Jake's USS Hancock WWII Memorial
Navy Wings of Gold

The Hancock in Camo Measure 32/14D
Hannah in Full Battle Dress (WWII Camouflage)
(Camo Measure 32/14D)

(Photo of unknown source)

Exit Links

Capt Herschel A. Pahl, USNYour Yeoman became acquainted with WWII Naval Aviator Capt Herschel A. Pahl, USN, (Deceased) some years back, who has been writing interesting and informative Emails which led to a lasting friendship and not long thereafter, Captain Hersch Pahl presented me with a gift of his wonderful book, "Point Option" - one of the best WWII History Books I have had the privilege to own and read. It is his story of service in the Pacific during World War II - a very interesting epic, I might add.

I hope that the Hersch Pahl Estate can see to it that he has more copies of his book and encourage you to consider getting your own copy of this personal epic while they last. A link to his Book Website is below. You can visit there by clicking on the Book Image.

Not long after we became acquainted I was happy to invite Hersch to our Admin Department, to become a part of the Hancock Memorial, acting as Chief Aviation Historian and WWII Memorial Administrator acting with Hersch is WWII

Captain Herschel A. Pahl was one of my best friends and I will miss him terribly. He crossed over the Bar on 17 October 2010, at the age of 90 years, 6 months and 2 days. There is more to read and a link to his Book Website below.

Captain Herschel A. Pahl, USN Passed on 17 October 2010
after a long struggle to regain his strength after a Hip Replacement surgery
He is sadly missed by all who knew him, especially we of
the USS Hancock Memorial and the
USS Hancock Association

Visit His Website to buy his book

This Picture, taken in 1944 on one of Hannah's War Cruises
Picture courtesy of
Capt Herschel A. Pahl - WWII Aviation Historian and Admin Assistant

Hancock goes through a terrible time when a 500# bomb exploded on the flight deck!

The Deck of the Hancock shortly after a VT-7 TBF Avenger was trapped aboard and while taxiing with a 500-pound bomb in its bomb bay - the pilot, not knowing that he had an armed bomb hung up in his Bomb bay.. opened his Bomb bay doors, the bomb falling to the deck and exploded.

The Story from the Deck Log:

January 21, 1945.

1328: VT 124, Bu #23539 [a General Motors TBM-3 Avenger], pilot, LT(JG) C.R. Dean, 298954, and crewmen F.J. Blake, ARM3c, and D.E. Zima, AOM2c, made a normal landing and taxied forward. As the plane reached a point abreast the island a violent explosion occurred, believed to have been caused by the detonation of two (2) 500 lb. bombs adrift in the plane's bomb bay. The immediate results of the explosion were: casualties: killed - 62; critically injured - 46; seriously injured - 25; slightly injured - 20. A 10x16 foot hole in the flight deck, gallery deck area in the vicinity demolished, inboard side signal bridge wrecked. Three airplanes demolished. Numerous shrapnel holes throughout the island structure. Fires broke out on the flight, gallery, and hangar decks. Hauled clear of the formation and commenced maneuvering at various courses and speeds in an attempt to control the winds over the deck, and with high speed turns, to wash flooding water out of the hangar deck.

1342: Fire in hangar deck under control.

1405: Fire in gallery deck under control.

1406: Hancock planes in the vicinity commenced landing on other carriers of the Task Group.

1500: Rejoined station in formation.

1510: Emergency repairs to the flight deck completed.

CDR Joseph F. Parker, Senior Chaplain

CDR Joseph F. Parker, Senior Chaplain, 1944-45
  Father James J. Doyle, Chaplain, WWII
See Taps Section on these two Chaplains

CDR's Joseph F. Parker and J.J. Doyle were witness to the terror and mayhem that was experienced aboard Hancock during the destruction sent our way, by two exploding 500 Lb. bombs which dropped from the bomb bay of a returning TBM.

Don't forget to visit our WWII Galleries and...

Earl P. Ayers, HM3
(Click Picture)
WWII Extended Gallery

Click the Picture of Earl P. Ayres to see him today

Administrator, Navy Corpman Earl P. Ayers. Hersch comes to this office from a long career in Naval Aviation - over thirty years of active service, and we are proud to have him piped aboard.

I have included some pictures he sent me, and some portions of his Emails he sent me, that have some interesting information and comments. I'm sure you will find that Hersch is a very interesting and even fascinating man.

