Ok, I admit it. I’m a huge fan of the navy. It started when I was a wee lad and my father joined the navy during WW-II. I still recall being thrilled when he came home on leave and I saw him for the first time in his uniform. I was intrigued by the distinctive “Dixie Cup” sailor hat, the jumper with the flap in the back, the scarf which had to be rolled in a special way, and especially the bellbottom trousers. After that I alway harbored a desire to be a sailor. I got my chance when I was accepted for a navy scholarship and became a midshipman and then was commissioned as an Ensign. My summertime midshipman cruises were aboard the USS The Sullivans, DD 537, a destroyer out of Newport, RI and the Saratoga, CVA 60 in the Mediterranean. My first tour as an officer was aboard the USS Lexington, CVS 16 (later CVT 16) a aircraft carrier out of Pensacola, FL. That was followed by a tour aboard the USS Richard B Anderson DD 786, a destroyer out of San Diego. But, back to the USS Lexington and the reason for this post. The Lexington is one of the ships featured in an excellent little article by Lyn Mettler describing historic retired battleships and aircraft carriers which are on display at various US ports and can be visited by the public. The article appeared at foxnews.com as: Best of America’s battleships and aircraft carriers on display. Lyn Mettler is an Indianapolis, Ind.-based travel writer. You can find her at www.GotoTravelGal.com or on Twitter at @GotoTravelGal. RMF
Best of America’s battleships and aircraft carriers on display
By Lyn Mettler
Want to see America’s military might up close? From New York to Hawaii, retired battleships and aircraft carriers give the public a peek into the lives of the men and women who lived, fought and died aboard them.
Check out some of the biggest battleships and aircraft carriers open to the public around the U.S.:
1. USS Hornet, San Francisco Bay area
A registered state and national historic landmark, the USS Hornet opened as a museum in 1998. The aircraft carrier was under heavy attack 59 times during World War II, but it was never hit by a single bomb, torpedo or kamikaze. The Hornet is famous for recovering Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins after their mission to the moon, and it contains the largest collection of Apollo space mission artifacts along the West Coast. It also houses a Flight Simulator movie theater to give visitors the sensation of flight.
2. USS Midway, San Diego
America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century, the USS Midway shot down MiGs in North Vietnam in 1965 and played a key role in the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm. Visitors will find 29 restored aircraft on the ship, as well as a chance to see its sleeping quarters, the jail, the post office and more. You also can ride in one of two flight simulators that let you roll, spin and loop through the skies in the seat of a fighter pilot. Operators recommend setting aside three to four hours to see the whole ship. Continue reading