The first American combat troops, 3,500 Marines from the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade based in Okinawa, Japan, arrived in South Vietnam in March 1965 to protect a U.S. air base in Da Nang. It was a start of a long and costly fight that saw more than 58,000 U.S. servicemembers killed and another 150,000 wounded over the next 10 years.

It’s been more than five decades since the last U.S. troops left Vietnam and the remaining prisoners of war departed Hanoi, but for many of the millions of military veterans that served during the conflict, the scars from the 20-year Vietnam War are still felt, both physically and mentally, even today.

To honor all those who served, and gave part or all of themselves during the Vietnam War, the USS Midway Museum held a commemoration ceremony on the flight deck that was attended by more than 450 people, mostly military veterans.

The USS Midway Museum has a secret weapon that quietly extends the museum’s reputation as one of San Diego’s most beloved community symbols. The Midway speakers bureau launched shortly after the museum opened, and it was created to spread the word about Midway and the Navy by providing community organizations with live in-person presentations. It’s only been in the last dozen years, however, that its impact has been felt extensively throughout Southern California.

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Mum Bett was born into slavery in colonial New York in the mid-1740s. She and her sister were given to her owner’s daughter years later and moved to Massachusetts. While unable to read or write, it is believed that she often heard her new owner, a wealthy judge from Sheffield, speak about the Sheffield Declaration.

Approved in 1773, the declaration stated that “mankind in a state of nature are equal, free, and independent of each other, and have a right to the undisturbed enjoyment of their lives, their liberty and property.” Language of a similar sentiment would later not only be used in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, but also in the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780.

Very few people have had the honor of serving their Navy ship twice – once in uniform and again as a veteran.

As the USS Midway Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary, a small group of former crewmen of the aircraft carrier are now serving as museum volunteers sharing personal stories of their naval adventures on the high seas with millions of visitors every year.

For all of them, being back on Midway helps recall the joy they had on the ship while steaming the world’s oceans during its decades as a fleet carrier.

Fire on a naval ship is a sailor’s worst nightmare. A small blaze can spread rapidly and quickly consume a vessel. There’s no place to run or hide. There’s only one course of action to survive – fight the inferno.

For the U.S. Navy, there can never be too much training to ensure a fire never gets out of control. Ships drill constantly and every member of the crew is considered a fire fighter.

The students trickled in slowly. First one, then two or three more.

“Good afternoon professor,” offered a particularly upbeat student before he took his seat.

The pattern continued, and within 15 minutes, the class is filled with more than 20 young learners dressed in everything from faded sweatpants and tattered shorts, to torn jeans and four-day-old t-shirts.

Ah, college kids.

What do a retired nurse and a former commercial real estate attorney have in common? They are both passionate volunteers for the USS Midway Museum. Oh, and they just happen to be married to each other too.

For Bill and Nan O’Hara, they quickly figured out that the only thing better than becoming part of the Midway family individually, was to do it as a couple. Following their retirements in 2017, they joined the museum’s team of more than 800 volunteers the next year.