The USS Hancock was Operating Jets from a Straight Deck for the Last Time in this Video
The Essex-class carrier USS Hancock (CVA-19) was launched on 24 January 1944 and commissioned that same year on 15 April. “Hanna” earned four battle stars fighting her way across the Pacific as a pivotal cog in the legendary World War II Fast Carrier Task Forces 38 and 58. The Hancock was one of the few aircraft carriers to spend its entire career (after construction) in the Pacific both during and after World War II. The ship was originally named Ticonderoga but was renamed after the John Hancock life insurance company conducted a special bond drive to raise money for construction of the ship. Enjoy this look at mid-1950s straight-deck carrier ops as uploaded to YouTube by Jake Jaccard.
Tragedy and the Line Up
Embarked aboard the Hancock at the time the film as shot was Carrier Air Group ONE TWO (CVG-12) consisting of VF-121 Pacemakers flying the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar, VF-124 Stingarees flying the Vought F7U-3 Cutlass, VA-125 Rough Raiders flying the Douglas AD-5 and AD-6 Skyraider, Detachment G of VMJ-1 Banshees flying the McDonnell F2H-2P Banshee, Detachment G of VC-3 Blue Nemesis flying the F2H-3 Banshee, Detachment G of VC-6 Skeeters flying the North American AJ-2 Savage, Detachment G of VC-61 Eyes of the Fleet flying the F9F-6P Cougar, Detachment G of VC-35 Night Hecklers flying the AD-5N Skyraider, Detachment G of VC-11 Early Elevens flying the AD-5W Skyraider, and Detachment G of HU-1 Pacific Fleet Angels flying the Piasecki HUP Retriever helicopter. VF-124 suffered a particularly high aircraft and pilot loss rate during this cruise.
Hancock at War and Peace and War Again
After World War II concluded the Hancock was laid up until 1951, when she was reactivated and modernized for use with jet aircraft- receiving the first steam catapults installed aboard US Navy aircraft carriers but at first not the angled deck. She operated for two years with a straight deck (during which time the footage above was shot) before receiving the more extensive SCB-125 conversion adding the angled deck and mirror landing system. Recommissioned again in November of 1956, over the next 20 years Hancock deployed sixteen times to the Western Pacific and was a member of the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club for nine Vietnam deployments. The ship was finally decommissioned in 1976.