San Diego has enjoyed a long-lasting relationship with the United States Armed Forces. The city has deepwater port suitable for various naval operations. It has the only submarine and ship building yard on the West Coast. The city is home to some of the largest defense contractors in the country and its economy is fueled by military and defense-related businesses and contracts. The deepwater port is used in many naval activities and the city hosts the largest naval fleet in the world. I am not a soldier but I am a huge military, more specifically, Navy buff. That is why I decided to visit San Diego last year and check out the famed Navy SEALs and the many Navy ships docked in the port. And I was in for quite a treat. Although I didn’t manage to enter the Navy SEALs training facility, I saw some of them in the city. But I did manage to get onto a real but decommissioned aircraft carrier. This happened when I visited the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, CA.
A Short History
The USS Midway Museum is not your ordinary museum. This museum is in fact a decommissioned aircraft carrier called the USS Midway. The USS Midway was retired in 1991 and it opened as a museum at Navy Pier in 2004. This means that the USS Midway Museum is on the sea. Everything is on this aircraft carrier. You have to get tickets to get in and the line can be quite long. That is why its advisable to buy tickets on the museum’s website. Online ticket prices reflect a $2 discount per ticket over the regular admission prices.
Battle Of Midway Theater
My tour of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego began in the Battle of Midway Theater. We were shown a short film in the theater regarding the history of the aircraft carrier. There are some fantastic scenes showing planes landing and taking off from the carrier. You also get to know when the ship was commissioned and how it fared in its naval operations.
Flight Deck Tour
After watching the introductory film in the Battle of Midway Theater, we started our self-guided audio tours. This means that you can choose to go wherever you want on the ship. There are docents who explain everything you want to know on the ship. These are mostly retired soldiers who served on the USS Midway. The audio tour is split into three sections. I started my tour at the flight deck. Here we found retired Midway pilots explaining their experiences aboard the vessel. I toured and inspected naval equipment in the flight deck. I also visited the pilot ready rooms and the Admiral’s & Captain’s Country.
Hangar Deck Tour
Next we toured the hangar deck. This is where all the military aircraft are kept. The USS Midway has over 25 military planes on display on its deck. Retired naval soldiers explained to us how they flew planes from this deck. We also learnt what it felt like to drop anchor at sea. You can also lie on an enlisted soldier’s bunk or simulate flight.
Below Deck Tour
Our tour of the USS Midway Museum ended below deck. This is where you will find the sick bay, galley, laundry and engine room. Retired Midway soldiers explained to us the daily routine of a naval soldier aboard an aircraft carrier. Learn more about tourist destinations in San Diego.