As published by Sea Classics Magazine in October 2005.
Peleliu Sailors Become Part of Midway Exhibit
By Journalist 2nd Class Zack Baddorf, USS Peleliu Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO — A new exhibit on the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV 41) will feature video and audio of Sailors stationed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) working in their ship’s main machinery rooms.
Staff from Midway, the nation’s newest naval aviation museum, located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, embarked aboard Peleliu June 20 and recorded a light-off in the main machinery room, a process that starts the ship’s engines.
This presentation will help “put the magic back in the Midway and bring the ship alive,” said retired Chief Warrant Officer Charles Gordon, Midway’s chief engineer.
“This is going to help us a lot,” said Karl Zingheim, a former lieutenant who has worked on the Midway staff since 1996. “We want to make [the engineering exhibit] as real as safety will permit to bring the Navy story to the general public.”
Machinist’s Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Robert Sagory, Peleliu’s main propulsion room leading petty officer, said he and his shipmates are honored to be included in the presentation.
“These guys work their hearts out to maintain this plant, and spend long hours down here,” he said. “It feels good to be recognized.”
Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Daniel Roth, the burnerman who lit off the ship’s boiler, will be prominently featured in the video. Though he’s seen this done dozens of times, he said the video will help raise awareness of this critical part of his job.
“That’s cool that people can actually see that [process],” Roth said, “because there’s not that many people that know what goes on down here.”
Some of the Midway staff, like Gordon, know exactly what goes on down in the engineering spaces, but coming back to a ship was still “like being a kid in a candy shop.”
“Being back down here and seeing how much has changed was really a joy,” said Gordon, who served about half a year on the Midway in 1981 and worked in the Navy for 25 years in engineering. “I’ve seen Sailors light off [boilers] before, but these guys were right on. They really looked sharp.”
The new audio and video presentation should be completed in 2007 or 2008 and will also allow people with handicaps to see how the Midway used to start its engines without going down into the lower levels of the stationary aircraft carrier.