Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Midway III (CVB-41)

1945-1997 

The first Midway was named for the atoll, the second and third for the battle that took place between 4-7 June 1942.

III

(CVB‑41: displacement 45,000 (standard); length 972'; beam 238'; draft 35'6"; speed 30 knots; complement 4,675; armament 18 5-inch, 84 40-millimeter, 28 20-millimeter; aircraft 132-145; class Midway)

The third Midway (CVB‑41) was laid down on 27 October 1943 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 20 March 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Bradford William Ripley, Jr.; and commissioned on 10 September 1945, Capt. Joseph F. Bolger in command.

After shakedown in the Caribbean, Midway joined in the Atlantic Fleet training schedule, with Norfolk, Va., as her home port. From 20 February 1946 she was flagship for Carrier Division (CarDiv)  1. In March 1946 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 Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. 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 1952 was redesignated as an attack aircraft carrier (CVA) CVA‑41.

Midway cleared Norfolk on 27 December 1954, two days after Christmas, for a world cruise, sailing via the Cape of Good Hope for Taiwan, where she joined the Seventh Fleet for operations in the western Pacific until 28 June 1955 when she sailed for Bremerton, Wash., and overhaul at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. There she lay out of commission until 30 September 1957 while she was modernized and received such new innovations as an enclosed bow and an angled flight deck.

Homeported at Alameda, Calif., Midway began annual deployments with the Seventh 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 on 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. on 15 February 1966. 

Ultimately decommissioned on 11 April 1992, Midway was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 17 March 1997. On 29 August 2003, Midway was donated to the San Diego Aircraft Museum, and began operation as a museum ship in 13 January 2004.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

30 May 2019 

Published: Thu May 30 20:56:58 EDT 2019