tv USS Midway and San Diegos Naval History CSPAN January 8, 2017 2:01pm-2:17pm EST
welcome to san diego on american history tv. with a population of 1.3 million, it is the second largest city in california and sits less than 20 miles from the mexican border. in cooperation with our cox communications and charter partners, we will explore the history of the city, often referred to as "a birthplace of california." coming up, visit mission, san diego, the very first mission established in california. later, we will tour san diego and visit some of its unique landmarks like balboa park, the gas land district. we begin aboard the uss midway. we will learn the story of this long serving aircraft carrier as well as u.s. history as naval port. >> c-span is in san diego
learning more about the city's rich history. this is the uss midway. , we will take you on board to learn more about its naval history. >> we are sitting -- standing on the flight deck. this has been a tourist attraction since 2004. midway was built during world war ii. despite efforts to move for construction along, she just missed the end of the war by four weeks. always intended to be a large ship. she was a break from previous carrier designs because she was not impacted by naval arms limitation treaties that existed between the two world wars. the sky was the limit for the
designers. the reason for this was they wanted to put an armored deck to protect, but they could not do that, so they wanted to have the protection of an armored -- armored deck, would still be large enough to melt the large air groups they favored. it was large enough so they could have the largest deck and the large air group in the same ship. are slightly different dimensions than when she was commission, but her overall -- she displaced 70,000 tons of seawater. >> the new navy aircraft carrier, the u.s. midway. the lieutenant general watches the navy's sponsor chris and the
miter -- the mighty carrier. >> when she was commissioned in 1945, she had an air group supporting 125 combat aircraft at a time when earlier aircraft were pushing to get anywhere close to 100 on there. from the beginning, she was a ship that carried more. by the time of desert storm, she was operating in excess of 80 aircraft on board. sizable had a complement. there were another thousand from the attached air wing, so you had them packed onto a hall that subdividedthe most and cramped, even by 1945 standards. midway sailors got to object to their unique circumstances here on the midway. but she was a brand-new ship with a very large and new design, so the navy put her through the paces even though
the war had just concluded and she made numerous deployments to the mediterranean for the first 10 years of her career. then in 1954, it was decided she needed to transfer to the pacific. in 1955, she made an epic voyage because she was too large to pass through the panama canal, across the atlantic ocean entering the pacific from the west. in coveringated evacuation of some chinese islands in a dispute between the taiwanese and the communist chinese, and then proceeded to be west coast of the united states to undergo the first of her many transformations to keep pace with naval innovation. she had a naval deck installed .nd steam catapults after this rebuild, she made
numerous climates as part of the pacific fleet all the way up to 1965, when she was at the beginning of american involvement in the vietnam war and they had one combat deployment in 1965. in fact, her very first combat deployment occurred when she was already 20 years old and her air group was notable in making the mig shootdown. she was involved in a very hectic air campaign over north vietnam. that was the rest of 1972. in fact, midway also has the distinction of making the very shootdown of the entire
vietnam war in january 1973 just before the paris peace accords went into effect. the midway actually has the distinction of making the very first and very last make it -- shootdown of mig the entire conflict. she was based in japan. this was a first parade we never based a carrier and its battle group in a foreign homeport before. in 1973, the midway began what turned out to be an 18-year near tokyo,ating japan. even though the united states was no longer directly involved in the vietnam war, the war went on anyway and in a consent i-5, north vietnamese forces were really making headway and saigon was about to fall. midway had us eshelman shen to act as a special -- had a special mission to act as a facility to evacuate
saigon before the communists took over. not only were those people evacuated, it also turned into a humanitarian rescue mission where many south vietnamese citizens were able to be shuttled away to other ships offshore. what made this unique as well among other carriers was midway being based in a foreign ports also had her own air wing permanently assigned. most aircraft carrier operate with a different air group or air wing depending on deployment. this just happens to be the airship it was operating out of at a given time. this really paid dividends. the ship's company and the embarq's air wing really got to know each other -- the embarq's
