Oral Histories and letters from Former Hancock Shipmates
and other Sailor's Navy Experiences and Sea Stories †
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Shipmates, I have received such a good response to Oral histories by former sailors from other ships, I decided to add these to the bottom of this page, and also include them on the index to the left. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to this great collection of Navy Sea-lore. Interested in enlisting? Submit your own Salty Sea Story here.
If you got here via an Internet Search and see no Index to the left, you can load the Index here.
Index Ordered by years aboard
The Yeoman asks you a favor - If you enjoyed reading our Sea Stories here on this site, would you please leave your comments in our Oral History visitor's Log? It would be most appreciated by me and also by our visitors. Thanks so much. To do that, go here.
Shipmates, before we get into the Serious Business of Oral History, I do believe you all should be reminded of some very basic truths about Navy life, and the U.S.S. Hancock Association's President (2007), Wayne Erven reminds us of some facts that many of us have forgotten.. read the following: So you say you want to Join the Navy and go to Sea?
Shipmates, your Yeoman was reading in the September 1998 issue of the Hannah News, published by the USS HANCOCK CV/CVA-19 Association, an article by HM1 Bill Shipley, which caught my attention, as most exciting stories do, as the first in a series of Hancock Oral Histories by former shipmates, and I wish to include it here for all to read with amazement and interest...
A Night of Terror aboard the USS Hancock - An Account of an Emergency breakaway (USS Kawishiwi (AO-146) vs. USS Hancock CVA-19) as told by Bill Shipley, HM1, USN-Retired - See also Bills amazing story on how he saved a fellow Sailor's life Here.
- Quartermaster 2nd Class Fred Shacklett, at the helm this fateful day tells his own account of this 'Emergency Breakaway.
- Doug Covill gives his own perspective on this Emergency Breakaway from the standpoint of a USS Kawishiwi Sailor on deck at the time.
- William J. Miller, another KAWISHIWI sailor reports his own perspective on the 'scary' close-call his ship had with the HANCOCK...
- This Event seems to still be causing conflicting views - Jake
- Another Perspective on the Emergency Breakaway of the U.S.S. Kawisiwi (AO-146) vs. USS Hancock CVA-19 - Gerry Hamm, PR1 offers his own views on the Emergency Breakaway between the USS Hancock and the USS Kawisiwi (AO-146)
- Because there seems to be some conflicting opinions whether there was an Emergency Breakaway or a Full-blown Collision between HANCOCK and KAWISHIWI, the Late NCCM(SW) C. R. "Corky" Johnson, USN pretty much cleared up the confusion in his comments about the same, being an Eye Witness, standing on HANCOCK's Starboard Sponson at the very moment... read his story here.
- Click here for some Off-Site info on Emergency Breakaways
- RM2 Barney Goodwin adds his interesting perpective of this Emergency Breakaway evolution.
Our XO, Dennis Milliken, has continued his contribution to this site wonderfully by his narrative on how Time was kept onboard the Hancock and all other Navy ships of that Era.. Read about how Hanna kept time, ALL THE TIME...
Hanna Keeps Time
by QM3 Dennis F. Milliken
My life as a
Quartermaster on the Hancock
by Dennis F. Milliken, QM3, USN-Ret -
Read his curious and fascinating story of a fellow
shipmate's "encounter" with the Yeoman (me)
These are my Navy Memoirs, shipmates, a bit deep for the 'casual' reader, but if you really wish to get into Navy life, you get it from those who lived the Adventure. Since I put up this Website, my Navy Life has been on Review. All of us have a Story; I am no different, and so I wish to share these adventures with you. We are the "Crew" - all of us - We make up the Crew like so many links in a Chain, we all hold together to hang on to the anchor...
- My life aboard the USS Hancock as Captain's Yeoman - by Jake Jaccard, YN3, USNR-Ret, your Web Yeoman.
- Jake vs. Yeoman Master Chief Dewey Alexander and the subject of 'Privacy' in the Navy - A Chow-Time Discussion on which day, we had no chow... Sometime it's better to "remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open mouth and remove all doubt!!!"
- Jake's Hong Kong Chronicle - Remember what the 'other side' of the social coin looked like from the perspective of a young 20 year old?
- Peaceful Times - Even during War, are found at Sea - Jake & Ed Rostine remark about the Quietude and Peace one finds at Sea.. Moments one treasured and today miss.
- Jake, The Captain's Orderly and the Captain - When being the Captain's Office Runner isn't such a good thing - In other words, "a most undesireable job" for a Yeoman Striker.
