About the U.S.S. Midway

The keel of the U.S.S. Midway was laid in Newport News, VA, on October 27, 1943 and launched and christened March 20, 1945, missing action in World War II by two weeks. She was commissioned on September 10, 1945, and at the time was the most sophisticated carrier in the world: 986' in length, 55,000 tons full displacement, with a beam of 113', a draft of 34'6", a top speed of 33 knots (39 mph), capacity for over 100 planes, and a crew of 3500. She was the first ship too large for the Panama Canal and the largest ship for the next ten years.

She was named for the famous Battle of the Midway in the Pacific Ocean, during World War II. The Midway first was classified CVB (Carrier Vessel Battleship, with 18 5-inch guns); later she became CVA (Carrier Vessel Attack); and she was decommissioned as CV, Carrier Vessel. (After two major modifications, including addition of the slant deck, her specifications took a major change.  Total length l00l', 70,000 tons full displacement, beam width of 258', top speed of 30 knots (35 mph), capacity of  68 to 80 planes depending on type and a crew of 4500.)

From the Navy Historical Center: Between June 3 and 6, 1942, the U.S. Pacific Fleet turned back a Japanese attempt to capture Midway, the westernmost atoll in the Hawaiian chain, in a decisive action which cost the enemy four large aircraft carriers and forced Japan to assume a defensive posture. In Adm. Samuel E. Morison’s words, “Midway was a victory not only of courage, determination and excellent bombing technique, but of intelligence, bravely and wisely applied.” The American Navy’s triumph in the Battle of Midway foreshadowed Japan’s final surrender.

CV41 is not the first naval ship to be named Midway; the first was a general fleet auxiliary ship in commission during World War II; it was named for the atoll "Midway" in the Pacific. The second Midway was a jeep carrier (CVE-63), re-named St. Lo.

CV41 was the longest-serving carrier in history, 47 years right up until her decommissioning on April 11, 1992, after serving again in combat in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Then, in a turn of the tide for this grand ship, it was the smallest and oldest carrier in the gulf fleet, although her sailors are proud to point out she outperformed all other carriers (she never quit running, either).

On June 7, 2004, she was proudly opened again but this time as the finest carrier museum in the country, in San Diego.

For more on the history and current life of this fine ship, see Links below.

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