Hersch Pahl would feign from the limelight as anything 'Special' being a modest man, however the Yeoman knows him well enough that he would not like you to go very far into this Page before paying tribute to those of the Hancock who lost their lives in WWII. Therefore please make sure you visit the WWII Casualty Memorial before going further on this page. The Memorials listed between the Flag Bar below will load in extraneous Windows. Please close them when you wish to return Here to our WWII Memoiral...

Website Memorials

Wait while site Loads and while Amazing Grace is played for our Fallen Comrades


WWII Casualty Memorial

Click here for the Post Re-Commissioning Casualty List
Click here for Post-Re-commissioning
Casualty List

Hancock Vietnam War Casualty Memorial

The above casualty Pages do not reflect the many who lost their lives while working the Ship during the Hancock's Commission. It is fitting and Proper that we do so, that we may Remember them and the Sacrifice they made -

Our Taps Page

Lest We Forget...

Vietnam Service Ribbon
Jake's Virtual Wall
Please Visit here

Vietnam Veterans

Website Dedication & Tribute Page

Richard Sullivan's father filmed a brief Film Clip of the Celebrations in Honolulu, T.H. and he has been gracious enough to provide us access to this Superb Film Clip - the video is so good, you would think it was filmed yesterday.... Visit our Mirror Page for that Film Clip Here.

Herschel A. Pahl's Book, "Point Option"

Point Option gives you a Bird's Eye View of the Aerial War in the Pacific, as experienced by Herschel Pahl, who wrote it like a Daily Diary of Air Operations during the final years of the War. This book is a "Must Have" for anyone who wishes to understand what the War was like - the best History is that History as told by those who lived the Adventure and lived to Tell and Write about it

Point Option is now in it's Second Printing with the Blue Cover with more graphics and detail

1st Edition

Point Option - 1st Edition

2nd Edition

Point Option - 2nd Edition

Point Option - Carrier warfare in the pacific through the eyes of a Fighter Pilot

If you wish to order this book - Hersch states the way to do so is go to his Web
Site and use the Order Process there. Click the Button to go there.


Click here for Large Image (1024 x 659 Pixels | Click Here for Largest Image (1440x 913 Pixels)
Both of these Images load slowly as they are Large Images but do show detail better

VF-25 with VF-6 Baker in U.S.S. COWPENS CVL-25 -

Fighter Squadron VF-25 and VF-6 in USS Cowpens CVL-25 - "The Mighty Moo"
October 3, 1943


Fighting Six aboard USS COWPENS (CVL-25) in 1943

VF-6 in USS Cowpens CVL-25 - "The Mighty Moo" - October 3, 1943

Hersch's Fighting Six aboard Hancock in the latter part of WWII

Hersch Pahl's Sixth Division (VF-6) in Hancock in latter part of WWII

We've featured these Photos in our WWII Classic Images Gallery in our USS Hancock Memorial's Public Galleries

Visit the Hersch Pahl CitationHere are a few of the Emails which he stated some interesting facts and reminiscences...

"Jake: I shifted over to the regular navy after the war and stayed for 31 and 1/2 years. When I retired, after all those years of active duty, I was mighty proud to claim to be a "Navy Mustang", (i.e., I went all the way from Seaman to O6).

I had some top notch jobs; kept my nose clean; made my promotions and finally retired as a Captain (upper half) in 1973 just as Viet Nam was winding down and went back to my cattle ranch and tree farm in southern Missouri to raise cattle, grass and grandchildren.

My last assignment was at the University of Nebraska as Professor of Naval Science where I had all the Navy educational programs and gave military history lectures in the History Department. After retiring, I wrote and published a military history book about the carrier war in the Pacific. (both sides).

"This book, POINT OPTION, is written as my memoirs, but it covers the three combat cruises that I made in VF-6, including the last two which we made on the Hancock.

"I was the squadron record keeper. I kept the master log of all flights made and all the individual pilot's logs. I also kept a journal which put me in a good position to write such a document and lecture at the college level on the subject.

Now you should know that it includes a lot of detail about things that happened during the time that we were aboard. It reads like a diary ----- so don't be too quick to consider attempting to put this in any Oral History that you have going. First you should get a copy of the book and see what you are getting into. You may very well not want to have anything to do with it. You will have to decide. I am 82 years old now and I am a busy guy taking care of my stoke survivor wife. We have been getting along as stroke survivors for eighteen years now. She has a good memory and is sharp as a tack, but is severely handicapped and is aphasic (has no words) so we do everything together and find joy in what we do.

We have also written and published a book about "the Joy of Living After Having a Stroke " We sell our books on our web site...