- Jake and Holiday Routine and the Food aboard the Hancock Everyone remembers the good food aboard ship. This is the Yeoman's own perspective on the down-time offered to us as a Crew on Sundays and also Holidays - this, of course may have changed during the years we served during the Vietnam War, and why the Yeoman requests your own input on these two subjects: Holiday Routine & the Food we enjoyed aboard ship.
- Jake and the Shore Patrol at Subic So you say you were picked up by the Shore patrol?
- Jake, CPL Keith and the Captain - A day that will live in my infamy This story is not yet written!
- Jake Recalls R&R and Grande Island, P.I. Many of you recall this "Port of Call" where we all could "Cut Loose" - and your Yeoman was no exception.
- Jake and the "OBA" So you say your brave? I thought I was doing OK with that part of my personality until I went to Firefighting School at Treasure Island! More on this "Touchy" Subject - Here and Here.
- The Night of a Storm called 'Gloria' Your Yeoman had related his experiences with Typhoon 'Gloria' in his own Memoirs, and Ron Wandler, AT3, from VAW-11, aboard same time, read what I had to say about that storm, and wanted to add his own comments about what I wrote. Thanks to him, I no longer feel I was imagining things! Follow the links on Ron's Page to continue with this very interesting saga.
- Jake and the "Fart Sack" Everyone who sailed the seas in the Navy no doubt remembers this cozy means of staying warm in steel ships that didn't heat well. Ships in winter can be cold and so one must invent ways of staying warm. Jake has let the cat out of his Lucky Bag...
- Recollections of the Floating Restaurants of Hong Kong This Chronicle by Jake Jaccard, YN3 and Shipmates Bob McKay, AQB1 and Wayne Durfey, MM2, will remind you of your own time at this mystic venue far away in the Orient... and make you want to add your own story to the bottom.. You are invited to do so.
- Jake - Firefighting School - OBA Training - and his most embarrassing moment ever This Chronicle of mine reveals some moments in my young life that has since affected my outlook and growth in life. It reveals my most embarrassing moment ever, and teaches that none of us are ever free from our very own such moment. Each of us has skins of different color and thickness. Mine was not very thick at this rare moment in my young life. I dare to share this with you to encourage you to admit your own weaknesses, and how a weakened moment in your own ife can mold you and perhaps help you to improve your character and personality. I know this one worked that way with me. Because of that moment I have since done some incredible things that I would scarcely doubt possible after I came down from that ladder. But life is ours to help us improve and I would hope that I have done just that.
- Jake's 'Thieves Alley Story' while visiting Sasebo, Japan in 1963 Many of you who have sailed on Navy Ships to the Far East, and more particularly in Japan's many Ports 'o Call, will remember with fondness your memories of Sasebo's "Thieves Alley". Here's my story.
How I won my last Air Medal - Mark Hardisty tells his exciting story of his At -Sea Rescue during final Clean up Operation's at the end of WWII in the Sea of Japan.
- RADM Bruce Boland, USN (Ret) Admiral Boland let us all know that we can still go see part of the Hannah, that was not broken up for scrap. Thank you Admiral Boland!! This bit of news was refreshing to this old Yeoman's heart!
- Tail Code: "Hancock Pit Stop" Capt. Tom Wimberly, former XO of HANCOCK ('70-'71) relates his interesting, unusual and humorous story about a "Pit Stop" he made on Hancock years before becoming Ship's Company to eventually serve as XO under Captains Theodore L. Johnson and Albert J. Monger.
- Tail Code: "John McCain" Tom Wimberly was sought for his opinion whether esteemed Arizona Senator and 2008 Republican Presidential nominee John S. McCain, ever had, as rumored, a similar 'Pit Stop' on HANCOCK sometime during the Vietnam War. Here are his remarks. It turns out that Capt Wimberly knows John personally, served with him at one point in his career and can speak more personally than most, about this Rumor and the man in general.
- Hancock's final WestPac, 1975 Command Master Chief Corky Johnson's personal Memoirs of his time in Hanna. An in-depth personal view about the events which took place during Operation's 'Eagle Pull' and 'Frequent Wind'; and our ship's final WestPac, signaling the end of our Vietnam involvement and the end of our 'Fight'n Hanna'. A History Buff's Must-See!
- Joe Zeller's Account of three important Operations on the Hancock Joe Zeller was a Radioman onboard Hancock during three important operations close to the end of the Vietnam War and Hannah's Career: in 1975: Operations Eagle Pull, Frequent Wind and the Mayaguez recovery.
