A COMBAT ENVIRONMENT, WERE CONDUCTED PRIOR TO THE END OF THE LINE PERIOD.
N. THE SIXTH AND LAST LINE PERIOD FOR HANCOCK THIS CRUISE BEGAN 27 AUGUST AND ENDED 14 SEPTEMBER. DURING THIS LAST LINE PERIOD HANCOCK AGAIN LED THE WAY FOR THE ATTACK CARRIER NAVY. THIS WAS POINTED OUT BY VADM COOPER'S MESSAGE TO HANCOCK, "YOUR NOTEWORTHY ACHIEVEMENT WITH THE HANCOCK LASER GUIDED BOMB/HAND HELD LASER DESIGNATOR SYSTEM IS THE SUCCESSFUL CULMINATIN OF AN INNOVIATIVE IDEA AND WAS MADE POSSIBLE ONLY THROUGH DEDICATED EFFORT, A HIGH SENSE OF PROFESSIONALISM AND THE SPIRIT AND DESIRE TO WORK THE PROBLEM THROUGH. HANCOCK AND HER AIR WING HAVE ILLUMINATED THE PATH FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW." HE SAID. WHAT A TRIBUTE TO THE VETERAN, THE HANCOCK UTILIZING THE A4F AS HER STRIKE ELEMENT AND THE F-8 CRUSADER AS HER FIGHTER NOW HAS ONE OF THE NAVY'S LATEST WEAPONS SYSTEMS.
O. THE HANCOCK FINISHED HER OPERATIONS WITH THE SEVENTH FLEET AFTER SPENDING 165 TOTAL DAYS ON THE LINE, THE LONGEST STAY FOR ANY CVA IN SEVEN YEARS. THERE WERE SOME PERSONAL GLORIES AS WELL. HANCOCK'S LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHIC SQUADRON (VFP-63) DETACHMENT ONE RECEIVED ACCOLADES FOR THEIR COMBAT PHOTOGRAPHY. IN ADDITION, COMMANDER DAVE MORRIS, COMMANDING OFFICER OF FIGHTER SQUADRON 24 COMPLETED HIS 3000TH HOUR IN AN F-8. HE IS THE SECOND MAN IN HISTORY TO ACCOMPLISH THAT FEAT. COMMANDER STAN ARTHUR, SKIPPER OF ATTACK SQUADRON 164, MARKED HIS 500TH COMBAT MISSION IN THE VIETNAM WAR DURING THE LAST LINE PERIOD. ALL 500 WERE FROM HANCOCK.
P. THE HIGHEST RECORD AND THE ONES WHO DESERVE MOST OF THE CREDIT FOR A SUCCESSFUL CRUISE ARE THE CREW MEMBERS. THE MEN WHO REPAIR THE AIRCRAFT AND THE FLIGHT DECK. THE MEN WHO WORK 16 HOURS A DAY WITH THE CATAPULTS. THE MEN WHO KEEP SUPPLYING STEAM TO THE CATS. THE BOATSWAINMATES WHO KEEP BRINGING ON STORES AND FUEL. THOSE ARE THE PEOPLEWHO PUT THIS VETERAN CARRIER THROUGH WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN HER BEST CRUISE. THE HANCOCK LAUNCHED OVER 19,020 AIRCRAFT AND RECOVERED OVER 18,500 THIS CRUISE ALONE. SHE ALSO COMPLETED 102 UNDERWAY REPLENISHMENTS. THE CREDIT FOR THESE ACHIEVEMENTS GO TO THE CREW.
Q. THE HANCOCK ALSO RECEIVED THE ADMIRAL JAMES FLATLEY AWARD FOR AVIATIONS SAFETY FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW. THE CREDIT GOES TO THE CREW.
R. AND SO, AFTER NINE MONTHS ON THE HIGH SEAS, 165 DAYS ON THE LINE SOME GOOD TIMES AND SOME BAD, THE HANCOCK IS ON HER WAY HOME. DECLASSIFIED 31 OCTOBER 1972.

END COMMUNICATION

Communication converted to Text on 2 December 2006 by the Yeoman. Source of the Communication is confidential.

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