Terry Kraft, President and CEO


How do you define a dream job? I think it is something that gives as much to you as you give to others. It is something you get excited about doing every single day. For me, reporting aboard the USS Midway Museum is all those things and more. I am incredibly honored to be joining the team that runs this national icon in America’s Finest City.

It has also been my honor to know and work with Mac McLaughlin for so many years. He built this museum and instilled an amazing culture while ensuring that our guests receive an experience unlike any other attraction in the world. My personal visits and volunteer time on Midway have made me realize that, when we cross that brow and walk aboard, we are part of a team that truly cares about our guests, our ship, and each other. 

The culture and spirit that lives on Midway was created by Mac and for that I will be forever grateful. Mac is as humble as they come, but when it comes to Midway, he was laser-focused on the continued success of this enterprise and ensured everyone knew it. I stand with so many others wishing him the best as he tackles the golf courses of South Carolina.

My father was a naval aviator. I grew up watching him fly jets from aircraft carriers while memorizing his multiple cruise books. Everything about the Navy was amazing to me. When he brought me aboard, I will never forget the look, the size, and the smell of a Navy warship. Three of the aircraft he flew reside on Midway’s flight deck, including the A-7 on the bow with the markings of the squadron he commanded during the Vietnam War. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a carrier aviator and try to follow in his footsteps. Over my 34-year career, I have had my most exciting, challenging, and harrowing moments flying from the flight deck or manning the bridge of our nation’s aircraft carriers. I would not trade one minute of it.

I get the same feeling now that I had then. There’s that tingle of excitement when I walk aboard our ship and interact with the amazing people that create and maintain Midway Magic. It was alive when I served on Midway and it is just as real today. For almost 20 years, this museum has embodied the very best values of our nation. Today, we show it in everything we do, from our amazing guest experiences to our world-class education programs and so much more. 

Lucky (again) for me, I step into an amazing future for Midway. We will continue to honor our veterans and their legacy with the construction of Freedom Park at Navy Pier. Working with our partners in San Diego, we will create a space that will encircle our museum as part of an unmatched visitor experience while underscoring the things that are so important to San Diego’s proud military history. 

I am so appreciative of all who have welcomed me aboard over the past month. From our board of directors, to the Foundation, to every volunteer and staff member I have met, their message has been one of welcome and pride in what they do. They continue to serve because they want to, because they care about this ship and our country. Come to think of it, maybe we all have dream jobs here!

It’s a great day on Midway!