USS Midway ~ Fleet's Finest Carrier

 

 

News related to USS Midway's move

from Bremerton to San Diego & transformation

into the USS Midway Museum

 

 

 

May 23, 2004

Flight of Memory

Editorial

The Japan Times Online
 

Almost 60 years after the end of the Pacific War, a very unusual meeting took place in San Diego last Tuesday, when veteran American and Japanese fighter pilots gathered for a special ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway, soon to become a floating museum. It was an occasion designed for giving pause and taking stock, and it surely succeeded.

The Japanese pilots, all members of the Japanese Imperial Navy Surviving Aviators' Association, were in the United States for a weeklong reunion. Someone had the bright idea of organizing a meeting between the group and some of their American counterparts, veteran members of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society.

At one point during the ceremony, a Japanese Zero and an SBD Dauntless dive bomber, a mainstay of the U.S. Navy's World War II Pacific air fleet, flew side by side overhead. One can only imagine the jumble of feelings this pairing must have inspired in the ranks of former enemies assembled on the deck of the aging ship below.

For the men, most of whom are now in their 80s, the meeting was obviously more personal than political, helping them put faces on old memories that were by definition impersonal, since their job had pitted them against machines rather than human beings. Again, mixed emotions were the order of the day. "I will admit that when [the Japanese pilots walked in, and I actually saw the people, it kind of gave me a funny feeling," said a former U.S. Hellcat ace who flew 89 combat missions and shot down a dozen Japanese planes during the war. "Same thing when the Zero flies by."

A retired Zero pilot put a more opaque spin on that sentiment, saying through an interpreter that the event meant a lot because of "what it says about the human heart." But what did it say? The Japanese veteran attempted to explain. On the one hand, there was no possibility of downplaying or sanitizing for this audience the context of the event -- what he called "the continuing story of December 7, 1941," when Japan attacked the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor. No one knows better than these men the power of that date to rankle in the memories of both nations -- a lasting reminder of America's darkest moment and Japan's ultimate defeat.

On the other hand, he predicted, the world would "study and learn from our outpouring of friendship and understanding" in the shadow of that context. And media reports describing handshakes, exchanges of hats and autographs, and jovial attempts to communicate confirm that he wasn't just imagining the camaraderie on the Midway last week. These elderly heroes may have felt inwardly ambivalent, but they also appeared to recognize that the bitter battles of 60 years ago were not, in the end, their battles.

"These pilots were just doing their job, the same as we were," said the American pilot who had admitted to experiencing "a funny feeling." The San Diego meeting, he added, "just brings everyone closer together." The human heart is resilient -- and also forgiving. As such, it can perhaps be seen as a hopeful sign that Japan and the U.S. may yet achieve some sort of rapprochement on war-related matters.

There is no use in pretending that the "funny feeling" doesn't persist on the national level as well as on the personal level for veteran bomber pilots. The Japanese reaction to Washington's controversial Enola Gay exhibit (that it downplays Hiroshima's suffering) and the typical American reaction to Hiroshima's Peace Museum (that it overplays America's war guilt) make that clear. On both sides, there is suspicion about motives, a quickness to cast blame and an unwillingness to take responsibility for historic wrongs. All those things still cast a faint blight on a relationship that in so many other ways has been a model of diplomatic health for decades.

Tuesday's event cannot erase such feelings -- or the complexity of the events that gave rise to them. But it can serve as a model for a simpler, more mutually charitable approach by both victors and vanquished. Call it the wisdom of old warriors.

"Our wounds over the Japanese have been healed many years ago," said one of the American veterans. If the wounds of those who actually fought have healed, then surely it is time for other people in both countries -- many of them younger, and untested in any battle -- to finally let them heal as well.

Let us give the last word to the wife of the U.S. pilot chosen to offer the introductory handshake to one of his former Japanese adversaries last week: "The sooner we learn we are all one people, the better the world will be."

 


 

April 9, 2004

Jeep's back from a long, hard road

USS MIDWAY: A Wildomar man donates a restored World War II-era vehicle to the museum.

By Henri Brickey

The Press-Enterprise
 

USS Midway - San Diego

George Goldschmidt ensured every part replaced on the jeep he

is donating to the USS Midway was authentic military issue.

Photo by Mark Zaleski / The Press-Enterprise

 


WILDOMAR - After putting thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into refurbishing his World War II-era jeep, George Goldschmidt is ready to give it away.

By July, the jeep should be displayed aboard the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier being turned into a museum in San Diego Harbor.

"I called and asked them if they'd like to give it a home and they jumped at the offer," said Goldschmidt, 79, of Wildomar. "It's no good sitting in my garage."

Commissioned in 1945, the Midway served as one of America's premier aircraft carriers for 47 years. In January, the 45,000-ton carrier was docked at the Navy Pier along San Diego's North Embarcadero, where the ship will open as a museum in June.

Eventually, museum organizers plan to place more than a dozen vintage aircraft and other vehicles aboard the Midway museum.

George Cagle, curator for the Midway, said Goldschmidt's donation was a real stroke of luck.

"It's the first jeep that we've got," Cagle said.

Goldschmidt said he bought the 1942 Ford jeep seven years ago from a man in Brea who purchased the vehicle at an auction in 1946.

The jeep was one of 750,000 manufactured in the early 1940s, according to Goldschmidt, who says he spent about seven months getting the vintage vehicle back into shape.

"It was a mess," said Goldschmidt, who served in the Pacific with the Navy through World War II.

During the vehicle's overhaul, Goldschmidt made sure every part replaced on the vehicle was authentic military issue; from the fuel pump to the stencils and even the shovel attached to the side of the driver's door. Doing so meant Goldschmidt had to research places that specialize in military vehicle parts.

The vehicle's convertible top came from New Jersey. Most of the other parts came from a military surplus supply store in Northern California, Goldschmidt said.

Today, the jeep looks as if it just rolled off the assembly line.

The cost Goldschmidt paid for the jeep and all the parts he put into it ended up being about $6,000, he said.

Besides the jeep, Goldschmidt donated several boxes of uniforms, souvenirs and other memorabilia from his days in the Navy during World War II. Those items will also be displayed aboard the Midway, Cagle said.

Goldschmidt didn't fight in the Battle of Midway, but the Navy veteran did experience some of the other large Naval battles of World War II.

In 1942 and for a portion of 1943, Goldschmidt served as a signalman aboard an attack transport ship in the Pacific. He spent the rest of his enlistment, from 1943 until 1945, aboard the USS Hinsdale, a troop transport ship that fought in the battle of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The ship was attacked in April 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa by a Japanese Kamikaze pilot, which killed 14 U.S. sailors. Goldschmidt was on board during the attack and escaped injury.

 


 

March 4, 2004

Newport News-built ship set to become Calif. museum

By Peter Dujardin
DailyPress.com

A San Diego subsidiary of the Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard is helping to improve the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier built in Newport News in the 1940s, to become a floating museum in San Diego.

