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By Pat Lisi, Southern Utah Vets Aid

You all know that the City of San Diego is home to the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet and, as one would expect, there is a ton of naval military history to be learned there.  If you visit San Diego, California, certainly you will want to delve into some of the navy’s storied exploits by visiting the various sites and learning about the past, present and future of our naval force stationed in and around Southern California.

One such stopping point is the USS Midway, now in ‘mothballs’ but afloat in the San Diego Harbor as a museum and a living testimony to the awesome fire power of the United States Navy.  Go on the Midway’s website for hours of operation, cost, etc.  My wife and I have been on the ship twice in as many years and we still have not seen it all.  A fast tour takes about three hours, and we suspect we could have spent an entire day aboard this mammoth vessel.

The Midway pretty much was taken out of active service at the end of the Vietnam War.  One of the most interesting aspects of this “Iowa Class Carrier” are the dozens of aircraft aboard the flight deck that visitors are welcome to learn about through signs posted, through a self-guided recording, or by scheduled seminars conducted by volunteers, many of whom worked on the Midway as it sailed the seas.  Some of the aircraft are open to view and enter, such as the various helicopters secured to the deck.

Inside the ship it is like a catacombs, only made of steel.  Thousands of men and women were assigned to the USS Midway for their active duty tours, and even though it takes a long time to go through and see everything it is still amazing that so many people could fit on board.  But, they did.  The ship was like a floating city all its own when it operated in the various theaters, complete with sleeping quarters, mess halls, dispensary, leisure activities, a brig, and of course the vast array of war birds and ammunition to support the air fleet.

If you’re ever in the San Diego area and are looking for fun and interesting things to do, be sure to put the USS Midway on your list of ‘must sees’.  Give yourself at least 3 hours to do a decent job of going through most of the displays.  There are some other great tours you can do on the Navy and Marine Corps bases in San Diego as well, so make a few days of it and enjoy yourselves.


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