Almost eighty years ago, USS Midway was commissioned and set a new standard for naval aviation. For the next 47 years, this vessel would be involved in virtually every major war in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. It is located at 910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101.
It carried a crew of 4,800 men, 100 planes, and dozens of weapons. In addition to its military missions, the Midway also saw action in the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. The ship served as the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, and its planes were used to launch warplanes in Korea, the first Persian Gulf War, and the Vietnam War.
After spending four decades on active duty, the Midway retired from the Navy in 1992. Her final commanding officer, Rear Adm. Riley Mixson, skippered her from 1985 to 1987. At the time, the carrier had been berthed in Alameda, Calif., and was in the middle of a $6.5 million restoration project.
The Midway is now towed to San Diego and will be converted into a naval aviation museum. She is expected to arrive in San Diego on Monday. During the week, the Midway will be tied up at Naval Air Station North Island, where she will be decommissioned, but will eventually be towed across the bay to Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.
The ship was officially retired from service on April 11, 1992, but has been sitting in storage for ten years. The nonprofit corporation that owns the Midway has spent $6.5 million to restore it and has been preparing to move it south. However, they had to make arrangements with the California Coastal Commission to meet all requirements. They bought a bay-front piece of land on the southern edge of San Diego Bay to fulfill their requirements. More about San Diego Automotive.
To move the carrier to San Diego, the group had to raise money. Their plans were stymied by a tow wench problem. When a tug started, it dragged a chain from the front of the ship, which was dangling over the side of the ship. Fortunately, the tow wench was replaced. That allowed the last line to be lowered to the dock, 45 feet below.
Aside from the launching of more than 30 restored aircraft, the USS Midway Museum will offer a variety of programs and exhibits. Guests can learn about the history of the ship and the people who served on it. Visitors will also be able to watch the flight deck and hangar bay, and can go on an audio tour narrated by former Midway sailors. Admission costs $26 for adults and $18 for children ages 6 to 12.
The USS Midway Museum has been created by a nonprofit organization, whose president, Alan Uke, is a retired Navy journalist from Poway. He helped to get the vessel to San Diego. This is one of only five aircraft carrier museums in the country. Another fantastic read.
Once the Midway arrives in San Diego, the Navy will transfer ownership to the Midway Museum. The ship will be turned into an educational facility, with an operating budget of $3 million to $4 million. Also, it is expected to open late April or early May. Eventually, the museum will feature vintage aircraft, including the carrier fighter jets that were taken from Midway during its military service.
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