Interview with Troy Prince, Pt 2

  1.  Troy, I’ve learned from you that being on the Midway is a family affair.  Did you all decide to be stationed on the Midway accidently or coincidently?  How many of your family have served on the Midway and when? Were you ever on at the same time as any of your cousins?

There have been four of my family who served aboard the Midway. We are all cousins and three of us were actually aboard at the same time:

  • ATCS Shirley Duane Bangerter, VA-23, 1963
  • LT David Scott Killpack, HS-12, 1989-1991
  • AN Marcus Steven Killpack, VAQ-136, 1989
  • ADAN Thomas Troy Prince, VAQ-136 1989-1991

2. What has been your most difficult information request from the Midway Library since you have become a volunteer?

I can honestly say I have never received a difficult request from the Midway Library. Some requests have required more research than others and there have been a few I was unable to answer due to a lack of source material.

3. What do you like best about being a Midway Library volunteer?

I love working with the other Library volunteers. Although I’ve never met any of them in person (I work remotely from Minneapolis), I feel I’ve made many friends and work well with everyone.

4. What types of information have you been providing to the Midway? 

,In the beginning, when the Museum first opened, I contributed the ship’s history research I had done for my website. I was also able to occasionally help with questions and provide various photos. Later, I began asking for various documents and started offering updates or corrections. Since 2019, I have written or contributed to several lists and projects. My main contribution has been deployment dates, locations, and squadrons.

5. How many volunteer hours have you earned since you started (the nearest 1000 hour level will be fine.)  And how long have you been a volunteer?

As of October 2021, I have now exceeded 2,000 hours. I officially became a Library volunteer in June 2020.

6. Have you planned your next visit to the Midway?  Hint Hint, the volunteer dinner in September would be a good time, if it works with your schedule.

I have visited the Midway three times since her arrival in San Diego: January 2004 (I rode the ship across San Diego Bay from NAS North Island to her present location), June 2004 (for the Museum’s Opening Week, during which I volunteered with the Safety Team) and March 2005. I have always wanted to make a return visit (or two or many) but haven’t been able to yet. There have been so many changes and additions to the Museum that it will be a whole new experience for me when I am finally able to return.

7. Is there a project that you would like to be involved in, but have not yet had the opportunity to?

To date, I am involved in every project I would like to be with and have even been able to contribute towards others I wasn’t. I really have so many projects I’m currently working on that I have to prioritize them in order to make any progress. However, it is nice to have some smaller projects to work on when I need to take a break from the larger ones.

8. Have you ever thought about writing a Midway related book?  If so, what might it  be about?

I never thought about writing a book until my family and a few friends suggested I should take the research I’ve done and publish it. If I ever do go through with it, it wouldn’t be a story-type book like Scott McGaugh’s books. It would most likely be similar to Pete Clayton’s books, but with much more updated information and photographs.

9. Do you have a good Midway sea story that you would like to share?

I only have one good story and it was when I witnessed one of Midway’s planes crash right in front of me:  On June 22, 1989, while in the South China Sea, about 90 miles west of the Philippine island of Luzon, I watched VFA-151’s F/A-18A Hornet (BuNo. 162908, NF 207) experience an engine failure while being launched from Midway’s starboard catapult. I was standing all the way forward on the port bow with one of our EA-6B Prowlers and watched NF 207 go down the cat with sparks flying out behind it. The aircraft became airborne, suddenly wobbled and went into the water directly in front of the ship. All I could see as it hit was a huge spray of water and smoke with a parachute floating down. The Hornet sank immediately, and the ship turned hard to port to avoid hitting the pilot, LCDR D.C. Conrad who was rescued soon after by a helo from HS-12.

10. Is there anything about your volunteer experience that you would like to share with us?

Only that all the volunteers I work with are wonderful people and that there aren’t enough hours in the day to work on all the projects I’m involved with.

Troy’s bio from https://equipsblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/04/troy-prince-creator-of-midway-sailor-website/

I started out in life as a “Military Brat” because my father was in the U.S. Navy. I spent my early years moving around the States and the world. After high school, I decided that I “liked” the military life so much that I joined up myself. I spent ten years in the Navy, with nine of those stationed in Japan. I was assigned to the Gauntlets of VAQ-136, an EA-6B Prowler Electronic Warfare squadron for the first three years. Our home port was NAF Atsugi, Japan and we embarked aboard USS Midway, CV-41. When Midway was replaced by USS Independence, CV-62, I cross-decked over to the  Indy with the squadron. After I left the squadron in 1992, I transferred to a two year shore duty billet at NAF Atsugi AIMD. I then transferred to another shore duty billet at NAF Misawa AIMD for four years.

Troy Prince, Creator of Midway Sailor Website

I have come to know Troy through all of the Midway related research, documents, pictures, and ephemera he has shared with the USS Midway (CV-41) Library over the years. His site Midway Sailor, is a wonderful source for all things Midway.

Troy as a Toon

BIO:

I started out in life as a “Military Brat” because my father was in the U.S. Navy. I spent my early years moving around the States and the world. After high school, I decided that I “liked” the military life so much that I joined up myself. I spent ten years in the Navy, with nine of those stationed in Japan. I was assigned to the Gauntlets of VAQ-136, an EA-6B Prowler Electronic Warfare squadron for the first three years. Our home port was NAF Atsugi, Japan and we embarked aboard USS Midway, CV-41. When Midway was replaced by USS Independence, CV-62, I cross-decked over to the  Indy with the squadron. After I left the squadron in 1992, I transferred to a two year shore duty billet at NAF Atsugi AIMD. I then transferred to another shore duty billet at NAF Misawa AIMD for four years.

