August 24, 2005___________________by_Charlie Beggy
We're back in business. Thanks for being patient. Please send us comments, pictures, thoughts and suggestions.
July 14, 2005______________________by_Charlie Beggy
The Midway Memories blog will be offline from now until August 18. Have a great summer!
June 17, 2005_____________________by_Charlie Beggy
Darren Hooper (see original post here) sent these photos of Quinton Aldridge, his grandfather, who was a member of the combat Marine group that came on board the Midway at Malta when I was on board. In the band photo, Quinton is the first on the left. If anyone knows anyone who was in the band (Mountain Dew Merrymakers) or anything else about Quinton, contact us!
June 16, 2005_____________________by_Gary Schreffler
I was on the Midway from 1984-1992. I really enjoyed reading your blog!! We were also caught by a typhoon, but we did not have 40mm's to worry about in my era! Did lose chunks of catwalk, etc. And yes, lots of seasick sailors!! Very best regards,
June 14, 2005___________________by_Richard Remington
Having served aboard Midway in excess of 5 years (1948-1953) I can tell a few true stories. Perhaps one of the most memorable events that comes to mind was on a return to Norfolk from a Med deployment around 1950. Bearing in mind, when I served aboard Midway the hurricane bow hadn't been invented yet nor had the canted deck been thought of. Above all, weather guessing was in fact, weather guessing.
Normally the transit from Norfolk to Gibraltar or vise versa took 5 days. On this particular occasion the trip took us 26 days and what a 26 days it was. Our trip started out great but it didn't stay that way very long. A day out of Gibraltar (a Saturday) was a crystal clear, sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky, and the seas were as calm as can be. Taken advantage of the ideal conditions the DMS that was accompanying us was sent ahead and we made preparations for a "Full Power Run". Apparently this Full Power Run was one of the many annual completive exercises that the ship was required to run. Very briefly, in conducting a Full Power Run the starting point is set at 15 knots; 15 knots is maintained steady for an hour and then at 5 knot increments the speed in increased till the full power level is reached. On each increment from 15 knots to maximum full power that power level is maintained for one hour and engineering readings are recorded every 15 minutes. As can be immediately guessed, a Full Power Run is an all day affair in that our full power was in excess of 30 knots. All the efforts paid off; the Full Power Run was quite successful and everybody was smiling from ear to ear.
That evening we met up with our escort, the DMS, and preparations were made to refuel her. By the time she got along side and the fuel hoses were passed over to her, the seas had gotten quite choppy and soon after commencing the fueling operation one of the hoses parted and the operation was discontinued with the intention of giving it another try Sunday morning. No such luck! Sunday morning we were caught in a full blown hurricane and for about the next 20 days we went where the hurricane took us; how that DMS made it is a mystery to me to this very day. Though we were making propeller turns for about 5 to 10 knots ahead, at times we were actually going backwards. During the entire period the storm had us the DMS was so close to our stern that it was almost possible to reach out and touch her. By the time we got out of the storm, just about everything topside on the DMS was gone; all the life lines, their small boats, etc.
There was considerable damage on the Midway too; the quad 40mm's up in the bow were tied in knots, one of the anchors was bashing the bow in, all the gallery walkways on either side of the flight deck along with the numerous antenna were gone, not to mention the many crew members who were sea sick. Yes, seasick on a carrier! Needless to say, that was one trip all of us would remember for some time.
June 12, 2005_______________________by_Charlie Beggy
I am responding below to some of Darren Hooper's questions from June 5.
I know that Laird B. Darling was the boy from the prop accident. It breaks my heart to think that poor kid was only 18.
I saw the propeller death right after it happened. Body was gone.
I was helping with the bore-sighting of the fire control system which is why the chopper was over in Naples with three navy personnel on board. The chopper was in the sights and then only the blade. An inexperiened mechanic was involved in a mod to the device that swilvels the three blades and he forgot to put the safety wire back in. They took him off the ship overnight because of fear that someone might retaliate.
My grandfather claims that there were other deaths due to what he called "natural causes". Do you remember any at all?
There was a civilian killed after we docked; it was an accident. We tied up at pier 7, Norfolk and immediately began extensive maintenance and overhauls. One of the first things they did was take a big crane and lift one of the two anchors off the bow. Large wooden blocks had been set on the pier to receive it. As they lowered it down, the lower section which is the curved part, suddenly swiveled around and cut the worked in two (he had been setting up the blocks).
The day of the launch accident, I was ashore picking up the portable transceiver that the shore patrol used and was stopped by the lieutenant because there had been a brawl in Toulon and we had to wait. I didn't go in the launch that I was getting into and it was the one that was swamped. Eight sailors were lost. In the 3 a.m. roll-call on the ship, I was missing as we got word that there had been an accident and were to be the shore contact. My folks received a Red Cross wire that noted I was missing. A little scare at home until they got a wire off from the ship.
There were no Marines lost nor any civilians lost
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My grandfather also claims that the purpose of the mission was to push the communists out of the France area. He claims that there was communist activity there and the Marines were told beforehand that the likelihood that they would see battle was high. So high that a friend of his took a hardship discharge and got out because he was so scared. Do you remember this at all? I cannot find any evidence via the Internet to support this. However, I have yet to do research at the Library. Is there anything you could recommend that I read? I bought a copy of the Midway 47,48 cruise book, but it gives no info whatsoever on the purpose of this trip.
The Marines I talked with said they would have to land at Isreal and protect American interests if the Palestineans attacked.
Do you remember seeing my Grandfather's band, the Mountain Dew Merrymakers? This is where I really need help. I am trying to figure out who else was in the band. So far, all I know is my grandfather (Quinton Aldridge) and Oscar Underwood.
Never saw the band, although when the thousand Marines came on board, everyone had to double up. The band members ended up in a compartment near ours and I used to get a haircut from one of them. This was the formal ship's band, however.
Who is/was Oscar Underwood?