Phil Enke, ETN3,
OE Division, USS Hancock, 1961-1964

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Note from Jake: Phil visited the Website called, "God Bless the U.S.A." and commented about that visit, and his words were touching enough to share with all of you. This website is reference to our new found Patriotism after September 11, 2001...

Date: Saturday, October 06, 2001 7:12 AM
Subject: (no subject)

Jake, I think it goes a little beyond "Touching." Sogged up about half a box of Kleenex on that one. I'm not usually an old softy, either, but in these trying times, anything that brings a touch of the old patriotism to bear seems to turn on the water works.

I can remember when the USS Hancock had finished one of so many Westpac Cruises and was leaving Yokosuka, Japan for Hawaii, then San Francisco. I don't doubt that I griped about being assigned Quarters for leaving port, but I was soon lined up along the edge of the flight deck with hundreds of my other shipmates in our whites. They put together a band for us, down on the pier, because we were going home after so long. (I believe Phil is referring to departure from Yokosuka and WestPac '62)

The Boatswain of the Watch passed the order to "Single up all lines" - He blew his pipe then passed the word to "Shift Colors." At about that moment, the band broke into "Anchors Aweigh," and we all turned our heads as much as we dared to watch Old Glory leap smartly to the top of the Hancock's main mast. Then we felt the raw power of the ship's engines as she began to pull away from the pier and head out to the open sea and home...

It was a moment that has stayed with me all these years, and I don't think I've ever been more proud to be an American. That is perhaps, until now...

Phil Enke,
ETN3, OE Division, USS Hancock, 1961-1964