Today concludes our tour of the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. If you’ve missed any of the
countless posts about the Midway until today, get some hot cocoa and relax with some catching-up reading.
After I saw all of the incredible flying machines on the flight deck, it was time to check out The Island of the ship. This is the giant metal structure that rises from the deck of the carrier. It is the brain of the ship, where all of the flight deck activity is monitored, as well as where the ship’s captain controls how the ship functions.
I guess you could say that The Island is pretty dern important.
I just love this picture representing the “kills” while at sea. That is a lotta MiG fighters downed by the Midway!
Let’s go inside to explore!
Though the Admiral of the fleet doesn’t stay on just one ship, each carrier has a room just for him. This is the Admiral’s quarters, for when he is running war operations from the Midway.
He has a nice living room, though this reminds me of a place where truant children might wait to get reprimanded by the school principal.
He has the largest bedroom on board. After seeing the shoe-box-sized sleeping quarters of the enlisted men, this seems like a massive castle. You could do like fourteen cartwheels in here.
This is the planning room. It was designed to be the Admiral’s dining room but was more often used to plan war strategies. It must have worked, since we haven’t lost one yet.
You can see the stars on the seats representing Two-Star Admiral seating assignments. The head-honcho Admiral over the entire Naval fleet usually doubled those stars.
And just next to the Admiral’s
dining planning room is The War Room. This is where wars are won and lost, and it was fascinating to see all of the mechanical and human functions that helped us participate in wars since the 1940s.
Because radios were a critical tool used by The War Room, the Radio Room was located just next door. Other than the steam engine boiler room, these two rooms housing all of the radio equipment were the two hottest locations on the ship.
As in temperature hot. They had round-the-clock gigantic air conditioners used just to keep all of these electronic components cool and operational.
Can you imagine being the lucky devil assigned to work in here?
The radios took constant monitoring and altering to keep information flowing outside and within the ship. During times of war, all information was coded to prevent easy interception.
Can you imagine the phone conversations used from this room? What do you think the red phone was used for, other than to call Batman? I love how old this stuff is. It’s been so well-maintained over the decades of service.
So the guy on board who was in charge of all ship’s operations was the Captain. And, accordingly, he had nice living accommodations as well. Here we see his
ugly brass bedroom, complete with an awesome early-nineties photo of the last Captain’s family.
For living rooms, the Captain certainly had the nicest area. This was a congregating area for the ship’s highest officers to meet and plan. How old do you think this couch is?
Like the Admiral, the Captain also had a large board room where meetings could be held. I think the display cases were added for the museum and not during real war use, but it could be pretty cool to have your uniform on display when having friends over for war planning meetings, huh?
But perhaps the
creepiest coolest part of all the Captain’s quarters was the Captain himself. The museum went all out with an animatronic version of the ship’s Captain in his living quarters. We interrupted a letter being written, and he talked for about a minute.
He flailed that pen all over the place, but nothing was damaged in the process.
I was in here alone with the Captain. It started to get scary just as other people came into the room. I was saved!
I had to go back outside to enter The Island from another location for the Bridge Tour. I took the opportunity to take a picture of the different colors used on the flight deck.
Woohoo! I think we are in the right place! This is the only place on board that offers a personal tour. They had to do that because people got into the Bridge and never wanted to leave! Now a docent gives a tightly-scheduled tour in several different rooms of The Island.
The Bridge Tour was located on the north side of the ship. As I was walking to the starting point, a tourist German family was talking behind me. One of the docents heard them, and a full-fledged German conversation broke out. I thought it was really neat and undoubtedly made them feel even more welcome on board.
Here we are in the flight deck operations room, where The Boss controls all flight activity above and below decks. He has a Mini Boss (who is in-training to become the next Boss) who assists in making the flight deck operate smoothly.
This is one of the most stressful jobs on board, obviously, and is a highly-specialized job for a Naval officer.
And this room provides great views all the entire flight deck. So cool!
Welcome to the Bridge! This technology was state-of-the-art during its conception in the 1940s and was used through the entire lifespan of the ship. The guy who used the sliding white board wrote backwards to prevent blocking anyone from seeing the information while he updated it. It could swing on a hinge so everyone in the flight deck control center could see what was happening.
The Bridge is the room where all ship movements are made and altered. It provides a great view all around to allow movement in tight harbors and open sea alike.
Once again, incredible machinery was used to establish proper navigation for the ship.
But they also still used really cool maps to ensure safe handling. I happen to love maps and wanted to “borrow” this for a wall in my home.
I didn’t do it, in case anyone is wondering. But I wanted to.
This was the speed controller, where speed inputs from the Bridge were relayed to the engine room to control how much steam was being used to allow the ship to plow through water. Once an input was placed using this controller, the engine room received word on steam needed and would make the appropriate changes.
I had no idea that ships back in the day were fly-by-wire, but the Midway certainly was! This steering wheel would send an electronic signal to the three gigantic rudders at the rear of the ship. The rudders would then translate that electronic signal into a mechanical movement to alter the ship’s course. So neat!
With my tour of The Island complete, it was time to call it a day. A wonderful, happy day. But we can’t end an airplane tour without seeing one more airplane!
This Douglas A-1 Skyraider is the last airplane to see before concluding the audio tour of the USS Midway. It was designed during World War II and began service in 1945 as a carrier-based long-range torpedo diver. After forty years in service, this propeller-driven airplane certainly proved its worth in a jet world.
The A-1 was known for taking hits during the Korean and Vietnam wars…and kept on going.
With folding wings and missiles in store, the Skyraider concludes the tour of the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier in San Diego Bay. I must admit that this is my favorite carrier tour that I’ve ever experienced. Who cares that it is my first?
If you’re wondering what to do in San Diego, this tour was certainly worth it. I had a blast, and I hope that you enjoyed seeing so much floating history as well.