Us Navy, Battle Fleet, United States discussed on Veterans Chronicles
Our guest this week on veterans chronicles. Is John Hancock? He is a World War Two veteran. Us Navy veteran. He was a gun on board. The USS Yorktown during the pivotal battle of Midway in June of nineteen forty two as the allies seized momentum in the Pacific that would last throughout the rest of the war. Mr Hancock. Thank you very much for being with US employer. Let's start with the beginning of your story. Where were you born and raised? I was born and raised in South Georgia North Florida I was born August tenth. Nineteen twenty four if you can believe graduated from High School in Georgia Georgia Navy. October twenty seven which used to be Navy Day are just still is nineteen forty one and there were three hundred sixty dollars from that area that join the navy that day And we want to Norfolk for our boot. Training graduated December fifth nineteen forty one and Norfolk and Japanese changed our minds on two days. Later and one aboard Yorktown CV five on the following week. It was in Drydock in Newport News and we got underway a few days later and went around to the Florida Straits through the canal up to San Diego had a few days. There got Iran. After Christmas we left said Diego at cod void so more battalion marines and their material dropped him off Of course we didn't go in being on a carrier. We didn't go into foreign ports although some more was marcus for the Japanese were running rapid so we didn't know what was going to happen or anything and so we left there and we went out to sea and over. The horizon came on another battle fleet and additional hours. We had Six destroyers and two cruisers plus are carrier York doubt and hours and then this Battle Fleet. It turned out was commanded by later to become famous. William Bear falls here calling bull back and he took off. It landed on Yorktown a pilot fly. Molo. He was apologizing so And he and our Admiral Admiral Fletcher got their heads together without our permission to course decided to bomb the Japanese so the first retaliatory strike of the war coordinated battle fleet was done in the Marshall Gilbert Island by the enterprise and her battle group in New York town and our battlegroup. We left there. What Pearl Harbor our first time? They're there for a few days. Took it all supplies re-fuelled and all that stuff off and we left there and went down to the Carl See. Japanese had ball townsend in northern Australia. And they were tried to invade. Port Moresby New Guinea. And we joined the the Oh Lexington Lexington Had We'll ran back into and then we bumped into the gap unease and they bumped into us and we had what I carrier by. The history of the world called Battle of the Coral Sea old man. The eight nine thousand nine hundred forty two. We just celebrated the New York with the Australian survivors. The Lexington was soak and we took a couple of bald and my good friends in the Marine Corps. Lock to tell you that. The Marines were first ashore in the Solomon Islands on Guadalcanal turned out to our fodder played Johnny Adams. Scotland custody was all were strafed and carrying on the dive bombers And it took a hit the gas take because he did it and so they landed on the beach at Guadalcanal. Nobody there and add landed behind him. And so the navy beat are good buddies a few days anyway. We should've destroyer in to pick them up. And which took launch three times that day. Mom to log as the Japanese were landed enforce and That tip the Japanese off that America was there was a carrier to and so and next couple of days we join forces had had what was called the battle of the Coral Sea. Lexington was so we took a couple of ball hits and we left and came back to Pearl fleck speed because admiral limits toll are admiral. Admiral Fletcher Bustard apparrel. We left an oil slick all the way because Jeff should open the seem. We wouldn't Pearl Harbor. Went around four dollars and right into dry dock and of course just being a kid see when I just heard scuttle but they said that it's totally yard workers To have that ship out of their seventy two hours he knew about the COVINGTON midway so they sent all of us. Kids are sure to get us out of the way. I guess people do what they were doing. What to work around the clock so into seventy two hours. They flooded the draw. Could we backed out and went to see in between the I Wa who had Monaco. We recovered airplanes and we went to place it. They had designated as point look which is approximately one hundred fifty miles northeast of Midway Island and we sat there and waited on Jap we got there about June the first or the second and then on June the fourth are PB wise located the jet. Fleet six carriers and their accompanying escort So I have to be Scott lookout and hours. Run over the way the to bridge. You could hear the admiral talking to the captain. The more than a June fourth and captain came out and said the admiral the Py's was located part of the J applete. They reported to carrier. Admiral says well. Let's just wait till it gives us a better fix at pretty soon. And there was another report that they had found the main fleet or some such thing and then I heard the admiral. Tell the captain signal enterprise who had the The other admiral. Oh there