From the Archives: 30 years ago the carrier Midway retired from active service

Thirty years ago, on April 11, 1992, the Midway aircraft carrier was decommissioned at North Island Naval Air Station. Opened to the USS Midway Museum in San Diego in June 2004.

From The San Diego Union-Tribune, Sunday, April 12, 1992:

Carrier Midway has retired – again

By Steve LaRue, Staff Writer

With the epitaph “born in war, decommissioned in peace”, the 47-year-old Midway aircraft carrier retired from active service at the North Island Naval Airport yesterday in a ceremony full of memories, tears and roar of naval aircraft.

“It was a sad job to take a ship that was taking off and dismantle it,” Captain Larry Ernst told some 1,200 guests and Navy personnel.

The sailors watched the decommissioning of the Midway at North Island Naval Air Station.

(Robert Gauthier / The San Diego Union Tribune)

Recalling what he called “painful memories of a beautiful lady,” he said, “Without a doubt, it was a wonderful ship. “The attachment we feel to her is very difficult to explain, but it is very, very true.”

The Midway was launched as the world’s largest warship on March 20, 1945, at the Newport News, Va., But it is smaller than modern aircraft carriers today and is one of only two aircraft carriers to suffer due to federal military budget cuts.

Boiler drums and a solo trumpet played “Fanfare for the Common Man” by American composer Aaron Copland at 11:50 a.m. yesterday, as the ship’s company formally left the decks for the last time it is believed to have been.

Secretary of the Navy H. Lawrence Garrett III called the ship “a symbol of America’s determination to fight for freedom” and said:

“It has taken care of the navy from the age of propeller aircraft to the most advanced jets,” he said.

Then came the aircraft, like ghosts of the eponymous battle of the ship and the recent past of the ship. Three vintage World War II SNJ instructors were buzzing over the cockpit. Then two F4F Grumman Wildcats, a 1942 Navy fighter jet, flew by drone. Then four F / A Vigilante, who saw service in Operation Desert Storm, screamed from above.

About 200,000 sailors and marines knew the Midway as “my ship” for six decades. On Monday, nearly all of the ship’s 4,500-strong crew will be disbanded and new commands will be sent to a shrinking number of US Navy ships and stations around the world.

The newly painted Midway will then be towed to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, joining a naphthalene fleet that includes the Hornet carrier and the battleship New Jersey.

About 200 crew members will board the ship in Washington and complete the naphthalene before being transported as well.

On Friday, 66-year-old Errico Rousseau returned to the ship for the first time after a one-year service tour that began in 1945 as an 18-year-old cook.

“I had tears in my eyes,” he said.

“Then I remembered all the good times I had as a child and the good times and the things I learned. “It was an honor to serve with her.”

Bob Dunham of Fairfax, Virginia, who boarded Midway in 1945 as chief gas officer, looked at the 70,000-tonne ship yesterday and said, “It’s beautiful.”

Dunham had survived the Japanese bombing of his former Atromitos aircraft carrier on a wooden deck at the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

“Knowing that the Midway had an armored deck, I thought to myself, ‘This is an opportunity to do well.’ “There has never been a carrier like her.”

Richard Parker of the Coronado, a retired Navy captain, was a diving bomber pilot who used to land at 83 feet, wreck the Wasp, also in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

“That was about twice the size of the Wasp,” he said when he joined the Midway in 1945.

But the Midway never launched an angry aircraft against the Japanese, because VJ Day, to commemorate the victory over Japan, came eight days before the ship began operating on September 10, 1945.

A three-member official Japanese delegation attended yesterday’s ceremony, led by Minister Hiroshi Hirabayashi, Second Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC

He spoke of the 17 years it took to transport the Midway home to Yokosuka, Japan – from 1973 to 1991 – as the first U.S. aircraft carrier based abroad.

“Looking at this ship, I feel we have come a long way. After the war, this ship was a testament to the solidarity of the US-Japan security alliance. “That’s why I feel a little sad to see the decommissioning of this big ship,” he said in an interview.

It was the third decommissioning of the Midway. The ship was decommissioned in 1955 to install an angled flight cabin and in 1965, only to be repositioned in 1970 for a Vietnam War cruise off the coast, during which the ship launched 6,000 air strikes.

“She has a lot of battle left in her,” said Admiral Robert Kelly, commander of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. An epitaph “born in war, ordered in peace” is suitable for a warship, he suggested.

The aircraft carrier was named for the Battle of Midway, June 3 to 6, 1942, when three American aircraft carriers fought four of the Empire of Japan northwest of this mid-Pacific island, with none of the ships approaching enough to see an enemy. vessel.

All four Japanese aircraft were either sunk or severely damaged. Japan also lost 3,500 sailors and pilots, including many Croc pilots. The Yorktown sank in battle, but the Americans lost less than half the planes and suffered one-tenth of the losses from the Japanese and stopped their invasion of the island.

“The name Midway itself meant the decisive turning point from defeat to victory, from despair to hope,” said Pastor Paul Murphy, who served in the Midway during the Gulf War.

From the Archives: 30 years ago the carrier Midway retired from active service Source link From the Archives: 30 years ago the carrier Midway retired from active service

Related Articles

Back to top button