Hannah's Last Operations

Contributed by Joe Zeller

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Note from Joe Zeller...

Ever since I visited your site, I have been searching for my box of Navy memories. Well I found it!!!!! The following is an important part of Hancock history ''AJ'' (after Jaccard). I know your visitors will enjoy this information.

This is part of a report sent in June '75 from the commander of task group 77.3 to the commander of task force 77. I know this information is accurate because I was part of these operations as a Radioman.

"HANCOCK'S participation in NEMVAC operation effectively commenced on 22 Mar 75 when directed to proceed at best speed to Pearl Harbor to onload the aircraft and men of HMH-463. On 26 Mar75 HANCOCK departed Hawaii with the marine onload com- pleted, and despite significant engineering problems arrived at Subic on 6 Apr75. The in-port period 7-8 Apr 75 was utilized to complete the material conversion from CVA to LPH. CVW-21 was offloaded and various marine units were embarked. HANCOCK sortied for NEMVAC Ops on 9 Apr75, arriving in the Gulf of Thailand the evening of 11 Apr75 as augmentation for ARG ALFA.

"The arrival of HANCOCK permitted the execution of EAGLE PULL to be accomplished on 12 Apr 75 in a single coordinated hilo lift. HANCOCK hilos extracted the 360 man USMC ground security force drawing fire as the evacuation concluded.

"After EAGLE PULL, HANCOCK was ordered to Singapore in a 72 hour alert posture. After one day inport, the FREQUENT WIND alert was changed to 24 hours. HANCOCK cancelled liberty, recalled all personnel and made preparations to get underway. HANCOCK was underway when directed and was the first unit on station.

"Ten days later, on 29 Apr75, operation FREQUENT WIND was executed. The operation lasted 18 hours in which HANCOCK helos transported 700 ground forces and over 3800 refugees to HANCOCK and other units. HANCOCK'S hanger bays were congested with over 2000 men, woman, and children refugees, in addition to the 900 men of BLT 1/9 and their equipment.

"Although HANCOCK unexpectedly recovered 32 VNAF and AIR AMERICA helicopters during operation FREQUENT WIND, no accidents occurred, no helos were turned away, and no HANCOCK evacuation sorties were lost. 12 VNAF UH-1's and 2 CH-47's ultimately had to be jettisoned.

"HANCOCK returned to SUBIC BAY, offloaded the evacuees, reconverted to a CVA and entered an upkeep period. The MAYAGUEZ seizure interrupted this period and thirty two hours after being alerted, HANCOCK sailed as an LPH with CTG 76, 9TH MAB, and BLT 2/4 embarked. After assisting with MAYAGUEZ, HANCOCK returned to Subic...."

Hope this was of some interest.....

Best Wishes,
Joseph Zeller

Submitted 3/13/2007
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The Bruce Collison Vietnam Evacuation Gallery

A Marine's thoughts about the 'Fighting Hannah' during this time