USS Midway Museum Floor Plan

1. Hangar Deck

The hangar deck stored the carrier’s aircraft, with elevators raising planes up to the flight deck as needed. Now the carrier’s entry level, it has audio-tour headsets, aircraft displays, a gift shop, café, and restrooms. Don’t miss the 24-ft (7-m) Plexiglas model of the Midway used in World War II to construct the carrier.


Fighter plane on the hangar deck

2. Virtual Reality Flight Simulations

For an additional price, which also includes a briefing, a flight suit, and 30 minutes of flight, you can experience flying a plane by taking the controls of a flight simulator. Also on hand are several standard flight stations, where, for another ticket, you can practice taking off from a carrier.

3. Post Office

The Midway’s crew often had to wait several weeks at a time for a Carrier Onboard Delivery flight to receive letters from home. The post office was also in charge of the disbursement of money orders.

4. Aircraft

More than two dozen planes and helicopters are on display on the flight and hangar decks. Among the displays are the F-14A Tomcat, which flies at speeds exceeding Mach 2, two F-4 Phantoms, and an A-6E Intruder. The Midway once held up to 80 aircraft.

5. Galley

The Midway could store up to 1.5-million lbs (680,388 kg) of dry provisions and a quarter-million lbs (113,398 kg) of meat and vegetables to serve the crew 13,000 meals daily.

6. Flight Deck

The area of the Midway’s flight deck is roughly 4 acres (1.6 ha) in size. Additional aircraft are displayed here, and the Island is entered from here. The flight deck was where dramatic landings and take-offs took place – take-offs were from the bow, and the angled deck was used for landings.


Flight deck of the USS Midway

7. Berths

Sleeping berths for 400 of the 4,500 crew members are displayed on the hangar deck. Beds were too short to be comfortable for anyone over 6 ft (1.8 m), and the accompanying metal lockers could hold barely more than a uniform. Enlisted men were often just out of high school.

8. Arresting Wire and Catapults

Notice the arresting wire on the flight deck. This enabled a pilot to land a 20-ton jet cruising at 150 miles (241 km) an hour on an area the size of a tennis court. A hook attached to the tail of a plane grabbed the wire during landing. Two steam catapults helped propel the plane for take-off.

9. Island

Ladders take you up to the navigation room and bridge, sometimes called the Superstructure, from where the ship’s movements were commanded. The flight control deck oversaw aircraft operations.


The Island, or Superstructure

10. Metal Shop

On the mess deck, the metal shop produced metal structures and replicated metal parts for the ship or its aircraft. Self-sufficiency and versatility were the keywords for tours of duty when the ship would be away for months at a time.


Commissioned on September 10, 1945, the Midway was named after the Battle of Midway, which was the turning point for the Allies in the War of the Pacific. She remained the largest ship in the world for ten years, and was the first ship too large to transit the Panama Canal. After the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, she saw further action during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and finished her years of service by evacuating military personnel threatened by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. The Midway was decommissioned in 1992.


Vietnam War anniversary gathering, USS Midway


1. Overall length: 1,001 ft, 6 inches (305 m)

2. Width: 258 ft (78.6 m)

3. Height: 222 ft, 3 inches (67.7 m)

4. Full displacement: 70,000 tons (63,502,932 kg)

5. Number of propellers: 4

6. Weight of each propeller: 22 tons (19,958 kg)

7. Boilers: 12

8. Miles of piping: 200 (322 km)

9. Miles of copper conductor: 3,000 (4,828 km)

10. Ship fuel capacity: 2.23 million gallons (8.4 million literws)

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