Continental Maritime, the yard division that provides service and support to West Coast-based Navy carriers, is removing the jet-engine test booth on the Midway - a section at the stern of the ship - to make way for a new shipboard restaurant.

The new eatery, about 75 feet by 114 feet, will be visible to passers-by at a park near the ship's new location at the Navy Pier.

"It's going to be a beautiful setting, right in the middle of the San Diego environment," said Dick Beavers, the services superintendent for Continental Maritime and the project manager for the USS Midway work. "People will be able to sit right on the fan tail of the ship and look into the city."

Continental Maritime also is adding ladders and platforms to allow museum-goers easier access to the flight deck from the hangar deck below, Beavers said.

It also is installing a jet-blast deflector - a system on carriers that deflects jet exhaust - in a ready position so a vintage airplane to be displayed will appear as if it's about to take off. The company also is adding mooring fixtures on the carrier so it can be tied down even more strongly than if it was docked.

And Continental Maritime also has worked on upgrading a gangplank system - not part of the original Midway - to allow future patrons to board the ship. The work on the gangplank system - which consists of repairing and restoring three brow platforms and two brows - was donated free of charge by Continental Maritime.

The 45,000-ton, 968-foot Midway was the largest ship in the Navy when it joined the Navy's fleet in 1945. The ship flew many planes during the Vietnam conflict. On March 6, 1965, planes from the carrier shot down four North Vietnamese MiG-17s, the first U.S. victories over MiGs in Vietnam.

The carrier, decommissioned in 1992, spent years at a ship-holding site in Bremerton, Wash., but it was tugged to San Diego late last year. The Midway, now the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, will open to the public in early June.

The carrier was named after the Battle of Midway, a 1942 conflict between the United States and Japan that is considered to be one of the major turning points of World War II, helping to establish U.S. Navy supremacy in the Pacific.

The Midway has a personal attachment for Beavers: The carrier was the first ship that he was assigned to after enlisting in the Navy in 1958, when he was 17, and he spent four years of his life on the ship. "Every time I go back on board, it brings back memories," he said.

 


 

March 02, 2004

 

Northrop Grumman Shipyard Brings Historic Aircraft Carrier Back to Life
 

USS Midway - San Diego

The aircraft carrier USS Midway is pictured at Navy Pier in downtown

San Diego, where it's being converted into a museum and memorial.

Photo by Dhas Pfeilormer

 

 

SAN DIEGO -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) helped restore the historic aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41) for the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum. The Midway was built by Northrop Grumman's Newport News sector and delivered to the U.S. Navy in 1945. After serving nearly 50 years, the ship was decommissioned in 1992 and is now being converted into a museum and memorial.

Last November, the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum asked all shipyards in the area for support for the Midway project by repairing and restoring three brow platforms and two brows. Continental Maritime, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Newport News, was the only shipyard to respond to this request. The Structural, Coating and Rigging departments worked on the project.

"Continental Maritime proved itself a true friend of the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum and, by extension, the Navy," said the museum executive director, Navy Rear Adm. Riley Mixson (ret.). "We've always recognized and appreciated Continental's leadership in San Diego and most recently they have made a major contribution to the establishment of the flagship of floating naval aviation museums here in San Diego."

In January, tugs pulled the 45,000-ton decommissioned warship to Naval Air Station North Island. Restored vintage aircraft were taken on board and the restored brows and brow platforms were transported across the bay on a Continental Maritime barge for the arrival of Midway at Navy Pier Downtown.

As a thank you to Continental Maritime for its contributions and efforts, Northrop Grumman employees Dick Beavers, Gene Heldenbrand and Paul Trussler were invited to board Midway for her final voyage across the bay on Jan. 10. This was a sentimental journey for Beavers, as Midway was the first ship he served on during his naval career.

Midway will officially be open to the public in this spring. Guided tours will include a visit to the hanger bays, flight deck and bridge along with various exhibits, flight simulators, etc. More detailed information is available at
www.midway.org


Located in San Diego, Continental Maritime delivers service and support to aircraft carriers as well as other ships in the U.S. Navy fleet stationed on the west coast. Continental Maritime is a certified Master Ship Repair Contractor with the U.S. Navy and has accomplished hundreds of ship repair contracts for the Navy and Military Sealift Command.

Northrop Grumman Newport News, headquartered in Newport News, Va., is the nation's sole designer, builder and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and one of only two companies capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines. Newport News also provides after-market services for a wide array of naval and commercial vessels.

LEARN MORE ABOUT US: Northrop Grumman news releases, product information, photos and video clips are available on the Internet at: http://www.northropgrumman.com. Information specific to the Newport News sector is available at: www.nn.northropgrumman.com/index.html
 


 

January 23, 2004


USS Midway becomes floating San Diego museum

by JO1 Chris Halsey, Mobile Public Affairs Team Det. 119
dcmilitary.com

"This ship brings back lots of memories. We worked hard and we played hard on that ship."
Master Chief Boatswain's Mate Brett Young
Former USS Midway crewmember

The decommissioned aircraft carrier Midway has found a new home and a new mission. Port of San Diego tugboats pushed the 74,000-ton aircraft carrier across San Diego Bay Jan. 10, and parked it at the Broadway Pier near Downtown San Diego to serve as a naval museum. Commissioned on September 10, 1945 as USS Midway (CVB-41), the ship was decommissioned in 1992.

According to Pete Clayton, chief engineer for the USS Midway Museum, the 1,000-foot-long aircraft carrier steamed down the California coast after being mothballed in Bremerton, Wash., to receive recently restored aircraft at Naval Base Coronado.

In its 47-year career, the famed aircraft carrier saw action in numerous conflicts including World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. Midway also traveled through every ocean on the planet and was once considered the largest warship in the world. Now, the famed carrier will serve thousands of naval enthusiasts as a floating museum and event facility.

Ryan Radici, manager of the Fish Market restaurant, watched the Port of San Diego tugboats push the historic aircraft carrier by his terrace.

"It's very exciting having the Midway over here," the 27-year-old, Clairemont, Calif., native said. "She's now one more reason to come spend a day on the pier."

Thousands of San Diegans flocked to North Island and Harbor Drive to see the new attraction berth at the Navy Pier across the street from Commander, Navy Region Southwest headquarters. Among the crowd were former crew members of the famous ship.

Master Chief Boatswain's Mate (SW) Brett G. Young, command master chief for Reserve Readiness Command Southwest, served on Midway as a deck seaman from 1978 to 1979.

"As the ship gets closer, I remember all those days I spent side-cleaning the starboard side back in Yokosuka, Japan," said Young. "This ship brings back lots of memories. We worked hard and we played hard on that ship."

According to many of the former crew members, the ship still has that "Midway Magic," a term coined while the ship was forward-deployed in Japan. According to Billy Parcell, a former photographer's mate on Midway, the term comes from the Japanese word "Majutsue."

"It means no matter what happens, we are ready to answer the bell," said Parcell. "Whenever the president asked where the nearest carrier was in the Orient, he was asking where was the Midway."

