Actress and model, Brooke Shields, makes surprise visit to the USS Midway in the Persian Gulf

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm – the war to liberate Kuwait. The USS Midway led the fight against Iraq as the flagship for naval aviation forces in the Persian Gulf. Using social media, the Midway Museum recently put out the call for personal stories from those who served on board the Midway during the war. While many memories were submitted, we wanted to share this uplifting story submitted by retired Cmdr. Dale Eld, who was the Midway’s air operations officer during the Gulf War.

In Cmdr. Dale’s own words:
“I was the Air Operations Officer aboard the USS Midway during Desert Storm. My primary duty was the execution of the daily flight schedule. I oversaw the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center where all the air traffic controllers worked. We were responsible for the safety of all airborne aircraft, including their safe return to the ship.

Several days of the week we would receive mail and passengers via the COD (C-2 Greyhound), the carrier onboard delivery aircraft. The COD pilots would always come to Air Operations to check their status and departure time. One day, the pilots asked if we would be interested in having Brooke Shields come out and tour the Midway. Apparently she was stuck in Bahrain and wasn’t allowed to tour any of the bases. Anyway, that is what I was told. I thought it would be a great morale booster for the entire crew so I said I’d check into it. I went to the admiral’s staff and of course they agreed. So we arranged for her to fly out on the COD for a few-hour tour.

Cmdr. Steven Hannifin, the ship’s XO (executive officer), was livid! He was responsible for the cleanliness of the ship and now we had to do a top-to-bottom cleaning. I remember him complaining about it at dinner in the wardroom and I of course never let him know I was behind it. In retrospect, I should have run it by him first, before going to the admiral’s staff. But then again, I doubt he would have approved the tour. As it was, Brooke Shields did tour Midway and it was a huge success! The sailors loved her and it was a real boost to morale after such a long time at sea. I think the XO was OK with it after the fact. I believe she was the only celebrity to tour the Midway during the Gulf War.

Actress/model Brooke Shields was the only celebrity to visit the USS Midway during Operation Desert Storm.

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