Robert Johnson Blog

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Location: San Diego, California, United States

This is to chronicle my adventures on the USS Midway as a Docent. I was a civilian - I did not serve in the military, but I have respect for those that did.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Special Event on Tuesday night was for Midway VIP's - the Admiral said a few approiate words - see below as he addresses the group:

There were a few honored guests: Admiral Mixon - former Capt of the Midway, Vern Jumper - former Air Boss, and Bob Solomon - former Chief Petty Officer. They all got a chance to speak from the podium.

Then they cut the ribbon to the latest open area on the ship open for public tours. The new areas include Officer's Quarters, the Ward Room, Ship's Laundry, and the Chief's Mess. Here is the group at the ribbon cutting:

Then we gave walking tours for those guests that wished. My group was the best, of course.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Special Event on Monday was for a group of Real Estate Investors. They really had a good time - they got a chat from an actual Midway F4 Fighter Pilot.

Meet Lt Commander Darryl "Condor" Gary - he is by his jet explaining it all:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hi there - I gave a tour to a cool couple this morning, meet Meghan and John. Meghan is in the Navy Reserve.
We walked the whole ship - and they passed every quiz with flying colors !

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What does the cockpit of an F4 Jet look like ? Glad you asked !

Special Event on the ship tonight - here they are setting up. By the looks of the set up, it's gonna be a whale of a party:

We had a CE (Continuing Education) class this morning. Once a month a special speaker will present some insight about their experitise with the ship. Today we had a former CAG (Commander Air Group) give the low-down. It was very interesting. Here is a pic of our class room:

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Every wonder what our flight deck looks like set up for a party ?

Take a look at last night's set up: a few open bars, food stations, and of course dessert !

A fun night on the ship last night - they planned 700 and at last count 990 heads were on board. That's ok - more the merrier, I just hope they don't run out of food.

Near sunset the sailboats came around the bow of the ship - take a look:

This was my fav one - can you tell why ?

Red sail in the sunset - always wanted to say that !

Monday, June 19, 2006

It was a fun night on the ship tonight. A group sponsored by Grant Thorton planned 500 guests - and over 700 showed up ! They had a big band, stage, and dance floor set up on the flight deck and they had a ball.

I stood watch in the island - they gave me the Chart House (the coolest place on the ship) to guide the guests through. It was a moving line - so the stories had to be shorter, but they were all in good spirits. It was fun pointing out the Fox Trot Russian Submarine a few piers over and calling out "General Quarters - man your battle stations !"

Night events are fun - no doubt about it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday was Father's Day - we expected a big crowd and that's just what we got. Luckily, we had plenty of docents. The guys are really stepping up for the Summer.

I worked on the Pri Fly Ladder in the morning. I staged the guests on the flight deck before they went up the ladder for the tour of Pri Fly, Chart House, and Bridge. I let them know about the steep ladders, confined spaces, etc.. I told them no drinks and no cell phones. I also was suppose to check for small kids under the height requirement since the ladder is very steep and little legs sometimes can't make it.

One family had two little girls - and of course the little 2 yr old was way under the limit. "I'm sorry sir, she's too short, and for everyone's protection she can't go up the ladder." He said, oh, that's ok, I'll just carry her.

Sorry pal - she can't go. Your day will be a lot happier without any accidents so lets not risk it or her. Everyone's safety is our primary concern.

Oh brother - the tears, the temper, and the stomping of feet ! And the little girl was kind of upset too.

On Saturday - the USS Bunker Hill passed by on San Diego Bay.
I took this pic out the porthole in the Chart House. Take a look - ain't she a beaut ? ! !

Sat was a fun day - once again we had plenty of docents.

Meet Jerry - he was Marine Fighter Pilot, and a pretty good one. Later he became a Landing Signal Officer (LSO). He's very retired now, of course. He's a cool docent and can give the story first hand.

Sat morning in the docent office he announced "I wear panty hose, you know". We were all shocked and asked him why. He said "for about a year now, ever my wife found a pair in my car !"

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday was fun on the ship. In the morning, there were more than enough docents. That's a first !

In the morning I walked the mess deck and had a good time with the guests. In the afternoon I worked in the Chart House. That's always fun.

Here is Joe, one of my docent pals:
He was a Navy fighter pilot and actually flew off the Midway. He's a hoot and always has a good story. I'm told that "most of this stories are partly true". Here he's explaining one of his stories to the Docent of the Watch.

Another fun weekend on the ship - what did you expect ?

On Saturday there were many (more than usual ) kayaks on the bay. One of the docents said it must be that new terrorist group Al-Kayaka.

Luckliy - they didn't attack.

Here is Dave the witty docent:

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Here are my two pals, Santiago and Claudio - from the Esmeralda.

Here is a pic of the Esmeralda under the lights.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Esmeralda is staying for a few more days. On Sunday I met a couple of the Officers coming on board, Santiago and Claudio. I gave them a walking tour - as best as I could, since my Spanish was about as good as their English. There was a lot of pointing and nodding as you can imagine. We ended up having a pretty good time.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

We had plenty of docents for the morning watch, but we were a little short handed for the afternoon.

A cool ship was docked next to us today. The Esmeralda from Chilean Navy. It's a 4 masted barquentine tall ship, and the second tallest sailing ship in the world. Take a look for yourself:

A few of their sailors came aboard today for our tours. Their English was lacking, but their enthusiasm was full sail.

We also had a special event tonight - since this is the anniversary of the Battle of Midway, they had a reunion and celebration with some special guests - actual Battle of Midway survivors. Here are a few pics of the sailors setting up our flight deck for the event, they were hustling and all business:

Friday, June 02, 2006

I worked two nights this week - what a difference a night makes.

On Wed - we had a group of about 300 and we toured them thru the ship. They were enthusiastic and fun. They were clearly having a good time - and not just because of the open bar !

I was stationed in the Chart House - one of my fav places to be. I stood outside on Vultures Row waiting for the groups to start streaming thru and got a really good view of San Diego bay at sunset. The sailboats were all over the bay with their sails lit up by the low rays of the sun. What a sight - do you think next time I'll remember to bring the camera ?

The last night - we had a small corporate group on board for their event. They had scheduled 10 docents for guided tours. For most of the night we tried to drum up customers for a walk thru. We even had the Admiral's quarters and TFCC open for the tour - but they were more interested in the open bar. Win some, lose some - it's hard to compete with an open bar.

Finally at 7:30 I had one individual that wanted to see the engine room. So I gave him a walk thru and all the fun details and he was very happy - and not just because of the open bar.