USS Midway – From combat aircraft carrier to a San Diego museum attraction


USS Midway – From combat aircraft carrier to a San Diego museum attraction   

After a long and active life the USS Midway is still not sold for scrap but active as an impressive museum. The museum is located in downtown San Diego and tells the story of the both the ship itself and the history of the US Navy in general. This report will give an overview of the history of the USS Midway and will give a preview of the museum.


The USS Midway was ordered on August 7, 1942 as the first in an order of five aircraft carriers; later two of the five were cancelled. The Midway had a revolutionary hull design to improve her maneuverability. Besides that the flight deck was armored and the anti-aircraft defense was improved. The ship was completed in 1945 and commissioned on September 10, just a few weeks after the end of World War II. The Midway was named after the Battle of Midway which was one of the fiercest WWII battles in the Pacific. When the Midway entered service it was the largest battleship in the world.

First deployments

The Midway went on her first deployment in 1947 when she joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. In the following years the Midway made several cruises and deployments around the world. In 1955 the Midway entered the docks for a major overhaul. During the overhaul the Midway received a strengthened and angled flight deck to make it suitable for newer and heavier airplanes. After the overhaul the Midway went back on deployment to the Pacific. The Midway got involved in her first combat deployment when she went to Vietnam in 1965. After that the Midway entered another four years of overhaul which were completed in 1970.

More combat deployments

In 1971 the USS Midway went to Vietnam again. In 1973 the Midway became the first carrier which was deployed to Yokosuka in Japan. This was the first time a whole US Navy carrier group was permanently stationed in a Japanese port. After that the Midway went back to Vietnam several times. The Midway spend most of the eighties in the Pacific. In 1990 the USS Midway went on her last combat deployment during the Gulf War to liberate Kuwait. This was the final deployment of the Midway. After that she went back to San Diego where she was decommissioned in 1992 and stored.


After 11 years in storage the decision was made to turn the USS Midway into a museum. After repair works in 2003 the Midway was towed to North Island Naval Facility in San Diego. In 2004 the Midway was towed to the Naval Pier and opened as a museum. The museum has a large collection of naval aircraft and shows how the crew of the Midway worked and lived aboard. The size of the Midway and the enormous logistic challenges of work and live aboard makes the museum definitely worth a visit.

The whole ship looks like it is still in operational use.

If you would like to visit the USS Midway too, please take a look at for more information. The Museum is open daily and is located in downtown San Diego.