John Yeoman, RDC,
OI Division
'64 - '66

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'Man Overboard' this is not a Drill!

"Hey Jake, just a little trivia. When I first reported aboard Hancock she was on her way to Hunters Point for a four month overhaul in Feb - Mar of 64. Never having been on a carrier before, I was enthralled with the size and content of the Hannah. However when we left the yards and headed to sea to do some touch and go's, I was walking from the Chief's Quarters forward to the Island by way of the hanger Deck and one of the aircraft touched and went. It made so much racket there in the hanger bay, that I thought we had had an accident. Mindful of my position as a Chief, I quickly looked around to see if any one was running, but every one was going about their business and so I maintained my dignity and continued to walk. BUT if any one had been late for watch or chow etc and been running, I was ready to drop my dignity and head for shelter.

I remember another time that we were on Yankee Station, South China Sea, probably in '66, John Wayne was due on board for a visit. But the night before one of the Airedale plane handlers was sleeping in the catwalks off the flight deck; the weather was so hot, and down below the compartments were miserable, and one of them fell overboard - the time was not precise but the man had been on the mid-watch so we had a general time.. I was in CIC and received the call to plot a man overboard with an effective time of some three hours before (the exact time was not known). We laid out a plot using our record of course and speed changes that had been implemented since then and gave them a general position. A rescue destroyer was dispatched and helo's were put in the air. They searched and searched but some seven hours later nothing had been found. Well eventually about ten hours after the man had been in the water, a ship passing by, found him and returned him to the Hancock non the worse for wear. The young man was a jock and was in good physical condition and had been swimming/floating around for all that time. He remarked that he had seen ships and helo's all around him but couldn't get their attention. That is one great big pond out there! Anyway after his recovery and return to the Hanna, he was being interviewed/debriefed in sick bay and made the statement that he had just about given up on the Navy and had decided to start swimming to the beach. He said that he knew the direction of the beach because of the activity of the aircraft.. The Duke went down to see him in sick-bay and all was well that ended well. I don't think that he was placed on report for unauthorized absentee. Ha-ha

P.S. Later when back in the states we were watching a TV program "I've Got A Secret" don't remember the MC's name but this sailor was on there. Now his secret was not that he had fallen overboard, but the secret was that he had lost his skivvies in his fall and had been all that time minus ANY uniform.

Thanks Jake for the tremendous amount of memories that you have brought our way. Some to share and some to hold on to."

John P Yeoman

Note: We have several other references to this Sailor (Roy Deardorf) being 'UA' for 9 hours in the drink, you can read them by going to the Gedunk.

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