Mediterranean Cruise

1947 - 1948, page 3

First Assignment

Shortly after I got settled in, a Marine showed up at the radio shack and asked who was in charge. We howdied and he explained that the Captain had sent him to get this “box” fixed. The metal box was a little larger all around than a carton of cigarettes. A little plate on it said “Wire Recorder”. I had never seen one before. I opened it up, checked batteries (they were OK), and then noticed a very thin wire wound on two small spools. The wire was broken where it was supposed to go through a reading head. I tied the wire ends using a

Photo: Midway in the Mediterranean, 1950s; U.S. Navy photo.

fisherman’s knot and then took a match and annealed it. It worked. I rewound it, turned on “play” and heard the following (paraphrased after 56 years):

“They’re getting ready to fire it”, from one older male voice.

“I think it started – yeah – it’s flaming” from a second older male.

Then shouting: “Christ, it’s coming at the island!”

Then a lot of banging noises, and then: “Thank God, it missed us!”

I contacted the Marine and he listened to the wire and began to laugh. He said that the voices were those of the Admiral and the Captain, and the event they were talking about was the launch of the V-2 German rocket from the aft deck of the Midway just a month before.

The captured V-2 rocket was successfully test fired on September 6, 1947, while off Bermuda. It was the first time ever that a rocket had been fired from a ship at sea. The rocket did tilt toward the island due to heavy swell action, but looked much closer from the island than it really was, as evidenced by many other photos taken by the crew (refer to page 41, Operation Sandy, in Scott McGaugh’s “Midway Magic”; to see the actual video of the launch, go to http://www.cv41.org and click on History and Events on the left panel, then go to Operation Sandy and Pushover and select Operation Sandy and Pushover photo albums, and the video is on Page 3).

Anchors Aweigh

We left port October 29, l947, heading south to Bermuda.  Along the way, and at Bermuda, we spent most days getting the two new aviation squadrons familiar with carrier take-offs and landings.  Temperature was in the 80’s.  Witnessed the first night flight operations ever held on the Midway.  Headed north and dropped anchor at Argentia, Newfoundland.  Picked up mail and some badly needed spare parts.  Very cold.  Water was just a little above freezing and the daily bulletin warned everyone that they had better not fall overboard as you would freeze in a minute or so.

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