Home REVIEWS When in San Diego, Visit Another Elder American: the USS Midway
When in San Diego, Visit Another Elder American: the USS Midway PDF Print E-mail

As an old aircraft carrier sailor who served in the Korean War, I had the pleasure of recently visiting the USS Midway (CV-41).


It is now moored permanently in San Diego as a museum, and open every day to the public.


Commissioned just as World War II was ending in 1945, the Midway served in the fighting Navy for 50 years, including participating in the Korean War, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm before being decommissioned several years ago.

I believe admission for active duty military and veterans was $8, and $14 for others. As we went aboard, out of old habit, I saluted the colors and the OOD, and then we took the tour. We were loaned free headphones and a timed audio tape that took us through the one-way route for visitors that included three main areas.

First we went below to Deck 2, where we walked past the galley, mess halls, crew’s quarters (I crawled into one of the bunks for a photo), work shops and gedunk (ship’s soda fountain and store). We were then guided up to the original boarding area of the huge Hangar Deck, where there were about a dozen WWII and Korean War era aircraft. There were also opportunities for visitors to climb into portions of fighters and multi-engine cockpits for photo ops.

We signed up for $5 each to ride in what looked like an old two-seater Link Trainer for flight cadets. Once sealed totally inside, we had controls and a video screen in front of us in a simulated air combat scenario. We didn’t realize that the boxy trainer would swing violently from side to side and upside down if we didn’t handle the controls right. Fortunately, we were strapped in tight, and being lousy pilots, we staggered out afterward like ... er ... drunken sailors.

The most impressive part of the tour was strolling the enormous flight deck, where there were dozens more aircraft from later generations of Navy and Marine aviation history to admire and explore. The sight was enhanced by the impressive skyline of the city of San Diego.

There are many entertainment and special events presented aboard the USS Midway, including recognition programs for veterans of America’s campaigns from WWII to Iraq and Afghanistan. There will be a special memorial program for this year’s upcoming Veterans Day on November 11. In recent years, the event featured citizenship swearing-in ceremonies for foreign-born GIs and other veterans. For more information, call 619-544-9600 or go to www.midway.org.
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