Alan J. Figone
Aircraft Electrician (AE) VF-211
Aug 70 to Sept 73
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I am Alan (Al) J. Figone. .
I served aboard the Hannah from Aug 70 to Sept 73 while assigned to VF-211.
My Squadron was from NAS Miramar (Fightertown USA) in San Diego, Ca. I spent 38 1/2 months between the two locations with the vast bulk onboard rather than offboard. I made three WESTPACs during that time. My rating was as an Aircraft Electrician (AE) and we flew F-8's. We were the "Checkmates" and our aircraft had the red and white checker board pattern with a large red check across the tail.
A story (funny now but not at the time) was that the Hannah was so reliable that we always were picking up line time for the other "bigger and newer" carriers because they were always in dock for repairs and someone had to keep the war going so Hannah always was picked. During my second cruise we set a line time duration record of 110 days straight (I think that was the length) on Yankee station without a break. That was a long time believe me!
When we came home to San Francisco/Alameda we had a 3000 Ft. purple banner flying over our ship as recognition of our accomplishment. We all earned the "Navy Unit Commendation" medal. This banner had 1 foot for each shipmate and was held airborne by dozens of helium filled balloons. I'll never forget sailing back under the Golden Gate bridge with that flag/banner.
One good memory for me upon returning home was always the night before we docked at Alameda. We'd sail back and forth across the opening of the San Francisco Bay. We'd be sitting on the flight deck just looking at the best sight. We were back in the world!!!!! It was a long night of total wind-down just waiting for high tide so we could get under that bridge and hit the shore with our families and friends.
And do you all remember what we did, right under the bridge span, each and everytime we came home? That's right.. The ship would blow the boilers and totally engulf the bridge with the blackest smoke I've ever seen. Some nasty stuff. But, everytime it told me "WE WERE HOME!!!".
How about the expression "GAF". I still have a belt buckle I had made in Japan that told it like it was.
We all did our jobs and I don't care what anyone ever says, we came and we served. And we are all fortunate to have been on the best ship in the whole fleet: The "Fighting Hannah". She did it all to help us do it all and she always brought us back safely. I'll always be part of CVA-19!
Thanks for letting me have this chance to talk with you. I could go on for hours. Heck I spent years with her and she was always there for me.
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