If your travels take you to San Diego, California, a visit to the historic USS Midway Museum is a must. Here you’ll be able to explore a real aircraft carrier and one which was the longest serving aircraft carrier of the twentieth century. During her forty seven years in service, the USS Midway had a total of about 200,000 servicemen assigned to the vessel.
On 30 September 2003, the USS Midway began her journey from the Navy Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Bremerton, Wash., to San Diego where she would be a Museum and Memorial. She was docked at the Charles P. Howard Terminal in Oakland, Calif., in October, while the construction of her pier in San Diego was completed.
The USS Midway is now docked in San Diego Bay just east of the downtown area and has been transformed into one of the most visited ship museums in the world.
Explore the USS Midway
The USS Midway CV-41, was the third vessel named Midway. Named after the Battle of Midway,
The ship is amazingly restored and full of really interesting exhibits. The ship is literally a floating city at sea. During it’s operational years the USS Midway carried about 4,500 crew members.
Your trip though the USS Midway will take you to the crews quarters, the officers quarters, the four acre flight deck and other portions of this magnificent vessel. Your admission includes a self-guided audio tour to over 60 locations from the engine room to the flight deck. When exploring the hangar deck which housed many of the aircraft you’ll notice the large elevators on either side of the ship that raised the planes from the hangar deck up to the flight deck.
The USS Midway Service
The USS Midway was operational from 1945 to 1992. It was commissioned one week after the end of World War Two. The vessel served in every ocean on the planet.
The ship is 1,001 feet in length which is about the size of three football fields. Weighing 70,000 tons the USS MIdway is as high as a twenty story building. Each of her two anchors weigh 20 tons. The ship could carry eighty planes.
More interesting facts regarding this vessel include…
- During three tours of duty in the Tonkin Gulf, aircraft from the USS MIDWAY downed the first three and last MiG in the Vietnam conflict.
- USS MIDWAY was the first carrier to be “forward deployed” in a foreign country, sailing for 17 years out of Yokosuka, Japan.
- When operating at sea, USS MIDWAY was refueled every three days. She burned approximately 100,000 gallons a day.
A Perfect Family Museum
The USS Midway is a terrific museum adventure for the entire family. The vessel is literally a floating city. On board the USS Midway, you can learn about life on a Navy ship and how aircraft land and take off from an aircraft carrier. Visitors can tour many of the working areas and see more than 15 restored aircraft. Volunteer docents, many who either served on the USS Midway or are former Navy pilots, provide live talks about the catapult and other operations.
See additional Trips Into History articles on the links below…
An excellent book regarding the USS Midway is…USS Midway: America’s Shield by author Scott McGaugh.
Things to Know Before Your Visit
- Many doorways have a high threshold, and there are many stairs, some of them quite steep. Wear comfortable shoes with soles that give you firm footing.
- Elevators provide access to the hangar deck and flight deck
- Bring a light jacket; it can be windy on the Flight Deck
- Leave the big bags behind. Only modest-sized diaper bags and camera bags are allowed
- If you have a child in a stroller, either take them out and park the stroller at the entrance or be prepared to skip visiting many parts of the ship.
The self-guided USS Midway audio tour is included in the entrance fee (available in English, Spanish and Japanese). The audio tour incorporates the voices of many who served on the USS Midway. They tell the stories of their experiences on board the aircraft carrier.
The USS Midway Museum is open daily 10A to 5P. The last admission is at 4p. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
(Article and Photos copyright Trips Into History)