Between 3 and 6 June 1942, the U.S. Pacific Fleet turned back a Japanese attempt to capture Midway, the westernmost atoll in the Hawaiian chain, in a decisive action which cost the enemy four large aircraft carriers and forced Japan to assume a defensive posture. In Adm. Samuel E. Morison’s words, “Midway was a victory not only of courage, determination and excellent bombing technique, but of intelligence, bravely and wisely applied.” The American Navy’s triumph in the Battle of Midway foreshadowed Japan’s final surrender. The first Midway was named for the atoll, the second and third for the battle.
(CVB‑41: dp. 64,000; l. 972'; b. 238'; dr. 35'6"; s. 30 k.; cpl. 4,675; a. 3 5"; cl. Midway)
The third Midway (CVB‑41) was laid down 27 October 1943 by Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 20 March 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Bradford William Ripley, Jr.; and commissioned 10 September 1945, Capt. Joseph F. Bolger in command.
After shakedown in the Caribbean, Midway joined in the Atlantic Fleet training schedule, with Norfolk her homeport. From 20 February 1946 she was flagship for CarDiv 1. In March she tested equipment and techniques for cold weather operations in the North Atlantic. East coast and Caribbean training was highlighted by operation “Sandy,” in which in September 1947 she test‑fired a captured German V‑2 rocket from her flight deck, first such launching from a moving platform.
On 29 October 1947 Midway sailed for the first of her annual deployments with the 6th Fleet, mighty peacekeeping force in the Mediterranean. A powerful extension of sea/air power, Midway trained between deployments and received alterations necessary to accommodate heavier aircraft as they were developed. In 1952 she participated in North Sea maneuvers with NATO forces, and on 1 October was redesignated CVA‑41.
Midway cleared Norfolk 27 December 1954 for a world cruise, sailing via the Cape of Good Hope for Taiwan, where she joined the 7th Fleet for operations in the western Pacific until 28 June 1955 when she sailed for overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Here she was out of commission until 30 September 1957 while she was modernized and such new innovations as an enclosed bow and an angled flight deck were installed.
Homeported at Alameda, Midway began annual deployments with the 7th Fleet in 1958, and was on such duty in the South China Sea during the Laotian crisis of spring 1961. During her 1962 deployment her aircraft tested the air defense systems of Japan, Korea, Okinawa, the Philippines, and Taiwan. When she again sailed for the Far East 6 March 1965, her aircraft were prepared for combat operations, and from mid‑April flew strikes against military and logistics installations in North and South Vietnam. Illustrative of the major contribution the carrier made to the campaign of the free forces to repel Communist aggression was a notable “first” for aviators of her Attack Carrier Wing 2, who in June downed the first three MIG’s credited to U.S. Forces in Southeast Asia. Returning to Alameda 23 November, she entered San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard 11 February 1966 for extensive modernization, for which she was placed in Reserve, in commission special. 15 February 1966. She is scheduled to recommission in January 1970.