In 1998 I decided that it was time to move on and I left the service. I moved to Long Beach, Washington and went back to school for a while. After school, I worked as a custom furniture craftsman and remodeled a house. When those jobs were finished, I opened an auto detailing business.  The detailing business was great, but Washington’s notorious rainy winters put a stop to it. I then went to work for a resort beachfront hotel and started a website design business. In October of 2000, I moved across the country to Minnesota, where I am currently the Office Administrator for a company in Minneapolis.

During my younger years, I attended eight elementary schools, two junior high schools, and two high schools. Military life had my family frequently moving around the world. I have lived in San Diego, California (actually, I was born there) – Thousand Oaks, California – Key West, Florida (twice) – Bermuda – North Ogden and Park City, Utah – Pt. Mugu, California (near Oxnard) – Ferndale, California (near Eureka) – Haverfordwest, Wales – High Wycombe, England (this is where I graduated from London Central High School) – Honolulu, Hawaii – Orlando, Florida – Memphis, Tennessee, – Atsugi, Misawa, and Yokosuka, Japan – Long Beach, Washington – and most recently Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Throughout my life’s travels, I have had the opportunity to live in or visit several countries. I have been to Abu Dhabi (UAE), Australia, Bermuda, Diego Garcia, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Wales. I visited many of these countries several times and they became second homes to me. In each, I tried to learn their culture and history. I made new friends and have wonderful memories of the times spent in each country. I have sailed the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Sea of Japan, South China Sea, Persian Gulf, and have crossed the equator twice.

Interview with Troy

  1. You obviously have a deep love for the USS Midway.  What did you do on the Midway and what about the ship caused you to fall in love with her?

I was an Aviation Machinist’s Mate in VAQ-136 Gauntlets aboard the Midway from January 1989 to August 1991. I loved the close relationship between the Air Wing and ship’s company. Although Midway was frequently at sea and the hours were long, the places we visited and things we saw made it an incredible experience.

  • What made you decide to establish your Midway website?  How has it  evolved over the years?

I created the USS Midway section as a subsection of my original personal website back in January 1998 and it was originally intended to simply share the history of this great ship. However, over the years, I have acquired an enormous collection of photos, stories, memorabilia, etc. and it has grown significantly. I still collect Midway-related photos, cruise books, newsletters, postal cachets, and other items to share on my website. Admittedly, I have lately been posting the majority of these items on Facebook instead of on my website, but I do plan on adding them there as well. I have also shared every publication and document I’ve collected with the USS Midway Museum’s Research Library.

  • You have an excellent rapport with the Midway Library.  How did you and the Library get in touch with each other?

Because of the research I had already finished at the time, I was approached by the USS Midway Museum in January 2004 (their name was San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum at the time) and was asked permission to use the information from my website to help them develop the beginnings of their historical records and publications for the Museum. In June 2004, I went on a vacation to San Diego to attend the Museum’s Opening Week. Upon arrival, I was (willingly) “Shanghaied” by the Museum’s Safety Team and put to work for the entire 13 days I was there. In more recent years, I had been receiving emails from docents asking questions and I had also reached out to the Midway Library if I ever had any questions. In April 2019, I began corresponding with Bonnie Brown on a regular basis and it soon developed into sharing information, as well as a good friendship.

After Troy was shanghaied to be part of the USS Midway Safety Team the week that the Museum opened, he is standing next to the roses he painted while stationed on the Midway
  • How many hours a week or a month to spend on the care and feeding of your website?

The time I spend on my website has varied over the years. I used to work on it at least two hours and sometimes longer every day. Although I haven’t done as much updating to the website in recent years, I have still been working on research projects as much as I can. I post most of my new photo and memorabilia acquisitions on Facebook in the various Midway groups. Depending on what’s going on in life, I am working on Midway projects almost every day. The times can vary from just a few minutes to over eight hours.

  • You’ve done an incredible amount of research on the Midway.  What sources do you use the most?

In the early years of my research, I relied on books from my personal library, which consists of over 1,000 books. The Internet has always been a source, but it’s not always reliable. In the past few years, a lot more information has become available online and in the form of ship deck logs and Command Operation Reports. Since developing a close relationship with the Midway Library, I’ve also had access to more newsletters and publications produced by the ship.

  • What  has been your most difficult question or project to research?

The most difficult question has been “What was Midway’s breakaway song during UNREPs?” It seems no one can agree on one specific song and many times the answer comes from their memory of being on a different ship. The most involved research has been (and continues to be) my “Deployments & Port Visits, Air Wings & Squadrons” project. It begins in 1943 and will end in 1992 with every underway period, port visit, significant event or incident, and squadron embarked listed in detail.

  • What things about the Midway would you still like to  find out?

Since I was in the Air Wing during my time aboard, I never visited many of the ship’s company spaces or learned about the jobs they did.

  • What would you like to do or learn on your next visit to the USS Midway?

See my answer to question number seven.

  • What  would you like to do next with the website?

I’ve been making subtle cosmetic changes to it over the years and would like to get that finished. I have also been exploring a new way of displaying the thousands of photos on the website. I also need to add the huge amount of material that I’ve only been sharing on Facebook, as well as finishing the long list of research projects I’ve started.