- A Tense Moment on the Flight Deck - A Marine's Perspective CPL Daniel Snuffer, USMC, a Hancock "Visitor" tells of a very Tense Moment aboard the Hancock during Operation "Frequent Wind" - the Evacuation of Saigon back in 1975
- Bill Shipley tells his story of how he inadvertently saved the life of a fellow Sailor Former Marine Bill Shipley has lived an amazing life, and even in this event, long ago, you see how his life is being led by the Spirit. Some call such things as 'chance' or 'happenstance' but the Yeoman knows otherwise. †
- The "American, the Fall of Saigon and a Guitar" - Former Marine Bill Shipley has contributed this story which your Yeoman feels is a great Spiritual uplift to those who think our efforts in Vietnam were wasted efforts.
An Amazing Reunion at Sea - JD Cooper tells of his humorous and interesting tale about his joyful reunion with his brother who was on a Destroyer serving along side Hannah in the Tonkin Gulf..
Recollections of a retired U.S. Navy Photographers Mate - PH1 Richard L. Baker gives us his own story of intrigue and sillyness that took place during Hannah's final days as he prepared to clean out OP Division's Photo Lab, making ready to send Hannah's Photo Lab's gear to other Ships and Commands, and his own eventual and ironic Pay-Back.
Pride we all can share
- Hancock consistently out-performed and flew more sorties than the Super Carriers - Dave Thomas, AO2, shares some insight into the prowess of the Hannah.
- The U.S. Navy Peacoat - The Clothing Item issues to every Sailor which every Sailor remembers with fondness - even this Sailor who wrote this remembrance, humorously conveys his own affection for this wonderful coat which he states was one of God greater inventions.
- I Remember you USS Hancock CVA-19 - Shipmate Richard E. Roberts, GMT3, W-Division, USN, '63-'67, shares his sentimental thoughts of Life aboard the Fighting Hannah in the early years of the Vietnam War period. These are words that will stir the soul as few do.
Al Figone tells more about how the Hancock was..
- A Reliable Ship on Yankee Station, amid the other Super Carriers, The Fighting Hannah always showed her 'Stuff!' - Alan J. Figone tells his story about the ship and everyone winning the Navy Unit Commendation and Hannah's Reliability amid the modern 'Super Carriers' and also the Banner no one would soon forget! This is good stuff, Maynard! Something all of us Ex-Hancock Sailors can be Proud of!
- The 'Official USS Hancock CV/CVA-19 Peom - 1945 by Lt George 'Hector' Rodgers - Fighting Squadron 6 - Originally submitted by 'Hector' who called himself an "Overpaid Sailor" - and contributed to this Site by Capt Herschel Pahl, USN (Ret), Author of 'Point Option' - a wonderful Epic seen through the eyes of a Naval Aviator, during the War in the Pacific. You can visit his Book Site by clicking Here.
- Richard E. Roberts, GMT3, W-Division, USN-Ret describes his admiration for our ship in a very articulate and deeply moving way; a way which won his article a special place on this website, the Hancock Serendipity Page
- LCDR D. Garvey's own Poetic Tribute to our 'Fighting Hannah' - The Yeoman has seldom found words as eloquent and thought provoking as was found in the Poem by LCDR D. Garvey, Hancock AIMD, which describes his and the Crew's Sentiment for our Noble "Fighting Hannah"
- Old Sailors Sit- Do you yearn for the days when you were an Active Duty Sailor on the High Seas? Do you miss those exciting, carefree days of your youth? Then Read this Poem - Anr unknown Author has penned this delightful recollection. If you wrote this poem, sound off to the Yeoman, Please!
Naval Aviator's Stories
Hornet Night Barricade - A Visitor to our 'Round-down' from the future - Not many Naval Aviators have shared their important stories in this Gallery - why, I don't know, but a Shipmate sent the Yeoman this interesting "Bird's-Eye-Account" of one Pilot in the long off future (from our time aboard) - the Story is from an anonymous source but worthy of this section. The author tells about a very exciting launch and his fight to keep the bird aloft after some equipment failure - Enjoy (thank you Anonymous for this story!).
Oral Histories from Sailors & Marines serving
on other ships and Bases
Ken Groom's U.S.S. YANCEY (AKA-93) - Life aboard a Fleet Cargo Ship is shared by our Shipmate Ken Groom who served aboard the USS YANCEY during the early 50's. He has blessed us with many stories that he and his shipmates shared for their Newsletter. We sincerely hope you enjoy your Visit aboard the YANCEY. Ken, a HANCOCK Re-comm Plank Owner has also provided us with our own Hancock Middle Years Gallery. Hooyah to Ken Groom!