More than 200,000 Americans have served aboard Midway, now known as the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum. But former shipmates are not the only ones drawn to the Midway-class carrier. Ned Bixby, a 60-year old native of Carlsbad, Calif., said. "There are millions like me who have not been in the Navy but who love and want to experience the Navy. This ship is our chance to do that."


 

January 10, 2004

'Midway Magic' finally home: Aircraft carrier to become floating naval museum


By Darrin Mortenson - NC Times.com Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ---- For much of the 47 years it was in service, sailors and airmen aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway spoke proudly of "
Midway Magic" ---- an almost indescribable elan and spirit that saw the ship's successive crews through mission after successful mission until it was retired in 1992.

Saturday that old Midway Magic came to life again and was shared by about 1,000 passengers as the Midway reached its permanent home at water's edge of downtown San Diego.

Between about 9 and 11 a.m. Saturday, the 1,000-foot-long, 58-year-old aircraft carrier made its final voyage across San Diego Harbor from North Island Naval Air Station to the Navy Pier at North Embarcadero, where it will soon become a floating naval museum.

The ship's spell captivated the passengers on the flight deck as two determined tugboats pulled and pushed the gray giant across the channel and into the slip between the Navy Pier and Tuna Harbor.

The passengers were mostly former crew members, retired sailors and airmen who donated money to the nonprofit group that brought the Midway to San Diego. They crowded the deck to watch the final mooring and relive voyages of long ago.

"I tell ya, it's like I'm 19 all over again," said Tom Kaufman, 52, of San Jose, who served aboard the Midway during the ship's first mission to Vietnam in 1969. "The memories are incredible. If you were onboard (in the past), this is a big deal."

Other old Navy hands beamed as the ship slowly pulled away from the North Island docks.

"It's incredible," said Mike Helms, 58, of Oakland, who stood behind red-white-and-blue bunting that bordered the deck. He gazed off the port bow as the Midway started to spin around toward the adjacent nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis.

"I spent three years of my life on here," he said, shaking his head and staring at the deck as if lost in reflection.

Helms said he flew to San Diego with his father-in-law just to take the Midway's final trip Saturday, and he had visited the Midway in the Port of Oakland several times in the last two months while it was being spruced up for its duty as San Diego's next big attraction.

The Midway was towed from Oakland on Dec. 31 and arrived at North Island on Monday.

Helms said he was pleased that the public would soon be able to tour the ship and learn about life at sea.

His father-in-law agreed.

"I think it's very appropriate for the city of San Diego to get a ship museum," said Fred Ulin, 81, who served aboard Navy destroyers during World War II and was once stationed in San Diego. "We've had a lot of ships in here over the years."

Ship has storied history

Since it was commissioned in 1945, more than 200,000 men and women had served aboard the Midway by the time it was retired in 1992.

Built during World War II at Hampton Roads, Va., it was the largest vessel in the U.S. fleet at the time and was the first ship in the world too big to transit the Panama Canal.

It was originally built with a straight deck on the hull of a cruiser, but was overhauled many times over the years to accommodate new weapons systems and aircraft.

It served three long combat deployments during the Vietnam War and its air wing helped evacuate more than 3,000 refugees when Saigon finally fell to communist forces April 29, 1975.

After Vietnam, the Midway responded to many international crises, including the Iran hostage crisis in 1979.

Stationed in Japan through much of the 1980s, it spent its last years as the flag ship of the armada that projected an American presence in the west Pacific and Indian Ocean during the twilight years of the Cold War.

The Midway last saw combat during the Gulf War in 1991, and was decommissioned shortly thereafter and sent to the Navy's West Coast graveyard at Bremerton, Wash.

Midway set for new duty

Alan Uke, the local businessman who hatched the idea of bringing the Midway to San Diego more than a decade ago, said the ship's arrival at its final berth was not as easy as it looked during the two-hour trip Saturday.

"We worked 12 years on this, but we're here!" he said, as the ship inched toward Navy Pier. About 200 people lined the boardwalk and an additional 100-some spectators crowded the naval memorial park along Tuna Harbor.

Uke said his group raised more than $14 million for the project and $250,000 more in the last few days alone.

He and other members of the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum board of directors have said the museum planned for Midway will evolve over time and offer new collections and exhibits to attract visitors again and again.

In addition to the three exhibits already onboard, an assortment of vintage naval aircraft will be displayed onboard, Uke said.

Retired Rear Adm. Riley Mixson, who skippered the Midway in Japan from 1985 to '87, said the ship's bridge will be fitted with plasma screens over the windows that will simulate the motion of the ship at sea and show aircraft taking off and landing as if it were happening right outside.

Mixson, who was the interim executive director for the museum group, said the museum will open in late April or May, and will officially launch with a grand opening celebration June 5. It will be the fifth aircraft carrier museum in the country, and the Navy's 47th floating ship museum.

Watching from the flight deck as the Midway
docked at Navy Pier at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, board members Mixson and David Flohr patted each other firmly on the back.

"We made it," Flohr said.

"Yeah," said Mixson, "we made it."

 


 

January 05, 2004

Journey's end for the Midway new duty: museum


By Jonathan Heller
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

As a full moon cast a soft, silvery light on its massive structure, the aircraft carrier Midway slipped ghostlike Monday into San Diego Bay.

People who had waited on Broadway Pier for up to six hours watched in silence as the 58-year-old warship was towed into its new home port, where it will take on a new mission as a floating museum and tourist attraction this spring.

"I wasn't going to leave until I saw her," said Ken Cohea, whose father, Baryon Cohea, served on the Midway in the 1960s. He died in April.

The 968-foot-long flattop, which was mothballed in 1992, was completing a six-day journey from Oakland, where it was spruced up for its new role.

Hundreds of people were lined up all day along the Embarcadero and Broadway Pier, and at Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma, to greet the Midway . As the sun set, splashing orange and crimson across the bay, they had their cameras ready to capture the moment. But 10 minutes passed, then 20, and still no sight of the aircraft carrier.

Andy Campbell, 24, a downtown resident who is applying to become a Navy pilot, made four trips to the Embarcadero to try to get a glimpse of the carrier, but ultimately left after waiting until 30 minutes after sunset.

Those who hung around in the blustery dark had to settle for a glimpse of its silhouette.

"They're bringing the ship under a full moon; that's got to be good luck," said Russ Gatlin of Clearlake.

The designation "41" was just barely visible on its tower as the massive ship moved past, blotting out the lights of Point Loma behind it.

Hal Strong of Spring Valley brought his 8-year-old grandson, Austin, to witness the event. "It's like the Queen Mary coming in," said Strong, a retired Army helicopter mechanic.

The Midway was commissioned in 1945 and saw action during the Vietnam War and during the Persian Gulf War. Joe Ciokon, a retired Navy journalist from Poway, recalled crouching in a foxhole in Vietnam when the Midway's jets roared overhead on an air strike.

"Its air wing came over and saved our bacon," Ciokon said.

Alan Uke, founder of the nonprofit San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, spent nearly a dozen years working to get the Midway for San Diego.

