USS Midway: Aircraft Carrier Now a Museum in San Diego, CA

There's so much to do for a tourist in San Diego, California, USA. One of the more popular places to visit is the USS Midway Museum. It features a World War II-era legendary aircraft carrier.

Visitors to the floating museum can avail of a self-guided audio tour to explore the humongous American military vessel. The ship measures 1,001 feet or 305 meters long and 258 feet or 79 meters wide. Featured on the tour are the flight deck, the bridge, admiral's and captain's quarters, ready rooms, hangar deck, forecastle, air wing, laundry, mess halls, sick bay, post office among others.

USS Midway aircraft carrier
USS Midway

On The Roof of USS Midway

The roof of the USS Midway displays a number of naval aircraft.  A bridge tour and exhibits of the Admiral's and captain's quarters and the ready rooms are available on the roof deck. Activities that can be done at the roof deck include climbing aboard aircraft, walking through helicopters, learning Morse code, deciphering message flags, and listening to real pilot conversations.

Flight Deck 

There are a total of twenty four (24) naval aircraft on display at the 4.02-acre flight deck of the USS Midway. The flight deck is about the size of three (3) football fields. Read along for the list of aircraft on display at the flight deck of USS Midway:
  1. EKA-3 Skywarrior
  2. F-14 Tomcat
  3. F/A-18 Hornet
  4. F-4 Phantom II
  5. T-2 Buckeye
  6. C-1 Trainer
  7. S-3 Viking
  8. A-7 Corsair
  9. F-8 Crusader
  10. EA-6B Prowler
  11. E-2 Hawkeye
  12. A-6 Intruder
  13. A-1 Skyraider
  14. F9F-8P Cougar
  15. RA-5 Vigilante
  16. F9F-Panther
  17. HUP Retriever Helicopter
  18. Sikorsky HO3S Helicopter
  19. SH-34 Seabat Helicopter
  20. SH-2 Sea Sprite Helicopter
  21. SH-3 Sea King Helicopter
  22. HH-46 Sea Knight Helicopter
  23. Huey Gunship Helicopter
  24. SH-60 Seahawk Helicopter

Bridge, Admiral's and Captain's Quarters

Volunteer docents of the USS Midway Museum accommodate guided tours on the bridge of the USS Midway. Longer lines for the guided tour of the USS Midway bridge are expected on weekends and holidays. The tour for this part of the ship may close as early as 3:30 p.m.

The bridge of the USS Midway

Hangar Deck, Forecastle, and Air Wing of USS Midway 

The hangar deck is where visitors enter the museum. A few other aircraft are on display at the hangar deck of USS Midway. Aside from the aircraft on display at the hangar deck, it is also where visitors can obtain tourist information, claim headsets and maps for the audio tours, shop for souvenirs, take a restroom break, withdraw some cash from an ATM, and dine at the restaurant. Fun activities that can be done at the hangar deck are learning to tie different kinds of knots, climbing in bunks, climbing in cockpits, trying on flight simulators, and do a walk through on the jail or brig.

Aircraft on Display at the Hangar Deck

Six (6) naval aircrafts are on display at the hangar deck of the USS Midway. These are the SBD Dauntless, F4F Wildcat, F4U Corsair, TBM Avenger, SNJ Trainer, and the A-4 Skyhawk.

F4U corsair aircraft at USS Midway
F4U Corsair
SNJ Trainer at USS Midway
SNJ Trainer

A4 Skyhawk at USS Midway
A4 Skyhawk

Ship Features and Exhibits on the Hangar Deck

Exhibits and features of the USS Midway on display at the hangar deck, forecastle, and air wing are the enlisted sailors' bunks, the forecastle, the junior officers' quarters, ready rooms, liquid oxygen plant, Cactus collision exhibit, brig, main control, number 3 engine room, and the USS Midway theater. 

