2011-03-13 USS Midway, and an Unconditional Surrender

This panorama shows the USS Midway and the memorial statue, "Unconditional Surrender"

USS Midway first: it was commissioned in 1945 as the largest ship to be built for over a decade, and the first ship too large for the Panama Canal. Over the years it was repeatedly involved in action, in Vietnam and Saigon as well as Desert Storm. Repeatedly rebuilt, it eventually was decommissioned in San Diego in 1991.

In 2004 it was reopened as a museum, and that was where visited today.

As a place to visit, it is highly impressive. The scale of operations of an aircraft carrier is hard for civilians to understand. But a floating warship of over 4,500 people needs a remarkable infrastructure of support services. And once you’re done marvelling at the range of things that is required to make the ship run smoothly, you can then walk round a variety of aircraft that have flown from this famous ship.

One of the most interesting parts is seeing the ex-servicemen who are volunteers at the museum talking with pride about their ship. Not only that, but many of the visitors were clear ex-servicemen too, and you could see the pride they had in their work.

A great day out!

Unconditional Surrender: This is a twenty-five foot tall statue to commemorate the sailors who died in WWII. It is based on Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse (see www.callihan.com/art/photography/alfred-eisenstaedt.html).

And no, I don’t know. There were lots of people around and so I didn’t choose to look. It would be impolite!