"I'm so excited, I'm tingling," Uke said. "It's like seeing a baby being born."

The Midway will be tied up at North Island Naval Air Station until Saturday while cranes lift refurbished carrier fighter jets aboard to be placed on exhibit.

On Saturday, the ship is scheduled to take its final voyage across the bay to Navy Pier, where it will take up its new duty station.

Riley Mixson, a retired rear admiral, will serve as executive director of the museum. He was skipper of the Midway from 1985 to 1987, when it was home-ported in Japan.

The ship, with a crew of 4,800, was "at the tip of the sword," the first in line to respond to a crisis in the Pacific or Indian oceans, he said.

"I could tell stories all day," Mixson said as he waited at the Broadway Pier for the
Midway to arrive. "We were always at 24/7 readiness. Nothing was too hard. The impossible was just average for that crew."

Staff writers Helen Gao and Luis Monteagudo Jr. contributed to this report.

 


 

January 05, 2004

 

TheSanDiegoChannel.com

 

Retired USS Midway Signs Lease For New Life
 

Ship To Be Converted Into Naval History Museum

 

SAN DIEGO -- The Midway has come home.

The retired aircraft carrier arrived in San Diego Bay Monday, where it will become a floating naval history museum six decades after its commissioning at the conclusion of World War II.

The nearly 1,000-foot warship reached its Southern California destination late Monday afternoon, following a five-day, tugboat-powered voyage from Oakland.

The Midway, which saw action in every major U.S. conflict that occurred during its decades of service, passed the tip of Point Loma Monday shortly before 5 p.m., en route to North Island Naval Air Station.

The carrier had been due to arrive this morning, but was delayed due to a problem with a tugboat oil line, said Scott McGaugh of the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum.

Plans call for the carrier to dock at the Coronado naval station to take on restored aircraft, then travel across the bay this weekend to a permanent berth at Navy Pier in the North Embarcadero area.

The Midway is scheduled to open this spring as a public museum, featuring restored aircraft, a below-deck theater, interactive exhibits and historical displays. It also will serve as a unique spot for community events.

The ship was commissioned in 1945 in Newport News, Va., and served in combat operations, including stints in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm, for almost 50 years.

Twelve years ago, the Navy decommissioned the carrier, which had been stationed in San Diego in the early 1990s, and sent it to a Bremerton, Wash., mothball fleet.

 


 

January 05, 2004

 

USS Midway arrives in San Diego!!!

 

Midway finally arrived in San Diego at 5:05 pm PST. Photos of this event can be found in the San Diego 2004 photo gallery.

 

~ Troy Prince (MidwaySailor.com)

 


 

January 05, 2004

 

USS Midway to Become San Diego Museum


By Seth Hettena, Associated Press Writer

SAN DIEGO - The storied aircraft carrier USS Midway is headed for a permanent home along San Diego Bay's Navy Pier as the nation's biggest museum devoted to carriers and naval aviation.

Tugs are pulling the 74,000-ton decommissioned warship from a naval graveyard off Washington state where the Midway has spent the past 10 years. The ship is due in a few days and, once outfitted with aircraft and other memorabilia, will become the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, with a spring opening planned.

The Midway will be the nation's fifth and largest aircraft carrier museum. The others are the Intrepid in New York; the Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C.; the Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas; and the Hornet in Alameda, Calif.

Museum backers raised $8 million and spent more than a decade clearing regulatory hurdles.

"Someday, we'd like to be talked about in the same breath as Sea World and the zoo," said Scott McGaugh, a museum spokesman. "It's remarkable to think San Diego has almost a 100-year history with the Navy and yet has no naval aviation museum."

The Midway was the world's largest warship when it was launched in March 1945, less than six months before the Japanese surrender in World War II. The ship got its name from the Battle of Midway, the turning point of the Pacific war in which U.S. forces defeated a Japanese fleet in 1942 near the mid-Pacific atoll.

The Midway served three combat tours in Vietnam and launched warplanes over Iraq in 1991. The ship saw many firsts, including the first jet takeoff from a carrier and the dawn of naval missile warfare when a captured German V-2 rocket was launched from its deck.

The Midway was decommissioned in 1992 as the longest-serving carrier in U.S. Navy history. About 200,000 sailors and airmen called the Midway home over the years..

 


 

January 04, 2004

 

Aviation News by Pacific Flyer : USS Midway

Naval Aviators, history buffs and tourist officials were looking forward this month to the arrival in San Diego of what will become the largest floating naval museum in the world the USS Midway, CV-41.


Subject to weather, the historic aircraft carrier was scheduled to depart Oakland Dec. 28 and arrive at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego on or about January 2. It will have marked the culmination of an 11-year campaign to bring Midway to the city for outfitting as the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum.

Once at North Island, several historic aircraft were scheduled to be craned aboard. On Jan. 10th, VIPs, guests and dues-paying members of the museum (sponsors include everyone from giant corporations to former crewmembers) were to ride the Midway from North Island to her new berth on the North Embarcadero, close to the Star of India sailing ship.

She won't open as a tourist attraction until April, however, as workers continue their efforts to restore the 968-foot long ship's interior.

Commissioned Sept. 10, 1945 at Newport News, Va., the Midway played critical roles in the Vietnam war through the 1960s and '70s, as well as in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. She was decommissioned April 11, 1992 at her homeport, North Island, and towed to Bremerton, Wash. for storage.

Ten years of neglect had an impact, however, and volunteers have spent the better part of a year cleaning her interior once the okay was given to turn her into a floating museum. When the transfer was eventually completed, she was moved from Bremerton to Oakland for painting.

The man behind the restoration is 54-year -old retired Navy Cdr. Pete Clayton of El Cajon, Calif., who oversaw 30 workers in painting and polishing in preparation for her move south.

A veteran of 28 years in the sea service, Clayton has described the Midway as more than just a large boat with a runway on the roof. She's more like a monument or a "cathedral," he said, a place of honor where more than 200 men died in the 47 years of her service to the nation.

He also participated in the restoration of the USS Hornet, berthed at Alameda, Calif. and it was that expertise that resulted in his hiring by the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum. According to the San Diego Union, Clayton and his crew spent two months of often 12-16 hour, seven day weeks cleaning some 20 tons of debris from the Midway.

So far, a lot of money has been spent to make what at first seem impossible come to fruition, about $6.5 million. Some $2 million went for environmental studies and planning, $1 million for the mooring platforms at Navy Pier, $500,000 for painting and $300,000 for towing her from Bremerton to Oakland to San Diego.

Another half million will go for installing sprinkler and fire alarm systems after she arrives in San Diego. And, in case the tourists don't show as expected, $500,000 is being held in reserve for towing her away again.

But no one expects that half million to be used; in fact, the San Diego Port District (the Midway's landlord) is projecting annual revenues of some $750,000 in their pockets from taking four percent of food and beverage sales and parking fees. Museum officials said although they're trying to get more corporate funding, they still expect to open with $2 million in working capital.

