Harvey Lindoff, U.S. Navy, 1968-72

Harvey Lindoff served on the aircraft carriers USS Kitty Hawk and USS Hancock

Harvey Lindoff served aboard two aircraft carriers during the Vietnam War.  One was the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), formerly CVA-63, which was a supercarrier in the United States Navy.  The Kitty Hawk was both the first of the three Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carriers to be commissioned and last to be decommissioned; it was also the last oil-fired aircraft carrier to serve with the United States Navy.  Mr. Lindoff was also on the USS Hancock, which played a prominent role in the Vietnam War, for which she (the Hancock) earned a Navy Unit Commendation.

His brother, Dennis Lindoff, was also on the Kitty Hawk.  Mr. Lindoff said “Pretty nice getting put on the same ship as my brother…  I have other cousins that were also in the Navy.”  These cousins were Glenn Johnson and Donald Marvin. 

There was a lot of activity on the flight deck, including making sure the jets received their fuel and helping them prepare for bombing runs.  “The jets never stopped, taking off and landing day and night- that was a lot of bombs that they dropped.”  Mr. Lindoff spent much of his time working on the flight deck, a very dangerous place to work. 

He packed parachutes and ejection seats (the seats had a one-man raft and survival gear), refilled oxygen tanks for the pilots and refueled the jets.  When a pilot had to eject and parachute out, they would then call the person who had packed their parachute and “give them a bottle of whiskey or something… they told us not to tell anybody.  I’ve been out for a while so I guess I can say that!”.  A few pilots had to use parachutes that Mr. Lindoff packed and they all worked.

He remembers watching B-52 bombers make their bombing runs: “It was hard to imagine how anybody could live through that.”  Sometimes he saw Soviet “Bear” bombers flying.  These planes are large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bombers that Russia still uses today.  U.S. jets would then take off from the flight deck and escort the bombers away. 

Mr. Lindoff enjoyed shore leave in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore and said he was glad he got to serve, and serve in the Navy.