John and Diana are traveling around the country with a 37-foot RV and an 18-year-old cat. This is their story.
Monday, December 5, 2011
The size of this aircraft carrier is amazing. The start of our tour here started in the hanger below this deck. Three airplanes on that level can easily be moved on elevators to the top in a matter of minutes. This ship is one of the major tourist attractions in San Diego. An employee commented to John that attendance was a bit down the day we were there, only about 1500 people came in compared to the usual 2,000. Touring this ship was like looking at a small city. It can take care of the needs of 4500 crew members- feeding them, providing medical and dental care, and laundry, to mention a few of the services offered in this ship. Below is a picture of the chapel. The current chapel was constructed just before the Vietnam War.
The ship was active from 1945-1992. It served our country during three wars; WW11, the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. In 1975 it lead the evacuation of 3,073 refugees out of Saigon. It was the flagship of Persian Gulf air operations. Below is a picture of one a couple rooms where air strikes were planned and executed in the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. It is next to the radio room in the cpatain's bridge of the ship.
At several locations in the ship docents are available to explain its certain features. They are navy veterans, the one pictured below did not serve on the Midway but on another ship, a destroyer. He did a very good job of explaining the features of the four engine rooms. John and several other men peppered him with questions.
It took John and I about 4 hours to complete the tour, and I am sure we did not see everything.. The ship has 18 decks, many stairs up and down those decks, and countless tunnels to pass through. In the hospital and clinic area we learned that the most common type of injury needing medical attention were head injuries. That came as no surprise to us! We also learned that the average age of a crew member was 19 years. While touring the ship I could not help but think of the many women and men who serve, and still are serving, on this ship and others similar to it.