Historic Midway-Class "3 Sisters" Reunion Concludes with
Although Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer had to decline our invitation to attend the "3 Sisters" Reunion due to a scheduling conflict, he sent us, in a personal letter, his best wishes "for a memorable reunion." Indeed, the reunion was a memorable event, totally living up to its billing, and it's too bad SecNav couldn't attend. The reunion exceeded even our most optimistic expectations, with 539 banqueters on the flight deck on banquet night, including some 332 veterans from the three carriers of the Midway Class, along with their families and guests. On the flight deck to celebrate this historic occasion of the USS Midway, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt and USS Coral Sea, these veterans didn't miss their chance to honor their ships, and to be honored themselves. All told, according to our reunion planner's final stats, some 606 people attended the reunion. That is way over the top!
Nor did anyone go home disappointed, for what a celebration it was, with all the banqueters gathered on the flight deck of the only surviving carrier of the class, knowing they were part of something very special. The banquet program progressed pretty much on schedule, with inspirational words from retired Rear Admiral Mac McLaughlin, the president and CEO of the USS Midway Museum; a Missing Man Ceremony; a Two-Bell Ceremony, a scrumptious buffet dinner capped off with chocolate Sundays that had to be savored to be believed, so good were they. Following dinner, the keynote speaker, retired 4-Star Admiral Leon "Bud" Edney, gave a rousing talk that centered around the state of current politics in the country and the importance of maintaining a strong military. As twilight turned softly into darkness on the flight deck, retired RADM Riley Mixson, a former Midway commanding officer, presented a WWII Victory Medal to a Coral Sea veteran, and, finally, the celebration was over.
The three association presidents--Oscar Granger, MVA, served as the master of ceremonies for the banquet program; Robert Siefker, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt; and Wayne Addkison, USS Coral Sea--also played a significant rolls in the reunion program, as did Jim Hayter, MVA's VP of Reunions, who not only led the fundraising efforts at the reunion, but was at the forefront of event planning. David Payson, MVA's Secretary-Treasurer, was instrumental in helping Museum staff plan the panel event, the guided tours of Midway, and the reunion video signup.
Other MVA members deserving a "shout out" for their efforts at the reunion include Tim Miller, who was tireless in his efforts to keep the hospitality room running smoothly, a huge job in and of itself; Tim had strong support from Midway docent "Skip" Thompson; Lead docent Jim Reily worked closely with us to head up and coordinate the guided and "behind the scenes" tours of Midway. Marty FitzGerald broke a record selling MVA memorabilia, BJ Denihan put in extra hours in the registration room helping with registration and T-shirts, and keeping the MVA Website up to date, and Mina Jo Payson and Bob and Pat Roberge pitched in and helped in different areas to keep things running smoothly. And Ted Dey, Armed Forces Reunion, Inc., our onsite reunion planner, was outstanding in his efforts to keep registration running smoothly.
Already, there has been talk that the celebration of the "3 Sisters" Reunion should be repeated in the not-too-distant future. And who knows, it could happen. At this point, no one is ruling it out.
If you have questions about the reunion, contact reunion chairman Jim Hayter at phone no. 703-264-0542 or email him at email@example.com.
Are You a Midway Veteran? If so, click here to download the membership application to join the USS Midway Veterans Association. Pay your dues online by credit card as described above or complete the application form by hand and mail it, along with your check (payable to the MVA), to the address on the form. The membership fees (dues) we collect help offset the costs of writing, producing and mailing our quarterly newsletter and the many other costs associated with hosting our reunions. You don't have to be a member of the MVA to attend our reunions, just a Midway Veteran. Our three membership categories are described on the application form. We welcome all Midway veterans, regardless of their other Midway affiliations. Note: the USS Midway Veterans Association is a 501(c)(19) not-for-profit organization; our membership fees are tax-deductible as provided by law. We proudly donate 20 percent of our annual membership fees to the USS Midway Museum’s Education Scholarship Fund and Midway Preservation Endowment.