As usual, not everyone was happy with the arrival of Midway and parking her on San Diego's tourist-driven waterfront. A group calling itself the Environmental Health Coalition is perhaps the leading voice, whose biggest objection seems to be that the Midway will take up room where more cruise ships could dock.

Only the local newspaper gives the coalition any media coverage and most everyone else ignores them, anxiously awaiting the awe-inspiring sight of a 20-story tall aircraft carrier berthed next to the scenic boardwalk at the end of Broadway in San Diego. It's going to be a sight to behold.

Aircraft carrier museums are also operating in New York City, Charleston, S.C. and Corpus Christi, Texas. Including the Hornet, they're all smaller than the Midway.

For more information on the Hornet, visit their website at www.uss-hornet.org. For the Midway, see www.midway.org.

 


 

January 02, 2004

 

Midway to arrive in San Diego on Monday

By: Darrin Mortenson - North County Times Staff Writer

Towed by a tugboat, the historic aircraft carrier USS Midway is scheduled to round Point Loma and cruise into San Diego Bay on Monday morning and dock later that day at the North Island Naval Air Station.

The nearly 1,000-foot-long flattop left the Port of Oakland on Wednesday, where it had been spruced up to become a floating naval museum along Navy Pier at San Diego's North Embarcadero.

The Midway was decommissioned in 1992, and before it arrived in Oakland, was berthed in Washington state.

According to the Web site run by the nonprofit group that established the museum, the Midway will take on an assortment of vintage military aircraft at the air station next week.

Then on Saturday, Jan. 10, members of the San Diego Aircraft Museum, donors of at least $1,000, and a host of local VIPs are scheduled to make the ship's final voyage from the naval air station across the bay to the Navy Pier.

The museum, one of only five aircraft carrier museums in the country, is scheduled to open in April.

Museum organizers have estimated that the ship will be a key San Diego tourist attraction, drawing as more than 400,000 visitors a year and pumping about $20 million a year into the local economy.

For updates on the progress of the Midway call the group's hotline at (619) 234-3497. For more information or to see live Internet-based footage of the ship, go to www.midway.org.

 


 

January 02, 2004

 

Ship To Become Floating Museum

SAN DIEGO -- In less than three days, the aircraft carrier USS Midway will pull into San Diego, Channel 10 News reported. The 1,000-foot ship will dock at North Island for some final additions, then it will cruise across the bay to its permanent home at Navy Pier.

The ship left Oakland, Calif., Dec. 31 and is scheduled to arrive in San Diego, Monday, Jan. 5.

Once the ship is stationed in San Diego, it will become a floating museum.

From the end of World War II through Operation Desert Storm, the aircraft carrier housed more than 200,000 servicemen and served the United States for more than 47 years.

The USS Midway is set to be permanently docked Saturday, Jan. 10.

To learn more about the ship's final journey, visit
www.midway.org. For recorded updates, call (619) 234-3497.

 


 

January 01, 2004

 

Midway to serve as naval museum

HISTORY: Headed to San Diego, the former flagship of the Pacific Fleet will be restored.

By HENRI BRICKEY / The Press-Enterprise

 

The USS Midway , once the flagship of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet, began its final ocean voyage Wednesday in a trip that will take the vessel from Oakland to San Diego, the final resting place for the retired ship.

The Midway will arrive in the San Diego area behind a tugboat at about 9:30 a.m. Monday and dock for a few days at the Naval Air Station North Island. Once there, the ship will take on several restored aircraft.

On Jan. 10, the aircraft carrier will be moved to the Navy Pier on the edge of downtown San Diego where the ship will be turned into a state-of-the-art museum scheduled to open in the spring.

"San Diego is Navy Town USA and the Navy has been an important part of San Diego for almost a century, and yet the city doesn't have any type of significant Navy museum or memorial center," said Scott McGaugh, spokesman for the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum.

Upon opening, the museum will feature more than a dozen aircraft, a below-deck theater, memorabilia and other exhibits, McGaugh said.

Following its service during the first Gulf , the Midway was retired in April 1992 and docked at the Navy's reserve fleet in Bremerton, Wash.

The Navy declared the Midway available in the mid 1990s and several cities expressed interest in acquiring the ship, but San Diego was the only one to file an official application when the nonprofit group Midway Magic made its bid for the ship in the late 1990s.

The cost of moving and refurbishing the ship, along with pier-side improvements in San Diego, is $8million. The project is being paid for through private financing and community contributions.

Officials with Midway Magic say the museum will be profitable within its first year.

 


 

January 01, 2004

 

'Historic moment' for old warship

 

After face-lift at Oakland port, aircraft carrier is sent off to become floating museum

By Kristin Bender, Tri-Valley Herald Staff Writer

OAKLAND -- Every day this week, Al Dagsaan drove from his Vallejo home to the Oakland waterfront hoping to capture a glimpse -- and a few photographs -- of history.

The USS Midway, the 1,000-foot-long aircraft carrier he served on from 1975 to 1979, had undergone a massive facelift at the Charles P. Howard Terminal this fall and was ready to head to San Diego to open as a floating museum.

But every day there were delays -- delays because of a tow wench problem, delays due to weather conditions, delays because of the delays. On Wednesday morning, Dagsaan was back at the terminal, camera in hand, a smile on his face, anxiety in his eyes.

"I came here every day," said the 49-year-old. "I wouldn't miss this. This ship brings back a lot of memories. We served a lot of time at sea. I took a picture of my old bunk; it was (emotional) for me."

Under gray skies Wednesday, the USS Midway finally got under way.

"It's a historic moment," said Dave Adams, chief wharfinger at the port. "There's a lot of people who have some relationship to this vessel."

Soon, many more will know the Midway, a storied 61,000-ton vessel that served in the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and patrolled the Mediterranean Sea during the Korean War.

The ship's owner, the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, will open the ship as a museum in April. While in Oakland, the ship underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation, including a 2,000-gallon paint job and interior upgrades to make it safe for visitors.

The Midway was constructed during World War II and took to the sea in 1945, shortly after Japan surrendered. It was named after the famed battle in the North Pacific.

In its heyday, the Midway carried roughly 100 planes and 4,500 crew members. Throughout its career in the military, the ship was home to more than 200,000 American military personnel, said wharfinger Chris Peterson.

The Midway is being towed the nearly 600 miles to San Diego by the Corbin Foss, an 8,200-horsepower tug from Seattle. Three 90-foot chains and a 100-foot catenary attached to the 150-foot-long tug will pull the ship to San Diego's North Island. There, the Midway will take on restored aircraft for museum displays.

Its final home will be Navy Pier in the city's downtown.

The tug travels at 5.5 knots and burns 8,000 gallons of fuel per day pulling the ship. It is expected to arrive in San Diego around 8 a.m. Monday, said Capt. Todd Wilson.

 


 

December 31, 2003

 

Oakland Update - USS Midway departs Oakland on her way to San Diego

 

Midway finally left Oakland today under tow on her way to San Diego. Photos of this event can be found in the Oakland photo gallery.