air wing really get to know each other. this really paid off during operation desert storm, even though midway only had to catapults as a port to the -- as opposed to the four catapults that most modern ships had, along amongst all of the carriers that participated in during the -- desert storm, mid-waiting -- midway was the only one that did not suffer losses to enemy action. with the cold war winding down, midway was a little in excess of the needs of the time. it was decided to retire the midway a little bit early after 47 years of continuous years of continuous deployment. midway handed over her duties to independence and made it back to san diego for her final decommissioning. she had her final ceremony right across the channel from where we
are now. and then she was put into storage for number of years near seattle, washington. it's ironic that she has become a fixture in san diego. the midway was never a san diego ship. the entire time that midway was a pacific fleet carrier, she was located in alameda or japan. it is a little odd that the midway was making a mark in san diego, a port where she was never really assigned during her active duty years. san diego had a lot of difficulties getting itself going as an established community, compared to, say, los angeles, and it had everything to do with geography. we are completely cut off by a mountains inng of the interior. san diego was basically a harbor
that went nowhere. unfortunately, try as they might, city boosters tried as best they could to get rail lines through or find other ways to attract investment in san diego, but no one was really biting. that'll change in 1907, when word got out that president roosevelt was taking the united states navy and sending it on historic cruise to basically show american naval might and to show japan that we could send our forces anywhere we needed to. so, this was a golden opportunity for city boosters. they were an important part of the federal government, the navy, was able to see what they had to offer. they had to get the harbor dredged to make other improvements.
that meant getting the federal government involved in that meant the navy. they wantedund that to go past baha and san francisco, they continue to put on the pressure, including when the fleet was on baja, sending a the local persuade commander to change his itinerary somewhat. it was enough to convince the navy to make a change in the schedule. and so, the great white fleet, as it was called, because the ships were all painted white, involved in san diego waters. they had to anchor offshore of coronado. the city really turned out from the mexican border all the way to the harbor itself.
the entire shoreline was thronging with people. thethe boats that carried sailors and the officers from the anchored battleship actually tied up at the neighboring broadway p are -- broadway pier here. among the city in the population was tremendous and the navy was really bowled over by the enthusiastic welcome the local population had to offer. but more importantly, they got to see the harbor with their own eyes rather than having to listen to lobbyists in washington, from faraway california. diego made an indelible impression on future navy leaders. out,irst world war broke and at the end of it, in 1919, settled in aeet british harbor north of scotland. so, all of a sudden, you no longer had a german fleet at the
end of world war i. however, that did not mean we did not have other potential rivals. the japanese navy had also expanded remarkably during the wartime period. pulled up. navy anchor and bodily relocated to southern california. as it turns out, los angeles had a lot more political pulled in san diego at this point, so the battleships, cruisers, and other large ships went up at san pedro, near long beach. and that is where they were a central 1940. the good news for san diego was geography once again worked in their favor. los angeles had all kinds of competing interests. the navy could not fit it into the greater area and it was becoming more of a concern for the fleet.
diego it turned out, san was the home for the u.s. navy during the two world wars. langley was put into commission as the first aircraft carrier and by the end of the year, she arrived in san diego and it was there that naval aviation was really put through learning tod operate from a ship like an aircraft carrier. so, for the entire stretch of the rest of the 1920's and 1930's, san diego was the center of gravity for all things naval aviation, especially the velvet of the aircraft carrier as a the fleet andt of the fact that eventually were used to win world war ii. san diego never had to look back in terms of postwar conflict or the base reductions in the 1990's.
san diego actually had a net gain in basis at the expense of other communities at that time. a retraction. because of that, san diego has been able to move forward in developing a distinctive personality from los angeles because of the military presence. and even in the 21st century, we still have the military being one of the pillars of the san diego economy. ism april 2 october this home to san diego's professional baseball team. visit up, we will missions san diego, the very first mission in california. ringing]