Friday, March 9, 2012

Midway Then and Now

Today's three snapshots, which came from a family photo album that included no other military or aviation photos, show the USS Midway in port, presumably her home port of Norfolk, Virginia. On board one can make out F4U Corsairs lining her forward flight deck.

Midway was commissioned on September 10, 1945, the first of her own class of carriers. She was the first Navy ship that was too large to operate through the Panama Canal.

In 1966, Midway underwent a massive overhaul which gave her, among other modernizations, an angled flight deck needed for high performance jet operations.

Midway holds the distinction of a number of firsts, including the first sea launch of a captured German V-2 rocket in 1947. Aircraft from the Midway are credited with both the first and the last air-to-air kills of the Vietnam War.

Midway returned to Vietnam as the forces from the North overran the South and participated in the rescue and evacuation efforts of Operation Frequent Wind. Her last combat operations came in Operation Desert Storm.

She was decommissioned on April 11, 1982, and in 2004 she moved to her new and permanent home in San Diego as a floating museum. The photos below show here there during the huge celebrations of the Centennial of Naval Aviation, including the gala CoNA kick-off reception that included the Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations and numerous admirals and captains.

The USS Midway was the "front row seat" for the massive parade of flight during the NAS North Island CoNA air show.

Music, dancing and a welcome address by the Secretary of the Navy started off a night of partying during the gala CONA kick-off reception.

It was black-tie and dress uniform for the assembled DVs, admirals and captains during the dinner on Midway's hangar

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