I Remember Well The Days Of West Pac '66-'67
Richard Choitz


As I was surfing the net one evening I ran across a list of Bob Hope USO Tour videos. These were dated from the time he began the shows, I think, until he stopped. What interested me the most was the video that included his show aboard the Bennington, Christmas '66.

I was attached to VAW-111 Det 20, aircrewman on the E1-B. I saw the planes at the end of the one page and started to remember old "Zero the Hero". It was just that, for a short period of time it was the only plane that would stay in the air. The other three birds seemed to have something wrong with them. "Zero" would finish the six hour flight, come in, change crews, and launch just as soon as we were strapped in and on the cat.
So the video has special meaning to me. I do remember a price range of ~$80. Could you help me find this page again? I would really appreciate it.

I remember well the days of WestPac '66-'67.
Also, can you give me information about the two crewmembers that were buried at sea during that cruise? I remember walking through the hangar bay past #2 elevator and briefly (very briefly) glanced at the ceremony. I thought, 'That is just the way they do it in the movies' and walked on by.
Fifteen years later, I wept for the events that took place during that cruise. When I found these crewmembers on The Wall, and remember them again.

And then there was the time that one of the 'Stuffs' came back after a hop when their radar went out and they veered over Hainan Is. and got shot up. Any further information about this event would also be appreciated.

I was really tore up when I read that the ship was sold for scrap. That happens too often, but what other alternative is there?
I read that some are trying to save "Big O" or is it one of the other Essex class?

Thank you for your time and help in this very important matter.

A trip to the Lexington at Corpus Cristi this year healed some more open wounds of that time. (just as a helpful note for the next guy who is still hurting)

Thanks again

Richard Choitz


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