City at Sea: Life of the Crew on the USS Midway

Three more decks below the hangar deck feature living amenities for the crew of 4,500. These include the chow line, supply department, chaplain, executive officer's quarters, wardroom, dirty shirt wardroom, laundry, command master chief, galley, enlisted uniform display, bomb elevator, chief petty officers' mess, mess deck and ordnance storage, sick bay, post office, and machine and metal shops. In this section of the USS Midway, visitors can watch flight deck videos, visit the ship's chapel, spot "bugs" under the sick bay microscope, and find the galley recipe for beef stew.

enlisted men's bunks at the USS Midway
Enlisted men's bunks

Quick History Lesson About the USS Midway

  • It was commissioned as the largest warship in the world in 1945. It held that reputation for a decade. It was the first ship that was too large to pass by the Panama Canal.
  • It became the first carrier to operate extensively in the sub-Arctic during Operation Frostbite in 1946.
  • A German V-2 Rocket was successfully launched from the USS Midway during Operation Sandy in 1947. This was the first and only successful launch of a V-2 rocket from a moving ship.
  • The first successful landing using hands off auto pilot technology happened on the USS Midway in 1963.
  • Pilots from the USS Midway shoots down the first MiG of the Vietnam War in 1965. Midway pilots also shot down the last MiG of the Vietnam War in 1973.
  • The USS Midway was home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan in 1973. It was the first aircraft carrier to be home-ported in a foreign country.
  • USS Midway rescues 3,073 in the two-day evacuation of Saigon in 1975.
  • The USS Midway was the flagship of Persian Gulf air operations during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
  • The aircraft carrier rescued 1,800 Americans fleeing the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption in the Philippines in 1991. This was done as part of Operation Fiery Vigil, a mission to evacuate 20,000 servicemen and their families from the Philippine island of Luzon. Those evacuated were ferried to the central Philippine island of Cebu in the Central Visayas region. Operation Fiery Vigil was the last deployment of USS Midway.
  • The USS Midway was decommissioned at San Diego, California, USA in 1992.
  • The USS Midway Museum opened in 2004. It surpassed 5 million visitors in 2010. It became the first US Navy ship museum to host at least 1 million visitors annually in 2012.

Quick Facts About the USS Midway

  • The USS Midway cost 90 million USD to build in 1945.
  • The total weight of the USS Midway is 69,000 tons.
  • The USS Midway has an enormous power of 212,000 horsepower. It can reach a speed of thirty three (33) knots. 
  • The USS Midway has a total of 2,000 feet or 610 meters of anchor chain.
  • There are 2,000 compartments in the USS Midway. There are also 2000 motors, 1500 telephones, 18 decks, and 12 boilers.
  • The longest deployment of USS Midway was just a few days short of one (1) year. 327 days to be exact.
  • The USS Midway was the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century.
  • 20-ton anchors are used on the USS Midway. The ship also uses 18-foot (5.5 meters) propellers.
  • The USS Midway has a fuel capacity of 3.4 million gallons or 12.9 million liters. It used 100,000 gallons or 378,500 liters daily. 260 gallons or 984 liters are used per mile.
  • USS Midway has a crew of 4,500. 600 men are assigned in engineering. 60 are cooks. 200 are pilots. 40 are corpsmen. 5 are physicians. and 3 are dentists.
  • In it's forty seven (47) years of service, the USS Midway had forty (40) skippers.
  • Ten (10) tons of food is served daily at the USS Midway. This includes 13,500 meals. 3,000 potatoes are served daily. 1,000 loaves of bread are consumed everyday. 500 pies are eaten each day. And 4,500 pounds or 2,041 kilograms of beef are served to the crew day in and day out.

One may visit the USS Midway Museum website for more information about the USS Midway Museum.
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About Thadz

Brothers Janus and Thadz document their travels around the United States and occasionally around the world.


  1. Wow. All those helicopters makes it look like you're in some Hollywood movie!

    xo Anne of "Anne's Scribbles and Doodles"

  2. Wow! I always wanted to ride on a helicopter, I even hope that my prince charming would be riding one and proposed to me hahaha but of course it's just my imagination..

    Rica |

  3. Oooooh. That's a compressed and information-filled post about the USS Midway! So amazed by the size and scope of the ship though. :D

    - Jullian |

    1. It's really huge, I spent almost the whole day touring this ship.

  4. Wow, that is one humongous ship! Looking at it makes me think of the Last ship series that comes to life. Haha!


  5. Always been a casual fan of military vehicles from having a lot of toys based around them when I was little. Would definitely be up for a visit here if given the chance. Cool place!


    1. Like you, I have always been fascinated with military hardware.

  6. Sir Thadz! How are you?!!! I am super envious with you checking out all these places in the US. Maybe you can visit their national parks on our behalf, too? Hahaha! See you soon in the US, we hope. :)

    1. I have a few posts coming up about some hike we went to and a beach. Look out for it soon!

  7. Not really into this thing but man, if I were there I would take lots of OOTD photos! Haha. Nindota bitawwwwwwwwww

    x, Kat of Nested Thoughts