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.