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USS Midway, Alameda, California, USA

July 31st, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 
 

USS Midway (CVB/CVA/CV-41) was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class, and the first to be commissioned after the end of World War II. Active in the Vietnam War and in Operation Desert Storm, as of 2007 she is a museum ship in San Diego, California. She is the only remaining aircraft carrier of the World War II era that is not an Essex-class ship.

Midway was laid down 27 October 1943 by Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Virginia. Her revolutionary hull design was based on what would have been the Montana class battleships and gave her superior maneuverability over all previous carriers. She was launched 20 March 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Bradford William Ripley, Jr.; and commissioned 10 September 1945, Captain Joseph F. Bolger in command.

In August 1991, Midway departed Yokosuka and returned to Pearl Harbor. Here, she turned over with Independence which was replacing Midway as the forward-deployed carrier in Yokosuka. Midway then sailed to San Diego where she was decommissioned at Naval Air Station North Island on 11 April 1992 in a ceremony in which the main speaker was Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 17 March 1997. During the decommissioning process, she was used to film portions of the movie At Sea, a documentary on carrier life shown only at the Navy Museum in Washington D.C. Both sailors and their families participated in the filming or the homecoming scenes.

On 30 September 2003, Midway began her journey from the Navy Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Bremerton, Washington, to San Diego, California in preparation for use as a museum and memorial. She was docked at the Charles P. Howard Terminal in Oakland, California, during the first week in October while the construction of her pier in San Diego was completed. Then, on 10 January 2004 the ship was moored at her final location at the Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego, where she was opened to the public on 7 June 2004.

Visitors may tour the ship's flight deck, hangar bay, mess hall, bridge, primary flight control area, enlisted and junior officer quarters, sickbay, and portions of the engine rooms. Additionally, several restored aircraft are on display in the hangar and on the flight deck. Self-guided audio tours are provided with admission. Events and meetings are held on board as well.

Bringing the ship to San Diego as a museum was the source of some controversy. Critics raised objections including environmental concerns and blocking of scenic sightlines. Under the terms agreed to in receiving space to dock the ship, a portion of the ships bow is accessible free of charge to allow all visitors to enjoy views of the San Diego harbor and skyline without paying admission, and the preservation of some acres of land as a wetland habitat. There were also concerns that the Midway Museum would steal customers from other local attractions. For example, the ship is located near the independently operated Maritime Museum of San Diego, which includes a collection of historic ships including the tall ship Star of India and the Surprise, a replica British frigate used in the filming of the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Through 2004, the Maritime business has actually received an increase of visitors, and the Executive Director of the Maritime Museum believes that part of the credit goes to the arrival of the Midway.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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