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It was 9:30 p.m. when the doorbell rang. In the sleepy Navy town of Coronado, Calif., hardly anyone rings the doorbell. Sybil Stockdale, the wife of Navy attack pilot Cmdr. James Stockdale, is sleeping upstairs and doesn’t hear it, but soon wakes to the sounds of voices down below. Hurrying to the front door, she sees her friend, Doyen Salsig, also the wife of a naval flyer, who is accompanied by a Navy lieutenant. With trepidation, the young naval chaplain informs Sybil that her husband has been shot down while on a bombing mission over North Vietnam and is missing.

Evelyn Sharp was only 17 years old when she earned her private pilot’s license, and in 1938 started flying at county fairs, rodeos and community celebrations giving rides to people who, in many instances, had never seen an airplane before. She quickly became a seasoned aviator and in the early 1940s, qualified as one of the first pilots in the U.S. Army’s Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. The following year, she became a member of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots. Evelyn and the other women flyers in this unit were known as WASPs.

USS Midway Museum volunteers are well known as being the face of the ship, the people guests engage and interact with during their visit. Many of the museum’s volunteers, however, work quietly in the background supporting important programs that make for a first-class guest experience and provide valuable support to the community.

“We have a wide variety of personalities volunteering for Midway, and every one of them is equally important to the success of the museum, “said Mark Berlin, Midway’s director of operations who enjoys working with volunteers throughout the ship. “Some enjoy being out front, while others like to contribute behind the scenes. Together, Midway’s volunteers make the ship a special place.”

It was something out of Hollywood movie. A young Navy pilot flying life-and-death missions during the Korean War, takes on seven Soviet MiG-15 fighters in aerial combat, and comes out victorious in an unprecedented one-man dog fight.

This is exactly what happened to Lt. Royce Williams, an F-9 Panther fighter pilot with Fighter Squadron 781 (VF-781) flying from the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34) in November 1952. 

This summer, the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice was observed aboard the USS Midway Museum. In addition to being America’s first Cold War conflict in Asia, the fighting in Korea played a dramatic role in the very survival of the United States Marine Corps.

The North Korean invasion of South Korea on June, 25, 1950 caught the U.S. government off guard. They sent in the military in an attempt to repulse it. Unfortunately, the American units were ill-equipped for the mission, which led to humiliating retreats, and U.S. airpower was incapable of stemming the communist onslaught.

In the spring of 1945, 2nd Lt. Daniel Inouye led his platoon on an assault of a heavily-defended, German-held ridge known as the Gothic Line near the village of San Terenzo, Italy. As he and his men stormed an enemy emplacement, he was shot in the torso, but continued to fight. He took out multiple German machine positions in close combat, however, while attempting to attack a third machine gun nest, Daniel was hit with a rifle-fired grenade that destroyed his right arm.