 

~ Troy Prince (MidwaySailor.com)

 


 

December 29, 2003

 

Aircraft carrier setting sail for San Diego and its new life as a floating museum

 

By Rick DelVecchio, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

 

A handful of volunteers at the Oakland waterfront scurried from fore to aft on the Midway Sunday as they readied the storied aircraft carrier for its new life as California's latest floating naval history museum.

The 1,000-foot long Midway was scheduled to leave Oakland under tow at about 9:30 a.m. today, passing between Alcatraz Island and Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco before clearing the Golden Gate on its way to its final home in San Diego.

Its scheduled departure Sunday was postponed after a tugboat developed mechanical problems. The delay thrust retired Navy Cmdr. Pete Clayton, who led the ship's restoration effort, and a small crew of volunteers into the role of deckhands.

They worked fast to tie up the giant ship before an expected Pacific storm could cause any trouble.

"I was a propulsion engineer for 30 years, not a deck mate," Clayton said as he muddied his clothes wrestling three-inch-thick lines in the ship's forecastle.

Clayton, who served as chief engineer on the carrier Ranger during the first Gulf War, stuck his head through an opening in the deck to guide the last line to its handlers on the dock 45 feet below. An older gent working on the crew paused to take a flash photo of the darkened space, where sailors served from 1945 to 1992 in three wars and numerous peacetime missions involving the projection of American power abroad.

The Midway is a product of World War II and the greatest generation, Clayton said.

"At the time it was built, it was the largest ship in the world," he said. "It's a piece of America."

The Midway is scheduled to arrive at North Island in San Diego on Jan. 3. It will remain there a week, taking on restored aircraft from the 1960s and 1970s.

On Jan. 10, it will cross San Diego Bay to its final destination at Navy Pier, at the foot of the city's revitalized downtown.

Organizers hope to open the Midway for daily admission in late spring and hold a public celebration in early June to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which crushed Japan's naval power in World War II.

San Diego promoters, led by entrepreneur Alan Uke, have been working on landing the Midway as a museum almost since the Navy decommissioned the ship in 1992.

It took a nonprofit corporation more than 10 years to complete the paperwork needed to gain custody of the ship, which was moldering in Puget Sound.

Five months ago, the ship was towed to Oakland to complete its $6.5 million renovation.

The Midway will become the 12th naval ship to serve as a floating museum in California and the second aircraft carrier.

The Hornet museum has been open in Alameda since 1998.

More than half again as heavy as the Hornet, the Midway was the namesake for the last class of carriers developed during World War II. Japan surrendered before the Midway went on active duty, but the ship served three tours during the Vietnam War and led the air bombardment of Iraq during the first Gulf War.

The Midway was based in Alameda from 1958 through the Vietnam War.

It was later home ported in Japan, and one of its main tasks was showing American force in the Far East.

"Midway stood right in the crosscurrent of almost every international crisis or situation in the latter half of the 20th century," said Scott McGaugh, spokesman for the museum group.

McGaugh has interviewed more than 300 Midway veterans for a book on the ship and has turned up some little-known asides in naval history. In 1946, for example, the ship secretly fired one of Hitler's V-2 rockets and proved that missiles could be launched at sea.

Navy veteran Wayne Boykin of Pacifica worked on the Midway as a civilian shipyard worker at Hunter's Point and Alameda. He recalled with pride how his crew was flown to the Middle East to repair a faulty catapult mechanism on the Midway and completed the job in 25 hours. If the new custodians of the Midway plan to fix the catapult, Boykin said he wants to be part of it.

"We had a great crew in Alameda," he said. "Everyone just busted their butts to get the job done."

 

 

USS Midway - Oakland

Former sailors Greg Maissen, 42, (left) and Al Dagsaan, 49,

exchange stories about their time on the aircraft carrier Midway.

Chronicle photo by Penni Gladstone

USS Midway - Oakland

Capt. Don Smith waits aboard his tugboat while repairs are

made so he can tow the Midway to its new home in San Diego.

Chronicle photo by Penni Gladstone

 

 


 

December 29, 2003

 

Oakland Update - USS Midway almost departs Oakland on her way to San Diego

 

Per Dave Starr and the Midway Museum website, Midway's departure was delayed due to a tug breaking down and also by a major storm in the area. The new departure date is now Wednesday, December 31st.

 

~ Troy Prince (MidwaySailor.com)

 


 

December 28, 2003

 

Aircraft Carrier Midway Heads for Berth as San Diego Museum
 

By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

 

SAN DIEGO Like a military veteran being recalled to service, the retired aircraft carrier Midway is set today to begin the slow voyage from San Francisco Bay to become a museum here.

The trip from the dock at Oakland to the pier at North Island Naval Air Station is scheduled to take five days, weather permitting.

The journey to turn the 1,000-foot-long ship into a nonprofit, privately run museum has taken a decade because of politics, environmental concerns and money problems.

Begun in 1992 by sports equipment magnate Alan Uke, the drive to bring the Midway to San Diego took longer than anyone expected.

Uke's group had taken as its working model the case of the carrier Lexington. It took officials in Corpus Christi, Texas, about nine months to get that carrier out of retirement and opened as a museum.

Even considering California's more stringent environmental review process, Midway boosters figured the process would take a few years at most.

"We were naive," Midway project official David Lloyd Flohr said. "We thought the Midway would be ready for the Republican convention in 1996, but we missed. Then we missed both of the Super Bowls," which were played in San Diego in 1998 and 2003.

"It was very frustrating, but we were determined not to let the bureaucrats win," Flohr said.

Barring a last-minute storm either political or atmospheric the Midway, retired from active duty since 1992, is scheduled to be towed into San Diego Bay on Friday.

After a week's worth of repair work at North Island, the carrier will be towed across the bay to Navy Pier, its final destination. Volunteers have been in Oakland for weeks, painting and cleaning the ship.

"There's been a good deal of debris to clear away but the ship is in surprisingly good shape," said Midway official Scott McGaugh.

Though the track records of the nearly 50 ships that have been turned into museums around the country have been varied some have been successful, some are struggling members of the Midway project are convinced they have a winner.

The Navy Pier site is part of San Diego's downtown, close to hotels and other tourist attractions. The Navy has pledged cooperation, and the Midway group has support from the San Diego Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park, one of the nation's top museums.

With the Midway's arrival imminent, the last remaining opposition group last week decided to give up the fight. "It's not something we're concerned about anymore," said Environmental Health Coalition official Jason Baker.

The Midway idea began with Uke's failed attempt in 1992 to win the Republican nomination for Congress. He had suggested that bringing a Navy ship to San Diego as a museum could give the region's sagging tourist economy a boost.

The Midway had just been retired after 47 years of service, including as a platform for launching warplanes in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm.

Although it was never based in San Diego, it had been brought to North Island for official decommissioning before being towed to the Navy's mothball fleet in Bremerton, Wash.

