Ding Ding, LTJG Winky Arriving–His Planned Return to the USS Midway (CV-41)

Written by his publicist, JR Reddig, CAPT, USN Ret.

LTJG Winky joined the USS Midway (CVA-41) team from the Philippines in 1979. He was on specialized covert operations as a Special Agent for the Navy Resale System in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. There, through a unique and dangerous cover as “merchandise,” he quickly identified areas for improvement in the unique sales environment for overseas fleet operations.  

The Navy Resale System responded favorably to a “by name” request to support the Midway Battle Group as the instrument of naval power in the Far East. His assistance was required during operations in remote waters, far from designated training areas and land support. In order to keep the attention of CVW-5 aircrew, Winky developed a unique presentation style from the forward end of the carrier intelligence center, normally mounted on either the right or left arm of his support officers where he would gesture dramatically to demonstrate Return to Force procedures in the featureless pale blue of the Indian Ocean.   

It has been rumored that due to his experience in Subic, he became convinced that all deployed USN forces should share a unique place of service on the world ocean. At coffee in Mission Planning one morning on a westerly transit en route the Strat of Malacca, he prompted LTJGs Whetstine and Reddig to apply a unique name to the legendary GONZO Station, previously known only as an anonymous Modified Location (“MODLOC”). He later said he was inspired by the stories his father told him of the Vietnam War and “Yankee” and “Dixie” stations for carrier operations in the war zone.   
There was a plaque in the NAS Cubi Point officers lounge honoring his specific service for adroit, focused contingency operations. Midway’s departure from the Indian Ocean prior to the DESERT ONE hostage rescue attempt is considered to be one of the factors in the operation. An arcade devoted to LTJG Winky’s service in Foreign Denied Areas was destroyed with many other historic artifacts in the great eruption of Mr. Pinatubo.  

After his embarked service, he returned to Office of Naval Intelligence for special liaison duties between Washington and ONI’s anonymous but very useful contacts on the Manhattan waterfront. Since his retirement from active Naval Service, he has been active in outreach activities from his home in Culpeper horse country, where his many grandchildren romp in useful ways, herding and jumping.    While retired, his contributions in public life have continued. His proximity to Washington DC enabled him to conduct behind-the-scenes efforts in the selection of the magnificent city of San Diego as the permanent home for the Midway Museum.   

Despite his numerous triumphs in Naval and National security, LTJG Winky retains his active duty rank as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, worn proudly until most of it wore off on the sweaty arms of his support personnel, 1979-80. His quarters throughout were in a plush remodeled cruise box, custom crafted in red velvet upholstery fitted with polished brass keepers and pearl-enhanced graceful traditional furnishings done by Sangley Point Rattan works (1978) on special contract to Fleet Air Yokosuka. It was located behind the Green Door for swift access to highly classified materials. 

His departure from Midway was at pier side in Yokosuka, Japan in May of 1980. He used LTJG Reddig as a prop at the quarterdeck, being held just above eye level on the OOD and rendering his crisp (starched) right hand salute while reporting his detachment in June of 1980.   

In an estate review of his papers, he expressed the desire to be united with what he termed “the best damn ship in the NAVY.” It is his clearly stated desire to continue his educational mission, interpreting the remarkable MIDWAY experience to the newest generations of seagoing people
JR and LTJG Winky in Culpeper, VA

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