“Midway Magic” is more than a slogan.
The ship operated longer, survived more modernization projects and was forward deployed longer than any other aircraft carrier. It was the crew of the Midway that provided the sorcery. But, like the magician’s hat from which the rabbit appears, the Midway was the vessel in which the magic had been created.
Long after the quiet descended on Midway’s empty compartments, her catapults forever silent, her main engines cold and motionless, her halyards clear, we will remember her and say “There truly was Magic here.”
I will be going to San Diego to see the USS Midway museum in early February 2015. Keep an eye out for pictures and videos of my visit!
AND HERE THEY ARE!
I’ll add more soon. This first group has gone through the editor, but started off as pictures I took on my visit. Enjoy!
USS Midway, first of a three-ship class of 45,000-ton large aircraft carriers, was built at Newport News, Virginia, and commissioned in September 1945. Following shakedown, she began eight years’ service with the Atlantic Fleet. In March 1946, Midway made a cruise to Arctic waters for experimental cold weather operations. The following year, her flight deck was the site of a at-sea test launching of an ex-German V-2 ballistic missile. Also in 1947, the carrier undertook the first of several Sixth Fleet tours in the Mediterranean sea. She also periodically deployed to North Atlantic waters, including participation in the NATO Operation “Mainbrace” in 1952. In October of that year, she was reclassified an attack aircraft carrier, changing her hull number from CVB-41 to CVA-41
Late in 1954, Midway left the Atlantic, steaming past the Cape of Good Hope to join the Seventh Fleet in the Far East. In September 1955, following this cruise, she entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for the first of her two major modernizations. Recommissioned two years later, as the work neared completion, Midway now had an angled flight deck, enclosed bow, three steam catapults and other features that enabled her to better operate high-performance aircraft. She conducted a Seventh Fleet deployment in 1958 and was a regular visitor to Asiatic waters during the next eight years. Her 1965 Far Eastern tour included active participation in the then-expanding Vietnam War. From February 1966 until mid-1970, Midway was again in shipyard hands, receiving an extensive modernization that included installation of a greatly enlarged flight deck.
Upon her return to commissioned service, Midway again took part in Southeast Asian conflict combat operations. In October 1973, she changed her home port to Yokosuka, Japan, allowing the Navy to maintain a greater carrier presence in the Far East than would have been possible from a U.S. base. During this time, she was active in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf areas. The ship was redesignated CV-41 in June 1975 and received a major refit in 1986. In 1990-91, Midway participated in Operations “Desert Shield” and “Desert Storm”, which contained and then reversed Iraqi aggression against Kuwait. After additional activity in the Philippines area and elsewhere in the Seventh Fleet area, the ship returned to the United States for the first time in some eighteen years. USS Midway was decommissioned in April 1992 and placed in the Reserve Fleet. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in March 1997, during 2003-2004 she was converted to a museum and is now a prominent attraction at San Diego, California.
Over the years, The Midway has undergone two major “facelifts.” Here are the images of her different looks throughout her service.
USS Midway remained with the 7th Fleet until June 28, 1955 when she sailed for overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Here, she was out of commission until September 30, 1957, while she was modernized and such new innovations as an enclosed bow and an angled flight deck were installed.
November 23, 1965 she entered San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard February 11, 1966 for extensive modernization, for which she was placed in Reserve, in commission special, February 15, 1966. She was recommissioned January 31, 1970 following the four-year conversion-modernization at the shipyard.