aircraft had lost it's tail hook
Robert Schnaufer - lookout watch on the 07 level
I'm not sure of the date but it was between the years of 1964-1967. We were on "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin, Viet Nam. We had just launched our aircraft and I was standing lookout watch on the 07 level. A call came in on my sound powered phones saying that one of our aircraft had lost it's tail hook. That means that he could not land without emergency measures being deployed. The siren sounded and all of the flight-deck crew responded as they did many times before.
This time it was not a practice run but the real thing. The crash barrier went up almost immediately and they made a barricade of movable vehicles across the deck in back of the barrier. This was to insure that if the pilot crashed thru the barrier, he would not end up in the sea. Now everyone was tense as the A4 Jet made it's long winding sweep around the ship to get into position to land.
I could see thru my binoculars as I did many times before that he was lining up perfectly, a little low I thought but with the movement of the ship you couldn't really tell.
He came in and the back wheels touched first. As the nose came down, it was caught in the nylon straps of the barrier. The barrier stretched beyond the limits of sanity it seemed like. But it held and the plane came to an abrupt halt. Everyone on board was cheering and yelling.
That to me was a great accomplishment on the part of the flight deck crew of the USS Yorktown.
Picture caption: Panther is stopped on the Yorktown flight deck by the barrier in the 1950s
and Shortest Yorktown Sailors
During the WestPac Cruise of 1967-1968
On the Yorktown Quarterdeck
Seaman Richard McMahon of "B" Division claims to the tallest man aboard the Yorktown, in that he stands 6'5". He is grateful for being this tall, since height plays an important part in basketball adaptability. McMahon says "Most of the time I like being this tall." However, height can be an extreme disadvantage when low overheads and hatches present brain-shattering obstacles. Also, racks aren't custom made; consequently, feet tend to dangle at the end of the rack. Yet, reaching high places presents no difficulty to McMahon.
On the other hand, being short is Seaman Apprentice Rodney Williams' claim to fame. Being every bit of 5' 4", Williams of the Yorktown print shop, has no regrets about his height. Low overheads and hatches are no problem; Williams easily gets through the "clinches."
Chuck Michael, VS-23, ATN-4
Two hours out of San Diego on my first WestPac the first Stoof hit the deck right above our crew quarters. Airplanes were landing a few feet above our heads on the flight deck.
A couple of weeks of 16 hour days taught us to sleep right through it. We could sleep anywhere.
No air-conditioning but lots of exercise and great chow. Just the ticket for a 19 year old. The ship rocked to starboard and we got ice cold water out of the shower, when it rocked to port we got steam. 12 hour days in the shop fixing Arc-27s, nuke loading crew drill twice a week , 6 hour flight every other day, single- engine landing back aboard at night, port and starboard duty, shootin skeet off the port side.
I hope the ships skipper made Admiral. We sure earned it. Lots of fun too. Looooootttttttssssss of fun. Best times of my life.
USS YORKTOWN ALMOST RUNS INTO...a whale, marine life, UFO?????
We were steaming along on a beautiful, sunny day. I don't remember which ocean were in at the time but it was on a West Pac cruise & I believe it was around Okinawa. All of a sudden about a mile ahead of us there was some kind of disturbance in the sea ahead of us.
The captain called for all engines ahead 1/3 to slow us down. I believe I had the helm at the time so I had a good view out of the windows on the captains bridge. Steam seemed to coming out of the ocean and what ever it was, was getting bigger.
At first we thought it was a whale but soon it was apparent it was getting much to big to be any kind of marine life. The ocean steamed and boiled. By this time the captain had called for all engines to stop and we just sat dead in the water. As we watched, land began to surface ahead of us. It was black & steaming and the water roiled around it and we weren't sure what it was, but it was looking scarier and scarier by the second.
Apparently it was
some kind of volcanic activity going on under the sea & the lava actually came
to the surface & it scared the Hell out of all of us. Finally it all submerged
again, the steam slowly subsided, and the sea was again calm, as if nothing had
Every thing seemed so sure real that I wasn't sure I had seen what I saw, but I know it happened, I saw it & I'll never forget it.
A year or so ago I was watching the Discovery channel or
National Geographic, or one of those channels & had a program on the same thing
happening, and what an unusual event it is. I feel fortunate to have been one of
the few people to have witnessed such an event.
Ron Porter QM3 1960 to 1963 email