For USS Midway Museum educators, it’s often difficult to quantify the long-term impact we have on youth. We hope that we are inspiring and making a difference, but rarely are we able to validate our efforts. 

When you hear, however, that someone’s visit to Midway set them on a path of service to their nation, we get excited. When they then return to the museum years later to share their passion with future generations, you know that all your hard work is paying off.

For our education department, the enduring impact of our efforts came full circle when we met Michael Miser. Michael attended a volunteer open house in 2022 and interviewed for our Overnight Youth Program. He was polite, well-spoken, and confident. We were impressed.

He also had personal experience as an active-duty sailor serving on an aircraft carrier which made him an even better fit for our overnight team. He told us that he had visited the museum before and now wanted to share his own knowledge with guests. He also thought that by volunteering on Midway, he could improve his public speaking and communication skills.

It was awesome to hear that someone who had visited our museum was inspired to join our team and share their own story of service.  We had made a difference in this young man’s life.

 It wasn’t until late last year that, as Paul Harvey used to say, we got the “rest of the story.” 

Michael Miser at the helm on the Bridge during a visit to Midway when he was 6 years old.
Michael Miser at the helm on the Bridge today as a Midway volunteer at age 25.

Michael, who just turned 25, had invited his family and some friends to attend one of our scheduled overnight programs. Coincidentally, our new education director, Tina Chin, and her family we’re also on board that same night to experience our program. That evening Michael’s sister Jennifer showed Tina a picture of Michael standing at the helm on Midway’s Navigation Bridge when he was only 6-year-old. That is where it all started.

“Watching him talk to guests about Midway’s history as well as his own experiences, it’s easy to
see that he has a passion and energy to inspire the next generation.”

During Michael’s first visit to Midway, he was awestruck by the ship, its airplanes and all the systems on board. He listened to the docents talk about flight operations, the different crewmember jobs, and how everyone had to work as a team. Even at a very early age, that visit changed Michael’s life and he walked away with three goals – he would join the Navy, serve on an aircraft carrier, and be stationed in San Diego.

More than a dozen years later, Michael is now a Navy electrician’s mate second class, is assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CV-70), and is homeported in San Diego at Naval Base Coronado across the bay from Midway.

He had finally achieved all three of his goals, and is now the electronics’ leading petty officer in the Vinson’s aviation fuels division.

Realizing that his Navy service had instilled confidence and made him a leader and mentor Michael wanted to give back. Shortly after returning from his second deployment in 2022, he signed up to volunteer with our education team. Watching him talk to guests about Midway’s history as well as his own experiences, it’s easy to see that he has a passion and energy to inspire the next generation.

Our hope is that years from now, some youngster inspired by Michael today on Midway will return to continue the legacy.

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