MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. - -- The Marine Corps has a great oral tradition; the initiation begins in recruit training when drill instructors use stories about great figures and epic battles to motivate, inspire and forge bonds among the Marines in training.
Marines from Marine Aircraft Group 46 demonstrated that great stories can still captivate as they listened with rapt attention to stories about the USS Midway during their drill weekend tour.
Simultaneously, on the day of their visit, the USS Midway served as the backdrop during the dedication ceremony for the sculpture “Unconditional Surrender” which is based on the “A kiss to Remember” photograph of a spontaneous Times Square kiss between a nurse and sailor in celebration after the announcement that the Allies declared Victory in Japan and World War II had ended.
VJ Day was celebrated on Aug. 15, 1945 marking the close of a chapter in history and the USS Midway was commissioned in early September 1945, helping to introduce a new chapter. The significance left one Marine with mixed emotions.
“Today is a nice change of pace when compared to other drill weekends, but my reactions are muted.” said Cpl. Ryan M. Ghoslin, Nuclear Biological Chemical specialist. “I have a feeling of reverence standing in the shadow of those who came before me. It connects us to their history.”
Other Marines were more upbeat.
“I had a great day and would have come just for the flight simulator,” said Lance Cpl. Brian M. Stewart, Marine Corps Property. “It was the highlight of my day.”
“The Midway was awesome,” said Sgt. Timothy M. Keegan, training and operations. “Every Marine in the area should visit the carrier if they get the chance. It was like a real life history channel, listening to the audio narrative as you roamed around the ship with headphones on. I almost bumped my head several times, so I could appreciate even the less obvious challenges the sailors and Marines faced such as living in tight quarters.”
“This event broke up the monotony, during drill weeks we are typically inventorying, collecting and handing out gear, there is also physical training,” Sgt. Daniel I. Yakel, MCP added. “This is my first visit to the Midway, and I wouldn’t mind coming back with my family.
The USS Midway was in service for 47 years, which is the current record. The carrier also has the distinction of being the first carrier based in a foreign country, serving in Yokosuka, Japan for 18 years.
During its service, the Midway was credited with ushering in the age of naval missile warfare with the 1947 launch of a German V-2 rocket from its deck. In addition, the Midway was a pioneer in Arctic air operations.
Located at the Navy Pier in San Diego, the USS Midway offers self-guided audio and group tours. It has more than 40 exhibits, 21 restored aircraft, flight simulators, a gift shop and café. The “Unconditional Surrender” sculpture is scheduled to remain next to the USS Midway Museum for a year.