Rich Kirsch's "Fighting Hannah"
U.S.S. Hancock CVA-19
OA/OP Division Photo Lab


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Rich Kirsch's Photo Lab Photo Galleries

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Meet Rich KirschWelcome to my Website and the OA/OP Division Photo Galleries. These galleries are unique in that they were images that I collected, as a Photographers Mate in the middle 50's. These images somewhat captures that period in Naval Aviation, and is unique in more ways than one, for they depict the last period that the Navy launched planes off of straight deck aircraft carriers, for the time was shortly before the Era beginning Steam Catapult use in the United States Navy, and the HANCOCK was the very first American Carrier that employed them.

The photos in this collection are not all the photos that I, personally took, but many are.

Mostly, they are copies of photos, taken by our OP Division Photo Lab Crew which came into my possession and which I carried off of the ship as souvenirs of my time aboard the USS Hancock CVA-19, when I was released back into civilian life in 1956.

I am very proud of this collection and am very grateful that Jake of "Jake's 'Yankee Station' - U.S.S. Hancock CV/CVA-19 Memorial, has given me the opportunity to share my memories with all of you.

History is best told by those who lived the Adventure, and lived to tell about it. My own experiences are no different. I am sure most veterans would agree, that these times were some of the most poignant times in our young lives, and we are so grateful that the Internet came along so we could share this History with you as my visitor.

For those of you who would like to enjoy Naval History as collected and shared by Jake and others, he invited you to visit the HANCOCK MEMORIAL's home Page, and those of our Web Partners.

You will notice that I often show myself as a young Sailor on this website. That's because I'm sure, inside me and every older man is a young man trying to get out.

I created this website to help us envision life as it was in our youth, and to let all of my visitors who served in the military, to get in touch with that younger person inside, if for only a few brief moments, while they are aboard this Website. I hope it works for you, as it does for me, and so I'll say once again, "Welcome Aboard" and "Happy Cruising back into the past with me in the OP Division, aboard the USS Hancock CVA-19." It is here, where you can re-live the Adventure once more.

Again, thanks for coming to this corner of the Internet, to enjoy my website and my galleries. I hope your stay here is enjoyable and rewarding.

If you would like to leave your comments about your stay here, please feel free to use our Guest Book which I call the "Deck Log" - You will be asked for a password to get in. I'll give you that password here which is the Hancock's Hull Number (there are others that will work). The Hull number for the Hancock was "19" - an easy number to remember. Or you may wish to try out the Quiz on the Gate Keeper to the "Deck Log".

Please visit our Memorial Gallery - there will be more as time goes by, but for now, please
make a 'Port Call' over to...

LCDR Jay T. Alkire - Charles H. Faulkner Memorial Gallery

This Gallery recently was added to the Website to keep the Memories of two Fallen Comrades alive and also to thank it's contributor, Ms. Debi Faulkner-Ouellette.

Therefore we are honoring LCDR Jay T. Alkire and Charles Henry Faulkner, BM1, USN in this Special Gallery.

LCDR Alkire was killed in a failed Trap aboard the USS Hancock in 1955. Charles Faulkner knew a Photographers Mate who was involved in the incident, who passed the images on to him. Debi Faulkner-Ouellette, daughter of Charles, sent this collection to me, and hence, I asked Jake, my Web Yeoman to put up this Memorial Gallery.

Therefore we are grateful to these individuals for sharing these images of LCDR Alkire's fateful crash in 1955.

Previously we had reported that the Photographers Mate went without a name, and we couldn't honor him here, except to thank him for the contribution through Charles Faulkner and his daughter, Debi Faulkner-Ouellette for contributing the images for this Memorial. However there is some supporting evidence now that we have the name of the individual who took the photo sequence of the crash. His name is Ph2 James Binkley. Since this still is within the realm of conjecture, we just submit his name and hope that someone who knows the facts will finally step forward. Until then, we will give the honor to Ph2 James Binkley. Anyone who knows these facts please write the Yeoman for verification - Thanks!

With Debi Ouellette's permission, I contributed the Gallery to Jake's USS Hancock Memorial originally, who, later decided that we should also offer this Memorial to our visitors, which we now are doing.

The following Gallery has preserved this incident as best we could at this time, so that the world may remember that we don't need to be at war to suffer casualties of war. Here in a training evolution aboard the Hancock known as "Carrier Qualifications" or "CarQuals", LCDR Jay T. Alkire lost his life when his plane dipped too low and because of a power deficit of his aircraft, could not recover from a wave-off.

Please join with me and all those who wish to remember the life and sacrifice of our Naval Aviators as they seek to keep this nation safe. To return to this Gallery, use the 'Return' link on the Memorial Page. Thanks for visiting there; I know you will be glad you did.

Go there

Photo Galleries #1

About the Images and their sources

The pictures in the Gallery were donated to this Website by Richard A. Kirsch, PH3, USNR (Ret)

Many were snapped by himself, and others by his Photo Lab Crew..

Photos marked with the are from the Hancock Photo Lab
Photos marked with § by Richard Kirsch


View of the Golden Gate Bridge as we are leaving port for coastal waters and Air Operations §

Hannah comes into Pt Loma from Bremerton
The Hancock arriving San Diego at Point Loma - North Island from Bremerton with a
contingeant of crew member's cars which were in transit to new Home Port at San Diego.

The Crew member's cars being transported from Bremerton
Crew Member's cars being transferred to San Diego. §
Other pictures of the cars are available in the Middle Years Gallery of the USS Hancock Memorial Site

60 ft Christmas tree rises from the Hangar Deck to the Flight deck on Elevator #1

Rich Kirsch, Ken Groom, along with the skeleton crew of the Hancock, left Bremerton in December of 1954. They stopped long enough to cut a beautiful 60 foot Evergreen, which they affixed to #1 Elevator, decked out with lights. When they arrived in San Diego on Christmas, they raised the Elevator and it appeared as if the tree was growing out of the Flight Deck. Ken Groom also captured a picture of the tree.. this picture graces Ken's Middle Years Gallery on the USS Hancock CV/CVA-19 Memorial.

Picture of Ken Groom's picture of the Christmas Tree

Hannah leaves Pt. Loma for sea
The Hannah leaving Pt. Loma for Hunters Point, San Francisco, California via the Golden Gate Bridge...

broad view of the Hannah under the Golden Gate Bridge
The Hannah returning to Port under the Golden Gate Bridge

Hannah stream on Sea Trials after refitting 1954 - Plane Guard follows...
The Hancock with following Plane Guard on shakedown cruise
after refitting and recommissioning

The Fighting Hannah before she received the hurricane bow...
A great arial view of the Fighting Hannah - pre-1956 Hurricane Bow and Angle Deck
Notice the men on deck, a F7U-3 Cutlass on the catapult, and a Cougar readying.

Send Rich Kirsch E-Mail using our Contact Link

Continue on to the Next Page (Page #2) as we take a look at the Aircraft that the HANCOCK launched during this period we call the HANCOCK'S Middle Years...

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 31 May 2008