By all accounts, MVA’s April 2016 reunion in Pensacola, Florida, was a huge success, with some 160 Midway veterans, family members and guests finding their way to Pensacola to join in the camaraderie and fun. Over the course of the reunion, the attendees traveled to Alabama to tour the USS Alabama Battleship Museum in Mobile; spent a day at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, where they watched in awe the precision-flying of the Blue Angels as they streaked by overhead; and, finally, the attendees enjoyed a grand banquet featuring a keynote address by Capt. Ed Ellis, JAGC (Ret.), the Secretary/Legal Counsel for the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation in Pensacola. Not unlike Bob Hope, Ed kept us in stitches with his humorous anecdotes about the ship’s first couple of years in Yokosuka. Thanks for the memories, Ed. It wasn’t all laughs, though, on this night. As Midway’s senior legal officer from 1973-75, he was the chief architect of the plan that led to the rescue of over 3,000 South Vietnamese during Operation Frequent Wind, arguably Midway’s most iconic mission.
Capt. Christopher Martin, the new Commanding Officer of Pensacola NAS, along with his wife Catherine, honored us with their presence at the banquet, attending as Capt. Ellis’s guests. When Capt. Martin presented Bill Lovejoy (1945-46 Midway crewmember) with the WWII Victory Medal, it was a proud moment for both men–and for everyone in the banquet hall as well. Capt. Martin explained that the medal ceremony was particularly meaningful to him, because his father, now deceased, had also been a WWII veteran. Capt. Martin appeared deeply touched and honored to be given a chance to participate in the ceremony. It was a special moment for everyone.
But this reunion wasn’t all fun and games. Well, actually, there were plenty of games–daily raffles and a silent auction, playing for prizes brought from home by the attendees–and all for a good cause: to raise money for the USS Midway Museum’s education and endowment funds. In all, the MVA, which is a 501(c)(19) nonprofit organization, raised a good chunk of money from the reunion attendees who enthusiastically participated in these raffles and auctions. The gaming money was donated to the museum shortly after the reunion.
In conclusion, USS Midway veterans and their families and guests came to Pensacola to unite with old friends and to honor their ship, the USS Midway, CV-41, which is doing quite well out there on the left coast. This reunion lived up to all expectations and everyone went home happy. Thank you, Pensacola, for showing us a good time and being a gracious host. And thanks to all the people who worked so hard to make this reunion a success.
Are You a Midway Veteran? If so, click here to download the membership application to join the USS Midway Veterans Association. On the form you will need to fill in the blanks and mail it, along with your check, to the address on the application. The membership fees we collect help offset the costs of writing, producing and mailing our quarterly newsletter and the many other costs associated with hosting our reunions. Our three membership categories are described on the application form. And remember, you don't have to belong to the MVA to attend the reunions. We welcome all Midway Veterans, regardless of Midway Veterans’ affiliations. Note: the USS Midway Veterans Association is a 501(c)(19) not-for-profit organization; our membership fees (aka, dues or contributions) are tax-deductible as provided by law. We donate 20 percent of our dues/contributions to the USS Midway Museum’s Education Scholarship Fund and Midway Preservation Endowment.