Midway’s ship historian, Karl Zingheim, continues his monthly Destination Midway webcasts featuring incredible guests telling amazing stories.
In April, broadcasting live from the ship’s wardroom, Karl revisited Operation Frequent Wind, the humanitarian evacuations of Vietnamese refugees from Saigon in April 1975.
Karl welcomed guest panelists who were directly involved in the rescue operation including retired Rear Adm. Larry Chambers, who was the Midway’s commanding officer in 1975, retired Cmdr. Vern Jumper, who was Midway’s air boss and coordinated 30 straight hours of helicopter air operations; and Stephanie Dinh and Courtney Herrmann, who were both refugee children evacuated with their families to Midway.
“I didn’t think we would be able to escape because the chances were so slim,” remembered Courtney, who was only 8 years old when she and her family were flown from the airport in Saigon to Midway. “I still get chills thinking about the rescue operation. So many kind strangers on the ship bravely risked their lives for us. I’m forever indebted to them and proud to be an American.”
Broadcasted from one of the Midway’s restored squadron Ready Rooms, May’s webcast highlighted the superior airmanship and the later survival skills of retired Vice Adm. Paul Ilg. A young A-4 Skyhawk pilot flying from the deck of Midway during a Vietnam War deployment in 1965, Paul was involved in a nearly deadly midair collision and was later was shot down over Laos during a reconnaissance mission. He evaded the enemy for nearly two days before finally being rescued.
“I reflect, not with darkness, but with thankfulness that I was not made to endure the POW situation that so many of my friends had done,” reflected Ilg, who was a highly decorated combat pilot. “I think often of squadron mates who sadly didn’t make it back.”
Destination Midway will continue with new and exciting webcasts, so stay connected to Midway’s social media channels to learn when they are scheduled.