"You might visit our site and take a look. There are some photos to see -- the first half supports the Stroke book (no longer in print) and the second half supports the Military History book, POINT OPTION. You might learn a little more about the author too. .

A letter he sent me back in 2007, "I just read your account of the Cowpens and was well pleased. No, I was not aboard for that typhoon, but I was aboard just before that. Bob Price, the CAG that got washed overboard was the skipper of the fighter squadron, VF-25 when I was there. VF-25 was made up of a detachment of 12 planes and pilots from Butch O'Hare's squadron VF-6. We went on the Cowpens maiden voyage to Wake Island Oct '43 and then after doing night carrier qualification landings and being rammed by a destroyer, we got in on the invasion of the Gilberts and the Dec '43 raid on the Marshals (when the new Lex got torpedoed). I loved that ol' ship and I am proud of what we did while flying from her deck. The detailed story of my time aboard her is written on pages 70 to 103 of my book POINT OPTION. I believe you will enjoy reading it. If you don't have a copy of the book, just say so and I'll send you one -- and if you want to pick out some of the little stories and add them to your web site COWPENS story -- go ahead --just give me a credit line. Captain McConnell was our skipper -- he had been the skipper of the old Langley when the Japs sunk it in '42 with a load of P-40s on deck Thanks - I enjoy being reminded of the good ol' days and my association with some great men and great ships.

"Note:- You are probably aware that CDR Price who got washed overboard, was later rescued a week or so later. Also I have several good photos of the pilots taken on the Cowpens while on the way to Wake in Oct '43. If you would like I'll try to scan and attach. Bobby Price is in the center of the first row - 5th from the left. If this photo comes through OK I'll send you one with our part (VF-6) of the squadron.

"I went aboard the Hancock as a LT in Fighting Squadron Six at Ulithi and did not leave until we were back in California for Navy Day in late Oct '45. I roomed with LT Jim Driver in the little chamber under the deck edge elevator where the machinery for the crane was located. No one else wanted it but we were snug as a bug in the rug, especially when we were up north in cold water.

"A comment about George Rogers - He was our poet who was mighty important to all because he could take serious situations and repost it with a degree of levity and sorta "jovalate" about it and give everyone some fun. Especially it is important to know that George is the author of the poem which the Hancock adopted as "theirs" and for a time they always said that the author was unknown. Find it on page 223 of POINT OPTION for the poem and the explanation of the circumstances of it being written. I included only the poems that George gave me signed copies of. He put his pen to others, but I did not think that I had the liberty to publish them. George succumbed to a heart attack shortly after he retired as a Captain in the 60s after he had been the author of the famous "Grandpa Petteybone" aviation safety articles in the old Naval Aviation Safety magazine. I am proud to have know him....

"Official history of Cowpens reads pretty good except,

1) there was a lot of air opposition that first morning at Wake and I got a twin engine Nell on the second afternoon.

2) The Cowpens got rammed while we were conducting night landing qualifications - clear moonlit night and a flat sea.

3) They didn't say anything about CDR Price being washed overboard and later being rescued but they did include a story on him later on, which I think might be wrong.

"Note: In the photos I sent to you (above) the guys with circles on them in ink were ones that we lost. All together at Wake we lost 8 planes but got two of the pilots back.

"I was pleased to read about the Langley in the Asiatic Fleet Page. In all my research I never did see that photo of it being abandoned with the "four stacker" Edsall standing by. That is a prize picture!!

"As you know the Cowpens was a sleek cruiser type which was as fast as any of the big ones (about the third of the size of the old Lex. When we were operating on a quartering sea it was great sport trying to land on her, thankfully most of us learned to chase the deck when she seemed to slide to the right or left --in order to get aboard. Never a dull moment on her!

"In the VF-6 photo that I sent you (above), the guy front row extreme right is Lt George Rogers. He is the author of all the poetry included in my Book POINT OPTION. He was a Catholic Alter Boy, a good writer and fighter pilot -- He is also the guy that broke my collar bone Christmas of '44. We spent the whole war together."


You can get your own copy of Hersch's incredible but true story by Visiting our Ship's Store or going to his Website.

Although Captian Hersch Pahl is no longer with us, your Yeoman is striving to keep his memory and legacy alive. Therefore I ask that you support my effots to keep this and all my Military Memorials so they contine. Visit the Donations Page.

Please visit Captain Pahl's 'Point Option' Book Website: Hersch's Books Website.

Return to Issuing Page

Sign Guest Book

Email Hersch Pahl

Admin Department

WWII Casualty Memorial

Home Page