With the continued support of USAA, Midway released its second season of United Stories of America.
United Stories was conceived and developed as a means of sharing and chronicling historical stories of freedom and service while extending and expanding Midway visitors’ onboard experiences.
“Military heritage is extremely important, and we were proud to be part of the second season of United Stories of America,” said Gary Williams, assistant vice president for affinity management with USAA. “We are hopeful that stories like these will be able to continue the legacy for future generations of the military community.”
This season of six episodes focuses on Midway’s 47 years of service and recounts some very compelling stories told by those who experienced them.
In the episode titled “The Brink,” Richard Setlowe tells the story of Midway’s efforts to deter the aggression of Chinese Communist military in August of 1958 when they launched a massive artillery barrage of two small islands off the coast of Taiwan where Chinese Nationalist troops were stationed bringing the Midway and her crew to the brink of nuclear war.
Vern Jumper and Vietnamese refugee Courtney Herman (eight years old at the time) tell the story of “Operation Frequent Wind.” Considered by many to be the 30 most dangerous hours onboard Midway, Operation Frequent Wind was the mission to rescue thousands of South Vietnamese citizens from Saigon on April 29-30, 1975 as the city fell to the communist-led North Vietnamese Army.
Commissioned just days after the end of World War II, Midway served at sea for 47 years and was the ‘tip of the spear’ for the United States during many important events. During her service, Midway adapted to the times… literally changing her shape to accommodate advancements in jet technology. In “The Many Shapes of Midway,” museum historian Karl Zingheim tells the story of these incredible changes, including her last transformation from active carrier to USS Midway Museum.
Often referred to as “The Invisible War,” the Cold War with the Soviet Union dominated the international geo-political landscape during the last half of the 20th century. In this story, F-14 pilot, Lt. Tom Lawson tells of an incident during a major military exercise and show of United States naval power. Trapped in deteriorating weather in the North Pacific and unable to return to his ship the USS Enterprise, Lawson and his wingman landed onboard Midway (first and last F-14s to ever do so) making history and adding to Midway’s legendary reputation.
On August 2, 1992 Saddam Hussein launched an invasion into neighboring Kuwait to seize control of its oil supply. The United States responded quickly and with force, deploying ‘Battle Force Zulu’ comprised of four U.S. aircraft carriers including Midway as ‘flag ship’ of the Navy engaged in the conflict. In the story of Midway’s “Final Fight,” Midway outperformed larger, newer carriers proving that Midway Magic was very real.
After 47 years of legendary service, it was time for Midway to face its final chapter . . . decommissioning. Midway traveled to Bremerton, Wash., a naval graveyard where she was to be dismantled and destroyed. But a group of enterprising individuals had a vision for Midway’s last tour of duty. From scrapyard to salvation, this episode, “Mothballs to Magic,” tells the incredible story of how they overcame the odds to give this storied ship a second chance to serve as one of the most popular naval ship museum in the country and a monument to the United States Navy.
You can see all these engaging episodes here: www.midway.org/stories