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Friday, January 07, 2011

Thursday I Spent 3 Hours Aboard the USS Midway in San Diego Harbor

The stern of the USS Midway in downtown San Diego

While Lulu was at the library convention - I was free to roam about town. It didn't take me long to migrate to the water and board the USS Midway. I enjoy a leisurely 3 hours going in every nook and cranny of that ship.

The USS Midway is an gas turbine propelled carrier built in 1945 right near the end of World War II. It never saw action in that war - but made up for that in Korea - Vietnam - and Iraq. Very simply - it has four giant turbine engines - that make steam by heating water with fuel oil. The steam turns the turbines that turn 4 giant propellers.

This aircraft carrier was a floating city sometimes holding 500o people and 150 aircraft. Planes could land and takeoff simultaneously from its quarter mile long flight deck. It served off the coast of Vietnam - helicopters brought refugees aboard when Saigon fell.

It worked for our government for 45 years - finally being placed in mothball storage in 1991. In 2004 - it was moved to San Diego and a non-profit group of naval veteran takes care of her.

Our present carriers use nuclear power now to heat water to steam. They sail with 20 years worth of fuel. They make their own drinking water and can stay out to sea for years - just need food and supplies.

The largest plane on deck was this Hawkeye with its 20 foot spinning radar antenna

This F-8 Phantom was the first plane to fly 1000 mph. It is hooked to a catapult that would launch a plane from 0 - 170 mph in two seconds - even if the plane's engines were off

The Huey helicopter was used as a rescue craft off the coast of Vietnam. One time a Vietnam vet bought an airstream motor home from me because he said it looked like this chopper. He was later involved in a high speed chase by the police.

This A-6 Intruder was most lethal - it could carry several atomic bombs if needed. It also was capable of refueling other planes in the air

This vet was explaining how the planes land by catching a tail hook on a cable or flying into a crash net. He said if was really scary at night

The F-14 Tomcat was made famous in the movie "Top Gun." It carried missles on it wings and you can see its Gatling gun below the "205." This plane could go 1600 mph using its afterburner. "I'm switching over to guns"

Up until 1955 - every Naval aviator started out in this trainer. I used to go to Willow Grove PA with my Dad to see the weekend warriors practice landings in these planes

Harry in the brig on the USS Midway

Sailors had more room in the brig than in their regular quarters. Also cool stainless steel plumbing

Sailor checking into the brig
The captain had the biggest cabin

The USS Midway is right downtown in San Diego since 2004. Admission was $15 for grayheads