USS Hancock was commissioned in 1944, and was an aircraft carrier of the Essex-class. The ship was built in Massachusetts and then sent to the Pacific in the summer and was involved in combat almost right away. She helped with raids on the Philippines, the Ryukyus and Formosa, and was damaged by a typhoon and a suicide plane in the end of 1944.
In 1945, the ship helped with the Luzon landings and was part of the raid in the South China Sea performed by Task Force 38. There was an accident shortly into the deployment that killed 50 service men aboard the vessel and injured dozens more. The following day, USS Hancock launched attack planes on Okinawa.
In 1945, the ship was again damaged by a suicide plane that killed 62 crewmen and prompted a return to the United States for repairs in a shipyard. Hancock was able to return to the Pacific and help throughout the final days of World War II, and then took a role as a transit vessel for servicemen and aircraft. For eight years, USS Hancock was inactive until 1954 when she was recommissioned and modernized to deploy to the Far East, where she spent two years. After that, the ship became a part of the Seventh Fleet in the Pacific, helped in the Vietnam War, and decommissioned and was sold for scrap in 1976.
USS HANCOCK (CV-19)
The fourth Hancock (CV-19) was laid down as Ticonderoga 26 January 1943 by the Bethlehem Steel Co.
Mass.; renamed Hancock 1 May 1943
launched 24 January 1944; sponsored by Mrs. DeWitt C. Ramsey
wife of Rear Admiral Ramsey
Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics; and commissioned 15 April 1944
Captain Fred C. Dickey in command.
After fitting out in the Boston Navy Yard and shake-down training off Trinidad and Venezuela
Hancock returned to Boston for alterations 9 July. She departed Boston 31 July en route to Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and San Diego
and from th
ere sailed 24 September to join Admiral W. F. Halsey's 3d Fleet at Ulithi 5 October. She was assigned to Rear Admiral Bogan's Carrier Task Group 38.2.
Hancock got underway the following afternoon for a rendezvous point 375 miles west of the Marianas where units of Vice Admiral Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force 38 were assembling in preparation for the daring cruise to raid Japanese air and se
a bases in the Ryukyus
and the Philippines. Thus enemy air power was paralyzed during General MacArthur's invasion of Leyte. When the armada arrived off the Ryukyu Islands 10 October 1944
Hancock's planes rose off her deck to wreak destr
uction upon Okinawan airfields and shipping. Her planes destroyed 7 enemy aircraft on the ground and assisted in the destruction of a submarine tender
12 torpedo boats
2 midget submarines
4 cargo ships
and a number of sampans. Next on the agenda were
Formosan air bases where 12 October Hancock s pilots downed six enemy planes and destroyed nine more on the ground. She also reported one cargo ship definitely sunk
three probably destroyed
and several others damaged.
As they repelled an enemy air raid that evening
Hancock's gunners accounted for a Japanese plane and drove countless others off during 7 hours of uninterrupted general quarters. The following morning her planes resumed their assault
ut ammunition dumps
and industrial plants ashore and damaging an enemy transport. As Japanese planes again attacked the Americans during their second night off Formosa
Hancock's antiaircraft fire brought down another raider whi
ch splashed about 500 yards off her eight deck. On the morning of the third day of operations against this enemy stronghold Hancock lashed out again at airfields and shipping before retiring to the southeast with her task force. As the American shi
ps withdrew a heavy force of Japanese aircraft roared in for a parting crack. One dropped a bomb off Hancock's port bow a few seconds before the carrier's guns splashed her into the sea. Another bomb penetrated a gun platform but exploded harmlessl
y in the water. The surviving attackers then turned tail
and the task force was thereafter unmolested as they sailed toward the Philippines to support the landings at Leyte.
On 18 October she launched planes against airfields and shipping at Laoag
and Camiguin Island in Northern Luzon. Her planes struck the islands of Cebu
pounding enemy airfields and shipping. The next day she retired
toward Ulithi with Vice Admiral John S. McCain's Carrier Task Group 38.1.
She received orders 23 October to turn back to the area off Samar to assist in the search for units of the Japanese fleet reportedly closing Leyte to challenge the American fleet and to destroy amphibious forces which were struggling to take the island
from Japan. Hancock did not reach Samar in time to assist the heroic escort carriers and destroyers of "Taffy 3" during the main action of the Battle off Samar but her planes did manage to lash the fleeing Japanese Center Force as it passed throug
h the San Bernardino Straits. Hancock then rejoined Rear Admiral Bogan's Task Group with which she struck airfields and shipping in the vicinity of Manila 29 October 1944. During operations through 19 November
her planes gave direct support to adv
ancing Army troops and attacked Japanese shipping over a 350-mile area. She became flagship of Fast Carrier Task Force 38
17 November 1944 when Vice Admiral McCain came on board.
Unfavorable weather prevented operations until 25 November when an enemy aircraft roared toward Hancock in a suicide dive out of the sun. Antiaircraft fire exploded the plane some 300 feet above the ship but a section of its fuselage landed amid
ships and a part of the wing hit the flight deck and burst into flames. Prompt and skillful teamwork quickly extinguished the blaze and prevented serious damage.
