Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Chuck Erickson, a Midway docent since 2014 with more than 5,600 volunteer hours, was joined by his wife Penny and grandson Wayland at Meet the Aviators day.

One of the most anticipated events of the USS Midway Museum’s Legacy Week is Meet the Aviators. Held on Memorial Day weekend, more than 100 former military aviators, mostly Navy and Marine Corps, dug their old flight suits out of steamer trunks in the garage and stood on the flight deck with the aircraft they once flew giving museum guests a firsthand glimpse into the world of military aviation.

Not only was it an opportunity to discuss the missions of the various aircraft on exhibit on Midway’s flight deck and the experiences of the aircrew who flew them, but it was also a chance to reinforce the importance of honoring those who lost their lives in service to our nation.

“I flew in Vietnam and Cambodia during the Vietnam War,” said Scott Milner, a retired Navy captain and former SH-2 Sea Sprite helicopter pilot. “It’s all them, it’s not about veterans, it’s not about guys like me who did come home. It’s about those that didn’t.”

“It’s very important that the general public remembers the service and sacrifice that all those warriors, both men and women, who paid the ultimate price in defense of our nation,” said Dave Koontz, Midway’s marketing director and a former Navy SH-3D Sea King and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter pilot. “We want to ensure that our guests don’t forget about those who laid down their lives for the country.”

For museum guest Campbell Taylor, the chance to talk to the former naval aviators helped fuel his desire to become a Navy pilot when he grows up.

“I really hope I can be a pilot in the Navy someday,” said 14-year-old Campbell who was visiting Midway with his family from Orange County. “I think flying off of an aircraft carrier would be awesome.”

Comments are closed.