Gary Ely

Conversation with Gary Ely
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In 1968, five months after graduating high school in Iowa, Gary Ely decided not to take his chances with the draft and enlisted in the Navy. He arrived in Vietnam in January of 1970 as maintenance personnel for the C3 Caribou. In April of the same year, he became a door gunner on the same helicopter pictured above. 44 pilots and door gunners were killed in Ely's squadron during the war. Ely was stationed with Squadron House 3 in Southern Cambodia, but was forced to say he was in the Mekong Delta during wartime. Ely reflects on his experiences as a gunner, his operations into Cambodia, and the life long affect the war has had on him. Ely now volunteers on the USS Midway as helicopter maintenance personnel. 

Gary Ely, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021
Gary Ely, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021

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Cockpit of ___, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021
Cockpit of ___, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021

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Photographs detailing maintenance work, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021
Photographs detailing maintenance work, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021

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Gary Ely, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021
Gary Ely, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021

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