Hancock returned to Ulithi 27 November and departed from that island with her task group to maintain air patrol over enemy airfields on Luzon to prevent enemy suicide attacks on amphibious vessels of the landing force in Mindoro. The first strik
es were launched 14 December against Clark and Angeles Airfields as well as enemy ground targets on Salvador Island. The next day her planes struck installations at Masinloc
and  Cabatuan
while fighter patrols kept the Japanese airmen
down. Her planes also attacked shipping in Manila Bay.
Hancock encountered a severe typhoon 17 December and rode out the storm in waves which broke over her flight deck
some 55 feet above her waterline. She put into Ulithi 24 December and got underway 6 days later to attack airfields and shipping a
round the South China Sea. Her planes struck hard blows at Luzon airfields 7 and 8 January and turned their attention back to Formosa 9 January hitting fiercely at airfields and the Tokyo Seaplane Station. An enemy convoy north of Camranh Bay
was the next victim with 2 ships sunk and 11 damaged. That afternoon Hancock launched strikes against airfields at Saigon and shipping on the northeastern bulge of French Indochina. Strikes by the fast and mobile carrier force continued through 16
hitting Hainan Island in the Gulf of Tonkin
the Pescadores Islands
and shipping in the harbor of Hong Kong. Raids against Formosa were resumed 20 January 1945. The next afternoon one of her planes returning from a sortie made a normal landing
taxied to a point abreast of the island
and disintegrated in a blinding explosion which killed 50 men and injured 75 others. Again outstanding work quickly brought the fires under control in time to land other planes which were still aloft. She returned
to formation and launched strikes against Okinawa the next morning.
Hancock reached Ulithi 25 January where Vice Admiral McCain left the ship and relinquished command of the 5th Fleet. She sortied with the ships of her task group 10 February and launched strikes against airfields in the vicinity of Tokyo 16 Febr
uary. During that day her air group downed 71 enemy planes
and accounted for 12 more the next. Her planes hit the enemy naval bases at Chichi Jima and Haha Jima 19 February. These raids were conducted to isolate Iwo Jima from air and sea support when mar
ines hit the beaches of that island to begin one of the most bloody and fierce campaigns of the war. Hancock took station off this island to provide tactical support through 22 February
hitting enemy airfields and strafing Japanese troops ashore.
Returning to waters off the enemy home islands
Hancock launched her planes against targets on northern Honshu
making a diversionary raid on the Nansei-shoto islands 1 March before returning to Ulithi 4 March.
Back in Japanese waters Hancock Joined other carriers in strikes against Kyushu airfields
southwestern Honshu and shipping in the Inland Sea of Japan
18 March 1945. Hancock was refueling destroyer Halsey Powell 20 March when sui
cide planes attacked the task force. One plane dove for the two ships but was disintegrated by gunfire when about 700 feet overhead. Fragments of the plane hit Hancock's deck while its engine and bomb crashed the fantail of the destroyer. Hancoc
k's gunners shot down another plane as it neared the release point of its bombing run on the carrier.
Hancock was reassigned to Carrier Task Group 58.3 with which she struck the Nansei-shoto islands 23 through 27 March and Minami Daito Jima and Kyushu at the end of the month.
When the 10th Army landed on the western coast of Okinawa 1 April Hancock was on hand to provide close air support. A suicide plane cartwheeled across her flight deck 7 April and crashed into a group of planes while its bomb hit the port catapul
t to cause a tremendous explosion. Although 62 men were killed and 71 wounded
heroic efforts doused the fires within half an hour enabling her to be back in action before an hour had passed.
Hancock was detached from her task group 9 April and steamed to Pearl Harbor for repairs. She sailed back into action 13 June and left lethal calling cards at Wake Island 20 June en route to the Philippines. Hancock sailed from San Pedro
Bay with the other carriers 1 July and attacked Tokyo airfields 10 July. She continued to operate in Japanese waters until she received confirmation of Japan's capitulation 15 August 1945 when she recalled her planes from their deadly missions before they
reached their targets. However planes of her photo division were attacked by seven enemy aircraft over Sagami Wan. Three were shot down and a fourth escaped in a trail of smoke. Later that afternoon planes of Hancock's air patrol shot down a Japan
ese torpedo plane as it dived on a British task force. Her planes flew missions over Japan in search of prison camps
dropping supplies and medicine
25 August. Information collected during these flights led to landings under command of Commodore R. W. S
impson which brought doctors and supplies to all Allied prisoner of war encampments.