The Asiatic Fleet - The Fleet that did not Exist - Walter Ashe relates to us, the history of the relatively unknown 'Asiatic Fleet' in terms that have brought it's existence to light once more, wherein a Presidential Proclamation recently was made to recognize it and the men who served our Nation as members of this unique and now prestigious Fleet.
Vietnam 1967, A "Whale Tale" - An interesting and even humorous story that most Carrier Sailors will recall regarding Russian Trawlers in the Vietnam Waters during the Ten Year War in Vietnam. New Photos - Update to this Story! (2-24-12).
Mike Caffarel's Navy Boot Camp Chronicle
Life at Camp Nimitz and Camp Lawrence, San Diego, California
The Navy Chief - From the Perspective of a Sailor who remembers them well
The Sailor's Sea Bag - An Old Salt Fondly? Remembers his Sea Bag -
Michael Harris Mulraney, SGT, USMC shares his 'Boots on the Ground' perpective as a Marine in the Bush of South Vietnam during a time now long ago, but n'er forgotten by those who lived it day by day. Mike takes us back to July 1966 through November 1966 in his true tale.
A Man overboard that was not a drill and a Emergency Breakaway on the USS Neches AO-47 on Yankee Station, '67 - Shipmates Gilbert Devault and Gene Edwards tell of a hair raising experience on another Emergency Breakaway on their ship, the USS Neches AO-47 (I remember being refueled by this great WWII Oiler which was still active with the fleet at that time - Jake).
E.A. "Ed" Hughes, FTCM(SS) is the author of "I was once a Navyman" (and others). The Yeoman got to know Ed when I read his article and wanted to prepresent him on this Website, to share his story here in our Oral History Section. Enjoy getting to know Ed Hughes!
Terror on the High Seas - Typhoon Cobra and the USS Cowpens CVL-25
Although, not a Hancock Oral History, I decided to include this story all the same, since it is one of the best accounts of a large ship at sea during a Major Typhoon, and will 'rock' you, like the true event rocked that good old Aircraft Carrier, the USS Cowpens so many years ago.
Nothing can prove a Sailor's Salt more powerfully than an experience with a Major Typhoon. My own experience with two dangerous typhoons, as I related in my Navy Memoirs, was exciting but when you read this account of a horrendous storm during WWII, that the USS Cowpens CVL-25 and her crew endured, then you will know what it takes to be Sailors in the United States Navy! The picture is not exaggerated, this is an example of the list to starboard that this ship endured, and even worse rolls.
I really wish I had my own camera cocked and ready when we, ourselves were taking on some pretty heavy rolls and high seas, where the water was breaking over our bow!
"Son Tay Raid" -The Hancock was involved with other ships of Task Force 77 in what has come to be known as the 'Son Tay Prison Camp Raid into North Vietnam on 21 November 1970.
I.D. 'Inny' Cerbini tells his story how he Ran through the Queen Mary' I.D. "Inny" Cerbini former WWII Hancock Shipmate also served on the USS Baham AG-71 and the USS Duluth CL-87 and wanted to share some humorous stories with you during that time.
The Official Hancock Patch
Bob Jenkin's Comments on the Hancock Patch
Read also what CWO Wayne Erven has
to say about the Hancock Patch here
1963 Far East Cruise
The LOG 19 is the official USS Hancock CVA-19 Cruise Book.
For over 32 years, Hancock was a member of the United States Naval Surface Fleet. During those years, Hancock made numerous WestPac Cruises, and each cruise was chronicled in each Log 19 Cruise book. This Memorial to the USS Hancock is here because of Log 19. She made this Website, as without it, we'd scarcely have a thing to show here. We are proud of our Ship, and proud of Log 19! We thank all those men who labored long and hard to provide us with Log 19, so that our Memories of our Coming of Age would be remembered. Nothing quite aids the memory as does Photos. Thank you, who played a great part in preserving these memories for us! See the Kudos page for more 'Thanks' and particularly those who played a major role in Log 19 '63. Make sure you visit the 'Plan of the Day' Gallery as it is a direct result of Log 19!
In 1956, the Hancock Crew decide on a New Hancock Patch-Insignia (above), and is reported in the "The Catapult" - the Ship's newspaper of the time
Please make sure you join the Hancock Association if you haven't already. Only through membership, can we keep the Association afloat, along with the Memory and Spirit of the Fighting Hannah. You can either join by visiting the USS Hancock Association Website or by copying the Membership Form on this site and mailing it to the Membership Chairman, Capt Tom Wimberly.
