28 December 2014

USS Midway

San Diego

Sung has been wanting to actually tour the aircraft carrier turned museum down in San Diego and I said sure, so off we go. Of course we start off just attempting to take in the size of the boat. There is something downright comical about the snack bar and tables at the stern and manikin service men eternally hang about on deck. It gets serious quickly going forward.

USS Midway aircraft carrier
The length of the USS Midway with snack bar at the back.

Down on the ground, there are a few statues commemorating events from the more peaceful moments of war. Above our heads, an iconic Life photo is rendered in excessive size. I little further along, the voice of Bob Hope plays as bronze service men sit and stand listening to a bronze man with a ski slope nose.

kissing giants
One to the end of war.

Bob Hope entertains the troops in bronze
One to entertaining the troops. With a nose like that, it has to be Bob Hope. The recording sounds like his radio show rather than USO entertainment to me.

We head back around to the other side to go in. The side is painted with the commendations of its campaigns. We climb up to go in and are delivered into the hanger bay where we may immediately start examining planes with wings that fold away for storage.

painted commendations on the grey side
Aircraft carriers wear their commendations, too.

wheels tucked into the side
This one is just stubby instead of having wings that fold, but it has some cute landing gear.

We can go down into the bowels of the ship to see the mechanisms of keeping it running. First we see the quarters that keep the men running. They sure make sure you remember your place in this thing.

beds stacked three high
Third class type accommodations for the lowest. Around the corner are the beds stuck next to the telephone for the lowest of the low. The beds pop up for more storage space.

Then there are the mechanics of making the ship run, or not. Near the bow, giant chains and giant wrenches are just a little bit of what drops and retrieves the anchor. Line (rope) is a common theme about the place and so there is a station to teach knot tying in one corner. It is a museum, after all.

chain links bigger than a head
Looking down the length of the chain. Hooks along the length catch it in three places to help control it.

beds stacked two high
Second class sleeping has book cases in other parts too.

go ugly early?
One of a few briefing rooms. These seem to come in classes too.

We find our way back up to the hanger deck, then duck back down again to find the brig and the engines. The brig is carefully set up for no privacy whatsoever with mirrors to help keep everything visible. Well, it is supposed to be a miserable place. The engines are steam and everything is massive and mysterious and there are quite a lot of buttons and things. There are quotes displayed around the place to lend some color, and by the engines they are about how loud it is. Today we only hear the chatter between tourist and volunteer veterans about how very large these are compared to what they served on.

painted with silhouettes
An external fuel tank on display in the hanger.

engine room
A brief part of the engines. Buttons may have caught my attention over clicking.

There are machine shops that seem almost entirely outfitted with lathes. There is a tailor noting that this is the only person whose services came at a price, although the money went into a fund for other things. There are a number of dinning areas which also make sure the men dinning in them know their place. Eventually we are back to the hanger again.

wings that fold up
Now here are some folding wings going up toward the ceiling. There seems to be a couple different methods for locking them down for flight.

swept back wings
Some wings that sweep backwards in order to take up less space.

There is one more section to go down and we finally see the accommodations of the upper crust of this ship. They have their own room with a desk and a bed that folds up into a couch. There is the small chapel, which served for all services. The back wall remembers, sometimes quite badly as it says "unknown name" and "unknown date" often, those who died while serving here. There is a post office and more dinning and a cafeteria and doctor and dentist areas and even surgery.

fold up bed folded down
The first class accommodations.

hot tub and beds
Some of the medical areas.

Then we are up again and this time go all the way past a displayed life boat capsule to the runway level at the top. There are even more planes and helicopters up here. Some we can poke around the inside of. Helicopter tails seem to often be a little too long and they fold away just like the airplane wings.

lifeboat capsule
What can be found inside a lifeboat capsule.

radar station silhouettes
This one has radar station silhouettes painting on it.

helicopter with swept back blades
The helicopter looks irritated with its blades folded back.

helicopter with the tail folded back
If a bit too long, just practice origami.

inside of a foldable wing
A little glimpse of what it takes to make a wing foldable.

San Diego
Looking out over San Diego.

ready to take off
All connected up to the steam powered catapult and ready to take off.

command tower
Where it all gets coordinated.

©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 12 January 2015

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