To get the Navy to transfer title to the ship, Uke's group had to raise enough money to keep the project afloat as well as meet all requirements from local and state agencies, including the California Coastal Commission. The agency's staff was dubious.

To get commission approval, the Midway group bought bay-front land on the southern edge of San Diego Bay to provide nesting areas for birds to compensate for any disruption to nesting near Navy Pier.

And to satisfy concerns that the five-story carrier could block view corridors, the group decided that the portion of the ship that provides the best view of the bay and nearby Coronado would be open to the public without charge.

Finally, in late August, the Navy granted the Midway group a 40-year lease, with provisions that allow the Navy to reclaim the ship in case of national emergency or if the museum project founders.

The tentative goal is for a grand opening in June timed for the anniversary of World War II's Battle of Midway in 1942 with an average admission cost of $10.50, roughly the same as for the carrier Intrepid museum in New York Harbor. Among the attractions will be a theater, restored warplanes, exhibits, lectures and sleepover activities for students.

Not everyone is happy about the Midway project.

Members of Activist San Diego and the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice two groups opposed to the U.S. war in Iraq say the Midway museum is an example of San Diego's domination by the "military-industrial complex."

"Aircraft carriers are symbols of the new American empire's ability to project power around the globe to protect, not the American people, but corporate and political interests," said Martin Eder, director of Activist San Diego.

Safety regulations prohibit Midway boosters from making the trip from San Francisco.

But many of them will be waiting when the ship rounds Ballast Point into San Diego Bay.

"We keep repeating to ourselves: 'It's happening, it's happening, it's really happening,' " Flohr said.

 


 

December 28, 2003

 

Oakland Update - USS Midway almost departs Oakland on her way to San Diego

 

Midway started to depart Oakland today. She was pulled out into the estuary, turned around, paused for almost an hour and then put back at the Howard Terminal Pier. I don't have a reason for that yet and am waiting for word from Dave Starr. He'll have the reason for the delay and I'll post it here as soon as I get it.

 

~ Troy Prince (MidwaySailor.com)

 


 

December 20, 2003

 

Oakland Update - USS Midway Departure from Oakland & Arrival in San Diego Dates

 

The announced schedule is for Midway to depart Oakland on December 28th and arriving in San Diego on January 2nd. She will be berthed at NAS North Island first to have restored aircraft loaded aboard. On January 10th, Midway will be towed across San Diego Bay to her permanent home at Navy Pier.

 

~ Troy Prince (MidwaySailor.com)

 


 

November 21, 2003

 

Oakland Update - USS Midway Turns Around!

 

Painting of Midway's starboard side has been completed and that half now looks like new. The ship was turned around today to put her port side towards the pier and the bow is now facing the web cam. Current plans call for Midway to leave Oakland on December 18th under tow to begin the final leg of her journey to San Diego.

 

~ Troy Prince (MidwaySailor.com)

 


 

October 12, 2003

 

From the Oakland Tribune

 

USS Midway comes to Oakland dock


Historic World War II aircraft
By Paul T. Rosynsky, STAFF WRITER


OAKLAND -- The USS Midway, the flagship of the country's naval fleet since the end of World War II, will be docked at the Port of Oakland for two months getting an overdue face-lift. The 1,000-foot-long aircraft carrier arrived last week at the port's Charles P. Howard Terminal. When work is finished, the ship will depart late in December for San Diego to become a museum.

Until then, Bay Area residents can get a peek of the United States' longest serving aircraft carrier.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," said Dave Adams, chief wharfinger at the port. "It was just the right place at the right time."

The ship's new owner, the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, wants to keep the vessel at the Port of Oakland until construction of a pier in San Diego is completed. It will pay $60,000 to lease the terminal here for two months.

Because the museum wants to have the Midway in San Diego by February, it decided to remove the ship from Bremerton, Wash. before ocean waters chopped up by winter storms prevent towing.

Through the USS Hornet Foundation in Alameda, the museum discovered the Howard Terminal was available.

While in Oakland, the ship will be given a paint job and its interior will be partially refurbished, for the safety of visitors.

Museum officials hope to open the USS Midway for visitors on a limited basis during its stay here.

"Our hope is to provide some degree of limited access on weekends at some point," said Scott McGaugh, spokesman for the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum. "Bay Area residents should be able to get some degree of a sneak preview or taste of the Midway magic."

But for some, just having the ship on city shores is a privilege.

"It was one of the finest vessels," said Gerald Lutz, CEO of the USS Hornet Museum. "When I see people who don't have a naval historic background and they see the size of these things, their mouths are just wide open."

The Midway was built during World War II and took to the sea in 1945, shortly after Japan surrendered. It was named after the islands and battle in the North Pacific Ocean that the United States won and which historians credit as a turning point in the war.

In its heyday, the Midway carried about 100 planes and 4,500 crew members. It later served in the Vietnam War and the first Persian Gulf War. It also patrolled the Mediterranean Sea in the Korea conflict.

Throughout its use in the military, the USS Midway was home to more than 200,000 American sailors.

"It was literally a floating city," McGaugh said. "It was amazing."

And thanks to the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, Midway's legacy will continue.

The museum spent 11 years trying to rescue the carrier from the scrap heap. With the help of key politicians, the U.S. Navy, and more than $8 million in donations, the museum won the right to own the carrier and transform it into a museum.

Its campaign to save the ship began in 1992.

"It's an interesting sensation for people to go on an aircraft carrier," Lutz said. "You don't get that kind of excitement with some of the smaller ships around."

 


 

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

 

Email from : Wahler, Mark


Subject : Midway arrived in SF

Date : Tue, 7 Oct 2003 09:32:29 -0700

FYI: the Midway was towed into San Francisco Bay this morning & it looks like they are going to tie it up to the pier just south of the Bay Bridge. Given that "fleet week" for San Francisco is the later part of this week, I suspect the timing is not a coincidence. Right now, they are dinking it around slowly with three tug boats. If they do tie it up to the pier, it will likely be available for visitors this weekend.

Just in case you-all are interested...
Mark J Wahler
Bechtel, San Francisco

 


 

Port of Oakland Media Advisory - Photo Op at Golden Gate Bridge
 

October 6, 2003

Decommissioned Aircraft Carrier USS Midway Arrives at Port of Oakland Tomorrow

What: The historic decommissioned USS Midway aircraft carrier-destined to become the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum-will be arriving in the Bay Area tomorrow, completing a week-long tow from Bremerton, Washington.

 

When: Tuesday, October 7, 2003

At 8 a.m. Midway is expected to cross under the Golden Gate Bridge (excellent aerial photo op, or from the GGB)
At 11 a.m. it will be at the mouth of the Oakland Estuary
At 2 p.m. it is expected to arrive at the Charles P. Howard Terminal in Oakland for two months of painting and preparation. Reporters will be allowed access to Howard Terminal to observe and film docking, but there will be no access to the vessel at that time. Plans are underway for possible limited public access on weekends aboard Midway while in Oakland. (Check www.midway.org)

San Diego Next
Midway is scheduled to arrive in San Diego by mid-December (after a 5-day tow from Oakland) for outfitting as a museum over the winter in preparation for a late spring 2004 grand opening. While in Oakland the ship will be painted down to the waterline and there will be interior repairs and restoration.
 

