related to USS Midway's move
to San Diego & transformation
into the USS Midway Museum
May 23, 2004
Flight of Memory
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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:
Information specific to the Newport News sector is available at:
January 23, 2004
USS Midway becomes floating San Diego museum
by JO1 Chris Halsey, Mobile Public Affairs Team Det. 119
"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
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
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
"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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
. 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
"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.
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
for San Diego.
"I'm so excited, I'm tingling," Uke said. "It's like seeing a baby being born."
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
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
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
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
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
January 05, 2004
Midway arrives in San Diego!!!
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
"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
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
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
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
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
January 01, 2004
serve as naval museum
HISTORY: Headed to San Diego, the former flagship of the Pacific Fleet will be
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
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
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.
December 31, 2003
Oakland Update - USS
Midway departs Oakland on her way to San Diego
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
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
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,
"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
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
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
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."
Former sailors Greg Maissen, 42, (left) and Al Dagsaan,
stories about their time on the aircraft carrier Midway.
Chronicle photo by Penni Gladstone
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
But many of them will be waiting when the ship rounds Ballast Point into San
"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
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
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
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
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
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
October 6, 2003
Decommissioned Aircraft Carrier USS Midway Arrives at Port of Oakland
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Port of Oakland
Media/Public Relations Manager
October 01, 2003
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
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
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
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
"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
Troy Prince, Former Aviation Machinist's Mate, USN
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.