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Navy Personnel Reunite On USS Midway

Evening Edition

Aired 9/13/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego is home to the longest serving aircraft carrier in the 20th Century. The USS Midway Museum now honors the legacy of those who served our country. A few hundred of them are gathering this weekend for a big reunion.

San Diego is home to the longest serving aircraft carrier in the 20th Century. The USS Midway Museum now honors the legacy of those who served our country. A few hundred of them are gathering this weekend for a big reunion.

The USS Midway saw its last combat deployment in 1991 during Desert Storm.

John Newlin is in San Diego for a reunion with other Navy personnel who served on the Midway. He recalls the danger of flying off the carrier over Vietnam while taking on enemy fire.

"Tracers were coming up and I realized 'hey, I'm here to kill them and they're trying to kill me. This is real and people are going to die.' That's the way it was and that's the way it is today," Newlin said.

With 47 years of service, the Midway was decommissioned in San Diego in 1992.

Volunteers have spent thousands of hours restoring what was once the ship's nerve center for combat operations, where 19-year-old sailors conducted radar surveillance and other duties. The project is still a year away from being done. As San Diego's Naval Strike group remains on alert near Syria, Newlin said he's hopeful we can avoid going to war again.

"I don't think the country, the majority of citizens, want to see another Mideast country invaded or attacked by us," he said.

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