Military Museum: USS Midway (San Diego, California)
USS Midway (CVB-41) Ready for Christening
Live the Adventure, Honor the Legend
Named for the Battle of Midway, the USS Midway (CVB-41) was the first aircraft carrier to be commissioned after the end of World War II.
It holds the distinction of being the longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century. (It was commissioned on September 10, 1945 and decommissioned on April 11, 1992).
The carrier was opened to the public as a museum on June 7, 2004 at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, California. There are more than 60 exhibits throughout the ship, and more than 25 restored aircraft on the flight deck.
Come along with me on a tour of my favorite museum in San Diego, the USS Midway Museum.
San Diego, California
Mrs. Bradford D. Ripley, II and Lieutenant George Gay, USNR
The USS Midway (CVB-41)’s sponsor, Mrs. Bradford D. Ripley, II, of Dayton, Ohio poses with the christening bottle at the Midway’s launching ceremonies at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, in Newport News, Virginia on March 20, 1945. Mrs. Ripley is accompanied by Lieutenant George Gay, USNR, the only survivor of the Battle of Midway attack by Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) from USS Hornet (CV-8). The author had the honor of meeting Lieutenant Gay at an air show in California a number of years ago.
USS Midway (CV-41) Seal
47 Years of Service
If you're going to spending three, four, or even more hours onboard the USS Midway, knowing something about the carrier's history will add to your visit. The Midway's 47 years of service is highlighted below.
Commissioned on September 10, 1045 in Newport News, Virginia
First ship that was too large to travel through the Panama Canal
USS Midway (CV-41) Off the Firth of Clyde in Scotland
USS Midway (CV-41) steaming off the Firth of Clyde in Scotland (UK) prior to "Operation Mainbrace" exercises in September 1952. Douglas AD-4 Skyraider, Vought F4U-4 Corsair, and Grumman F9F-2 Panther aircraft from Carrier Air Group 6 (CVG-6) can be seen on her flight deck.
USS Midway Museum
910 N. Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101
- $18 adults
- $15 seniors (62+) and students (with valid ID)
- $10 retired military (with valid ID)
- $10 youth (ages 6-17)
- Children 5 years old or younger
- Active-duty military personnel (including Reservists) with valid ID (daytime admission only)
Operation Frostbite: first carrier to operate extensively in the sub-Arctic
Operation Sandy: the only successful launch of a German V-2 rocket from a ship — the dawn of naval missile warfare
First successful landing using “hands off” auto pilot technology
Midway pilots shoot down first MiG of the Vietnam War
Midway pilots shoot down the last MiG of the Vietnam War
Midway leads the evacuation of Saigon
Rescues 3,073 Vietnamese refugees in two days
There are more than 300 spaces alongside USS Midway on Navy Pier (owned and operated by the Port of San Diego) for vehicles only.
Parking rates are:
- $5 up to 1 hour
- $7 for up to 4 hours
- $10 for up to 10 hours
- $12 for up to 12 hours
First carrier on station following the invasion of Kuwait
Flagship of the Persian Gulf air operations in Operation Desert Storm
Rescues 1,800 Americans fleeing the eruption of Mount Pinatubo on the island of Luzon in the Philippines
Decommissioned in San Diego, California on April 11, 1992
Opened as the USS Midway Museum
Decommissioned USS Midway Preparing to Moor in San Diego
Have you visited the USS Midway Museum?See results without voting
Have you served in the US Navy?See results without voting
Included in the admission price is a self-guided audio walking tour.You’ll be walking a few miles while onboard the Midway — and climbing several flights of stairs and even some ladders — so be sure you wear very comfortable shoes. Some of the passageways, compartments, stairways, and ladders are narrow — you won’t want to be carrying a large purse, tote bag or backpack. And since you'll be walking for hours, you probably won't want to be carrying heavy camera equipment. A small digital camera will be fine.
If you have claustrophobia, there are some areas of the ship you won’t want to explore. The Engine Room is one of those. Walking down a narrow flight of stairs and going into a confined space with a lot of other tourists milling about didn’t appeal to my boyfriend and me when we visited the Midway. Also, we didn't like the sickly look on some visitors' faces after they came back up the stairs.
On parts of the video tour, you’re walking single file on a one-way route. There is plenty to see, but you’re walking and walking and walking some more, and you get the feeling you’re never going to leave that part of the ship...or see daylight again.
Have you served in the US military other than in the Navy?See results without voting
Have you served in the military of a country other than the United States?See results without voting
The Tour's Three Parts
Listed below are what you'll see during each of the tour's three parts.
Man and Machine
- SNJ Texan
- Berthing Spaces
- Junior Officers Quarters
- Aircraft Engines
- Liquid Oxygen Plant
- Engine Room
- Life in Engineering
- Hangar Deck
- SBD Dauntless
- TBM Avenger
USS Midway Medical Room
City at Sea
- Chow Line
- Supply Department
- Chaplain’s Quarters
- Executive Officer
- Dirty Shirt Wardroom
- Command Master Chief
- Bomb Elevator
- CPO Mess
- Sick Bay
- Mess Deck
- Post Office
- Machine and Metal Shops
On the Roof
- A-3 Skywarrior
- F-14 Tomcat
- F/A-18 Hornet
- F-4 Phantom
- F9F Phantom Landing
- T-2 Buckeye
- C-1 Trader
- Ready Rooms
- S-3 Viking
- H-34 Seabat
- SH-2 Seasprite
- Fresnel Lens
- SH-3 Seaking
- Huey Gunship
- H-46 Sea Knight
- A-7 0n Catapult
- San Diego Naval History Exhibit
- F-8 Crusader
- E-2 Hawkeye
- Flight Deck Control
- Admiral’s Quarters
- Radio Rooms
- Captain’s Cabin
- Island Superstructure
- A-6 Intruder
- A-1 Skyraider
- F9F-8P Cougar
- RA-5 Vigilante
- A-4 Skyhawk
Docents — Navy veterans — stationed throughout the ship will share with you their personal accounts of life aboard the Midway and are happy to answer your questions. Please take the time to speak with the docents, hear their anecdotes, and thank them for their service. We really enjoyed speaking with the docents. My boyfriend and I could see how happy these gentlemen were to discuss their Navy days with us.
More by this Author
A country’s capital city is, in most cases, the official seat of government, as defined by law or the country’s constitution. Learn what the capital cities are of the 50 countries in Europe.
There are more than 200 museums in London, England, many of which are history museums. The first national museum in the world — the British Museum — founded by an Act of Parliament on June 7, 1753.
The MRI procedure can be very scary and upsetting for an anxious or claustrophobic person. This article offers information and coping methods to help you cope with your anxiety.