Significance
The *ex-USS Midway served 47 years, from the close of WWII to serving as a flagship in Desert Storm in 1991. It was decommissioned in San Diego in 1992. San Diego community leaders have been working 11 years to establish Midway as a permanent naval aviation museum, tribute, and visitor attraction, expected to draw more than 400,000 visitors in its first year.
 

Museum Info
www.midway.org; www.midwaymagic.com (sneak preview of upcoming first-ever book on Midway's history)
* "Ex" in front of the ship's name means de-commissioned

San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum - Fact Sheet
 

Overview
The ex-USS Midway is a legendary aircraft carrier of extraordinary missions, accomplishments and contribution. It will become a naval aviation museum, tribute, education center and visitor destination.
 

Historical Perspective
Commissioned a week after the end of World War II, the USS Midway embarked on an unprecedented 47-year odyssey that set new standards in naval aviation, blazed new trails as the Navy's first carrier homeported abroad (Japan), and developed a "Midway Magic" aura of accomplishment and vigilance. More than 200,000 Americans took part in the odyssey, which ended after Midway served as the Persian Gulf flagship in Desert Storm.
 

Where: San Diego Bay on the south side of Navy Pier 11A in the heart of downtown San Diego's revitalized Embarcadero.
 

When: Midway is expected to arrive in San Diego later in 2003. Outfitting will take place over the winter. Grand opening is tentatively projected for the spring of 2004.
 

Cost: Average admission price is expected to be approximately $10.50 with discounts for veterans/military, seniors and children.
 

Project Background
For more than a decade, community leaders worked to bring the decommissioned Midway to San Diego for her final tour of duty. More than $8 million was raised in private contributions and financing to make the project possible.
 

Impact
Projected economic impact: $20 million annually
Major addition to San Diego's nearby convention center business
Estimated first-year attendance: 400,000
First major new visitor destination in San Diego in over 25 years
The only naval museum and attraction of its kind in a city that is home to one-third of the Pacific Fleet.

For More Information

Primary Contact:
Scott McGaugh
(858) 229-7811
scott@slmcomm.com
www.midway.org

Alternate Contact:
Marilyn Sandifur
Port of Oakland
Media/Public Relations Manager
(510) 627-1193
msandifur@portoakland.com

 


 

October 01, 2003

 

The SunLink.com

 

NEXT STOP, CALIFORNIA: A NAVY LEGEND LEAVES TOWN
Midway
to History - The aircraft carrier is taken out of mothballs and towed out of Bremerton on its way to becoming a museum in San Diego.

By Chris Barron, Sun Staff

As several tugboats pushed USS Midway past Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on Tuesday morning, the national anthem echoed along the waterfront. Although a coincidence -- the anthem is played at 8 a.m. each day at the shipyard -- it served as a final salute for an aircraft carrier that began service during the last month of World War II.

In late spring, the Midway will become the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum. It's a fitting tribute for a ship with one of the richest histories in the past century, participating in virtually every major incident or war since World War II.

Standing at the ferry terminal were two former Midway sailors, Joe Brignone and Jeff Kandul. The duo, who served on the carrier more than a generation apart, watched as the ship left Bremerton for the final time.

"She's under way. Midway's under way," said Brignone, 65, a Tacoma resident who has a Web site dedicated to the ship, Midway Joe's Navy. "That's just great."

Watching the Midway sail past, Brignone and Kandul swapped sea stories as if they served together. The Midway, named after the famous WWII battle, was a unique ship, they said. No other even came close.

"The Midway is really a special ship to a lot of sailors," Brignone said. "For some reason, Midway has a real soul."

Plus, it was the first ship the two were assigned to when they began their Navy careers 30 years apart.

"For me, the Navy really started with the Midway," said Kandul, 32, a Federal Way resident. "You can't really describe it other than it's your first ship. It's kind of like your first love."

The Midway, moored in Bremerton's inactive fleet for the past decade, was pushed from its longtime berth along Navy Yard Highway just before 7 a.m. It met up with Foss Maritime's 8,200-horsepower tug, which is towing the carrier to an Oakland shipyard for two months of exterior work. The same tug pulled USS Constellation from San Diego to Bremerton last week after the carrier was decommissioned in August.

As the tug powered up, the Midway's heavy, rusted towing chain dangling from the front of ship lifted out of the water. The Midway was headed back to sea for the first time since its 1992 arrival in Bremerton.

Brignone, a former corrections officer in Pierce County, served on the Midway from November 1957, when it left PSNS after its first major modernization, until May 1959.

In 1958, during the tense Taiwan Strait Crisis when the Chinese continuously bombarded Quemoy and Matsu islands, the Midway patrolled the region. Brignone realized how serious the situation with China was when he was eating in the mess hall one day.

"We were sitting in the chow hall and this (weapons) elevator opens up and there are guys with guns guarding an atomic bomb," Brignone recalled. "They figured we were going to have to do some nuking in China."

Kandul, who wore a jacket Tuesday that bore his service patches, was on the Midway during its final deployment, when it participated in the first Gulf War. In an odd coincidence, the three ships Kandul served on during his eight-year Navy career are all mothballed in Bremerton -- the Midway, Independence and Constellation.

"One day, I was told this was going to be her final cruise, period," he said. "There was a solemn mood around the ship. There was never going to be another Midway."

Brignone and Kandul were grateful that their favorite ship would soon become a museum. In July, the Navy donated the Midway for its use as a museum, and last month gave the pier where Midway will be moored to the city of San Diego.

A private group has been attempting to bring the Midway to San Diego since it was decommissioned there in 1992. The $8 million project has been privately financed and funded. The museum has an operating budget of $3 million to $4 million per year, including $750,000 per year for maintenance.

"The last few major milestones of this 11-year campaign have been reached literally in the last 60 days," museum spokesman Scott McGaugh said. "We are eagerly looking forward to its journey down the coast to San Diego."

The Midway is scheduled to arrive in San Diego in mid-December, just as its mooring pier is completed. The museum will then open in late spring with the flight deck, hangar bay and two levels of the island open for public tours.

As the Midway sailed past the Bremerton boardwalk Tuesday, Kandul, unable to sleep the night before because of the anticipation of its departure, had mixed emotions.

"She's going on to a better place," he said. "She's going to get a lot more recognized than just sitting here with a bunch of mothballed ships.

"Every ship has its day and this is one of them for Midway."

 


 

Monday, September 30, 2003

 

By Troy Prince, Former Aviation Machinist's Mate, USN

VAQ-136 Gauntlets aboard USS Midway (1989 ~ 1991)

MidwaySailor.com Site Owner

 

After eleven years, Midway is finally underway again! Under tow, she departed the Navy Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Washington. She is enroute to Berth 68 in the Port of Oakland, California for restoration and upon completion, final towing to San Diego, California to become the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum.