It was June of 1960, and the USS Yorktown CVS-10 was in route to Manila to provide support to President Eisenhower’s Far Eastern Goodwill Tour. An uneventful day at sea was suddenly interrupted when the Yorktown was ordered to stray from her course and provide aid to a British freighter, the SS Shun Lee. The freighter was stranded and breaking up against Pratas Reef after getting caught in Typhoon Mary. Seven helicopters from the Yorktown’s HS-4 flew out in the storm conditions that continued to rage in Typhoon Mary’s wake.
The helicopters rescued 25 men from the wreck and 28 more who were stranded on the Pratas Islands inside of the reef, and transported them to a waiting British destroyer.
Shortly after, the Yorktown arrived in Manila where she played hostess to the Presidential press party, which was composed of 64 of the era’s top news correspondents. Several dignitaries joined the likes of Elaine Sheppard, Bob Considine, and Walter Winchell in watching the Yorktown’s operations as she followed President Eisenhower to Taipei.