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*VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*
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He was a grizzled cuss....wearing a cap, very soiled and sweat-stained, with a large NAVY embossed across it's 'six', when I spotted him at the HOME DEPOT...A long shaft of hair, lashed up with a blue rubber band (probably off a clump of celery).... dirty looking, ship color gray coarse hair, streaked with black strands hung down past his sweat stained shoulders...By then I had caught up to him...a sleeveless, white skivvie shirt looking as if the sleeves had been ripped off rather than cut off with a shears....I pondered as I come up on his port bow...here's a 'black-shoe', fleet sailor who was probably 4OH at every inspection, letting himself go in some form of silent and belated protest..."Greetings Sailor, thank your for your service.....I was a Seabee for 20 years...". He had turned toward me and scoped me over with eyes as blue and hard as the hot afternoon sun over Phoenix.... Across the fore part of his hat was lettered, USS HANCOCK CVA-19 ..."I see you rode one of Uncle Sam's 'bird farms'", I spouted in a self-styled, humorous voice....The unblinking eyes remained as hard and cold as tempered steel...then it must have seemed to him I was being friendly rather than sarcastic and he grabbed for my hand...There in the middle of that Home Depot isle, still crowded with Father's Days boxes and parcels, he shook my hand in a manner of pumping water from an old cistern pump...The Paul Newman looking blue eyes had softened as he found someone to visit with about his service...I come away not knowing the mans name or even offering to him what my own was...might have been ages, if ever, since someone recognized his long and faithful service to our country...This was his ship he had served on in Vietnam:

USS Hancock (CV/CVA-19) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name, and was named for John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress and first governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Hancock was commissioned in April 1944, and served in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning four battle stars. Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA). In her second career she operated exclusively in the Pacific, playing a prominent role in the Vietnam War, for which she earned a Navy Unit Commendation. She was the first US Navy carrier to have steam catapults installed.

She was decommissioned in early 1976, and sold for scrap later that year.
 

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Armed Infidel
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Very nice, I have found myself trying to do more, now that I can,. Recently my wife and I were in BBQ joint and a soldier came in alone. Probably in transit somewhere as the bus station is not far. I told the waitress to bring me his check and I probably should have gone over to thank in person but I thought he would get the message from the waitress.
 
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