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MIDWAY AirCraft Carrier_7447

Conceived and built during the desperate days of World War II, the carriers of the Midway class carried a crew of 4,500 and up to 70 aircraft. The 1,000 foot-long Midway was once the largest carrier afloat, growing from 45,000 tons in 1945 to 74,000 tons in 1991. However, she had a displacement about two-thirds that of contemporary nuclear-powered flattops. When operating at sea the ship was refueled every three days, burning approximately 100,000 gallons of oil a day. When first built, the Midway’s bow was open to the sea, and was enclosed in 1957 as part of a major overhaul.

The ability to adapt to new technologies, systems, platforms, and operational needs is nowhere better exemplified than in the design and 50-year operational history of the USS Midway. Designed during World War II, in 1945 this "flattop" initially operated piston-driven propeller aircraft, yet returned from her last deployment in 1991 with the Navy’s most modern, multipurpose strike-fighters. Her original axial-deck design was modified to an angled-deck layout, her original hydraulic catapults were replaced with more powerful steam catapults, and the most basic electronics replaced by advanced sensors and communications equipment.

Midway sailed in every ocean of the world, covering more miles than anyone can count. It is estimated that more than 200,000 young Americans trod her decks, gaining manhood, fighting their country’s wars and sometimes paying the ultimate price. After ultimately serving her country for 47 years, Midway now rests at Bremerton, Washington, ready to begin her final "tour of duty" as a floating museum in San Diego. She will become a tribute to the contributions of the armed services and as a dynamic, interactive beacon of education and entertainment. How popular is the Midway? In the three days before being mothballed, more than 50,000 people visited her for a final look.

"Midway Magic" is more than a slogan. The ship operated longer, survived more modernization projects and was forward deployed longer than any other aircraft carrier. It was the crew of the Midway that provided the sorcery. But, like the magician’s hat from which the rabbit appears, the Midway was the vessel in which the magic had been created. Long after the quiet descended on Midway’s empty compartments, her catapults forever silent, her main engines cold and motionless, her halyards clear, we will remember her and say "There truly was Magic here."

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