When a U. S Navy ship receives orders to return to the United States after an extended deployment, that ship is entitled to fly a Homeward Bound pennant during the trip home.
Traditionally, that pennant is one foot long for every day away from the United States and is flown from the highest halyard on the mast. The U.S.S. Bangust left San Francisco 13 January 1944 and received orders to the United States 29 September 1945 while at anchor in Tokyo Bay. We actually left Tokyo Bay with a shortened homeward bound pennant 3 October 1945 and arrived in San Pedro Califorina on the 20th of October 1945. . Shortened because one foot per day would have yielded a pennant more than twice the 306 foot length of the ship.
The Bangust spent 646 consecutive days (21 1/2 months) away from the U. S. Very close to, if not, a DE record for consecutive time on deployment. The official reason for shortening had to do with the possibility of tangling the pennant in various topside equipment but the reason we liked best was that the infinitesimal amount of drag of a full length pennant in the water would have delayed our stateside arrival a minute or two.
Upon arrival in the U.S. the pennant is lowered and cut into pieces so that each crew member can have a piece. The piece pictured is Chuck Vonderau's, a yeoman on the Bangust, and the "sparkplug" behind our many crew reunions.(corrections to text September 21 2001)