When the formal surrender of the Japanese Imperial Government was signed on board battleship Missouri
Hancock's planes flew overhead. The carrier entered Tokyo Bay 10 September 1945 and sailed 30 September embarking 1
500 passengers at O
kinawa for transportation to San Pedro
where she arrived 21 October. Hancock was fitted out for "Magic Carpet" duty at San Pedro and sailed for Seeadler Harbor
Manus Admiralty Islands
2 November. On her return voyage she carried 4
0 passengers who were debarked at San Diego 4 December. A week later Hancock departed for her second "Magic Carpet" voyage
773 passengers at Manila for return to Alameda
20 January 1946. She embarked Air Group 7 at San Diego 1
8 February for air operations off the coast of California. She sailed from San Diego 11 March to embark men of two air groups and aircraft at Pearl Harbor for transportation to Saipan
arriving 1 April 1946. After receiving two other air groups on board a
she loaded a cargo of aircraft at Guam and steamed by way of Pearl Harbor to Alameda
arriving 23 April 1946. She then steamed to Seattle
29 April to await inactivation. The proud ship decommissioned and entered the reserve fleet
Hancock commenced conversion and modernization to an attack aircraft carrier in Puget Sound 15 December 1951 and was reclassified CVA-19
1 October 1952. She recommissioned 15 February 1954
Captain W. S. Butts in command. She was the first carr
ier of the United States Fleet with steam catapults capable of launching high performance jets.
She was off San Diego 7 May 1954 for operations along the coast of California that included the launching 17 June of the first aircraft to take off a United States carrier by means of a steam catapult. After a year of operations along the Pacific coast
that included testing of Sparrow I and Regulus missiles and Cutlass Jet aircraft
she sailed 10 August 1955 for 7th Fleet operations ranging from the shores of Japan to the Philippines and Okinawa. She returned to San Diego 15 March 1956 and decommission
ed 13 April for conversion that included the installation of an angled flight deck.
Hancock recommissioned 15 November 1956 for training out of San Diego until 6 April 1957 when she again sailed for Hawaii and the Far East. She returned to San Diego 18 September 1957 and again departed for Japan 15 February 1958. She was a unit
of powerful carrier task groups taking station off Taiwan when the Nationalist Chinese islands of Quemoy and Matsu were threatened with Communist invasion in August 1958. The carrier returned to San Diego 2 October 1958 for overhaul in the San Francisco
followed by rigorous at sea training out of San Diego. On 1 August 1959
she sailed to reinforce the 7th Fleet as troubles in Laos demanded the watchful presence of powerful American forces in water off southeast Asia. She returned to San
Francisco 18 January 1960 and put to sea early in February to participate in a new demonstration of communications by reflecting ultra-high-frequency waves off the moon She again departed in August to steam with the 7th Fleet in waters off Laos until less
ening of tension in that area permitted operations ranging from Japan to the Philippines.
Hancock returned to San Francisco in March 1961
then entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for an overhaul that gave her new electronics gear and many other improvements. She again set sail for Far Eastern waters  2 February 1962
ing in the South China Sea as crisis and strife mounted both in Laos and in South Vietnam. She again appeared off Quemoy and Matsu in June 1962 to stem a threatened Communist invasion there
then trained along the coast of Japan and in waters reaching to
Okinawa. She returned to San Francisco 7 October 1962
made a brief cruise to the coast of Hawaii while qualifying pilots then again sailed 7 June 1963 for the Far East.
Hancock joined in combined defense exercises along the coast of South Korea
then deployed off the coast of South Vietnam after the coup which resulted in the death of President Diem. She entered the Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard 16 January 1964
for modernization that included installation of a new ordnance system
and aluminum decking for her flight deck. She celebrated her 20th birthday 2 June 1964 while visiting San Diego. The carrier made a training cruise to Hawaii
ted Alameda 21 October 1964 for another tour of duty with the 7th Fleet in the Far East.
Hancock reached Japan 19 November and soon was on patrol at Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. She remained active in Vietnamese waters fighting to thwart Communist aggression until heading for home early in the spring of 1965.
November found the carrier steaming back to the war zone She was on patrol off Vietnam 16 December; and
but for brief respites at Hong Kong
Hancock remained on station launching her planes for strikes at enemy positi
ons ashore until returning to Alameda
1966. Her outstanding record during this combat tour won her the Navy Unit Commendation.
Following operations off the West Coast
Hancock returned to Vietnam early in 1967 and resumed her strikes against Communist positions. After fighting during most of the first half of 1967
she returned to Alameda 22 July and promptly began prep
arations for returning to battle.
Hancock was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and received four battle stars for service in World War II.
[Note: The above USS HANCOCK (CV-19) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS HANCOCK (CV-19) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]