that was junior to Admiral. Fletcher tell a lot to deck loads everything got off the enterprise and Hornet and we will follow. As soon as we recover our scouts. We had to scout duty that morning and so they took off at Fortuna. Our Scout Hove into view and we recovered and so we should off. Our Butterfly are dive bombers and torpedo planes and fighters away at turned out the enterprise. Crusty clusky spotted a Jap destroyer and followed it to the Japanese fleet. That destroyer was a JEB. Destroy which is keeping all of our subs down that had got in there and it paid off. He got there and it just so happened at Yorktown attack. Force got there at the same time. So For their carriers. Three other carriers and it's important to note that the reason they all had four carriers at midway because we psych wanted heavily damaged two others goes ahead six in their battle fleet that had bombed Pearl Harbor on December seventh but anyway They've missed one. That was under a rain cloud. They came back to the ship at a Japanese following them and they attacked us at dropped. The ball down our stack and one on the flight deck where I got wounded knocked out but it stopped us and we were did in water for about the lowered. Our finally got bowlers by Code. Line and we got underway at radar reported unidentified aircraft approaching from the West Ed so our fighter intercept and enterprise fighters went out to intercept. What was left of the Hornet when you see the Hornet squadrons got lost splashed into water so made it made it back but they got the play had said are played over to land on the enterprise and Hornet the Japanese torpedo planes and they drop torpedoes on us. I was firing at them like everybody else was questionable whether we hit anything or not but anyway they dropped. Two torpedoes hit us back on the port. Quarter added stopped us again and we were listed we over the port captain. Orders ordered us to abandon the ship so we did At the our our planes that were on the enterprise and Hornet went with what they had left and found out fourth carrier psyche. It so cycle carriers important thing. We had psyched those that water. Have it damage? The other two that were at Pearl Harbor had six as I said before there would have been six carriers up so that Kinda helped matters. I guess so. We abandon ship and I went over the side over the port side. The flight deck was dipping into water. I got lost from everybody else. Mcconnell look I found myself all alone the ocean has courage like in the air and I got caught. 'cause we were taking the wounded and put those life biscuits we call them around thing. Putting a wounded scenario holding all of them but more guys kept coming our way to one hundred and thirty pounds elbowed me off so I found myself all alone was getting Dark Halo Old Cape Hawke Life Jacket and I had a TAB hanging out. Look down at it. Said flotation assured for twelve hours. Getting dark and I'd been the water a couple of hours by then so just before it got to darkness destroyer and I'll never forget it. I live to be a thousand. Dd Four Levin turned out media USS Anderson so they put me on a mess table out in the hall they felt. I had shrapnel in my right leg and neck oh and So but anyway. They took care of that. The next day they transferred US underway to the heavy cruiser Portland Cold bags and we started her overnight and the next day the USS full to the subject or had come out from Pearl took us all aboard. We went to Pearl Harbor Sir. Let's pause right there. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back with John. Hancock World War Two. Us Navy veteran on veterans chronicles. We are back on veterans chronicles on the Radio America network. I'm Greg Columbus and I'm joined today by John Hancock. He is a veteran of World War. Two the US Navy served as gunner on the Yorktown and Sir You were just explaining the harrowing story of abandoning ship when the Yorktown was repeatedly torpedoed during the battle of midway and you're ultimately picked up by a destroyer. What's going through your mind as as your floating in the water during that time well of course of action for somebody to come and pulled me out of it at it. You get off the cold because you get soaked with water your way out to see I was hoping somebody would come by and did And so I think we had gotten to the place where the transferred US underway from the heavy cruiser Portland to the Fulton Pearl Harbor and the Navy sent the whole crew down to a little place on Oahu called Cooler. Actually we were almost like prisoners of war because the Navy America did not want to Japanese though that we were suck and so we just had a lot of fun playing in the surf off. Have you while down the air? I was an expert. Something like picking up cigarette butts and stuff like that so raking so they had me out doing more expertise and this Phil I was working with another sailor should ask me if I fell right. I said of course he said I said why he said because your lips or purple okay. I looked at my fingernails and they were just black so they had a Cormon in a little dispensary there and I went in there and he checked my bottles. Loaded jeep cured man to the hospital in Pearl Harbor where they found it. My right lung had collapsed and was a lack of oxygen..