Thanks to the InterNet and the Information Highway, our world has become wonderfully small, and we are now all members of the Global Community, which has allowed us to function better as a "Veteran's Community" and a connected "Family" once more!
What a fantastic Historical source Naval History Websites are!! Would that I could assemble every page on the Hancock Memorial into one huge library†, and I am sure that the United States Naval Institute has all of these precious bits of Naval History, and to those who served aboard her, Precious bits of Hancock History, containing names of crewmembers and other interesting happenings during those deployments.. But sad to say, to us as a whole, these names and experiences will forever be lost, and are now collecting barnacles in old men's heads or in dead men's dreams.
You can view the Vietnam War Deployment History here.
Old Sea Stories and other Salty Tales
A Gedunk in Navy Terminology means a place to go get 'Pogy Bait' - ice cream, munchies and other sundry goodies... Sailor's are well known for having a sweet tooth, that hasn't been rotted out by all the Ale and Beer they consume in foreign ports!
I wish to provide an area here, to add some stories that will tickle your funny bone and otherwise amuse you.. I have found some things that will do just that..
If you have an amusing story, please share it with us!
While you may not be able to get yourself a Strawberry Shake here at Jake's Gedunk, you can find some 'Tasty' and some 'Not-So-Tasty'(perhaps downright 'tasteless') stories here... Enjoy!
- You might be a Lifer in the Navy if...
- So you say you want to Join the Navy and go to Sea? - Wayne Erven, CWO, USN (Ret) tell us how we can recognize an 'Old Salt'..
- Things I miss about the Navy - Things YOU and your Shipmates miss about their Navy Days
- The C.O. and the Chief of the Boat (C.O.B.) - A bit of Navy Humor shared by our shipmate, Jake T. Powell
- Former Hancock XO, Tom Wimberly tells of his stop over on the Hannah for a 'top-off' of his tanks long before his Hancock Assignment
- I.D. 'Inny' Cerbini tells his story how he Ran through the Queen Mary'
- Wayne Erven reminds the Yeoman about typing those "FitReps"..
- Jake, you brought back some real memories about the FITREPS. As a YN3 - YNCM, I probably typed a few, and as a Ship's Clerk, CW03, I must have read umpteen thousand of them. Just imagine what it would be like now with a computer program, word, or whatever. Just change the word (like the Dept Head, XO, CO did), and hit save. Then print it out. Todays YNs don't have any idea of what it was like in the days of hammers and chisels! (remember typing correspndence twice so you could get all the "flimsies" you needed?) That is real progress. Now they probably send them in electronically. Wayne Erven
- Other Story from Wayne, go here
- Don't shoot, we're Republicans!
- Earl Budweiser takes an 'unexpected' dip in the Ocean
So does Roy Deardorf who became one of Hancock's "Celebrated Skinny Dippers"...
- Jack Downs, Rick Roberts and John Yeoman tell of this "Not so funny then but funny Now" story about a "Man overboard - this is not a Drill" - This is the Story that got as far as "I've Got a Secret" and the Newspapers, for Seaman Roy Deardorf became quite a celebrity!!
- The Goat on the Boat - A Very Humorous and True Story from the Smoke Boat Sailors of USSArcherfish.com - This Story will have you falling off your chair, rolling and on the Deck!
- Jim Hultman talks about this time aboard Hannah, when Roy Deardorf took a dip in the South China Sea. Read about it in his 'Water for Man and Machine" Story.
- Ordie Matt Johnson tells his humorous tale how he traveled the world on a Dollar in Route to the Hancock - This is one of the most humorous stories yet received in our Oral History Site, Shipmates! Make a Port Call to Matt's Page and have a great Navy Laugh!
Eugene "Gene'o" Csuti and Rusty "Short Rounds" Moede tell about their encounter with the dreaded VC Rat! Not all Vietnam was terror in the bush; it also came to your hooch !
† It may be noted that since the Oral History Pages were assembled in 1995, the website has grown to become the "Hancock Memorial" and operating on it's own steam at http://www.usshancockcv19.com. And now, to the Website is an CD-ROM option, that anyone who wishes their own personal Memorial, can now possess a copy of this Website for a lasting tribute to the Ship, the Crew and their Service in the USS HANCOCK. Click the flashing NEW for more information.
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Page last Updated 11 August 2012