Skip to comments.The US Navy's Five Aircraft Carrier Museum Ships
Posted on 07/12/2013 7:42:25 AM PDT by Jeff Head
Currently (July 2013) there are five US Navy Aircraft Carrier museums. Four are of Essex class carriers commissioned during World War II which underwent the SBC-125 refit in the 1950s to modernize them. All were commissioned in 1943 & served into modern times. The last, the USS Lexington, was decommissioned in 1991 after 48 years service. The other is the USS Midway, namesake of a larger class carrier built at the end of the war. She underwent two major refits, in the 1950s & in 1970 greatly enlarging her flight deck for modern aircraft. She was commissioned in 1945 & decommissioned in 1992 after 47 years service.
Name: USS Yorktown
Displacement: 41,200 tons (after modernization)
Mueum Web Site: http://www.patriotspoint.org/
Location: Charleston, SC (Click HERE for a map)
Name: USS Intrepid
Displacement: 41,200 tons (after modernization)
Mueum Web Site: http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/
Location: New York, NY (Click HERE for a map)
Name: USS Hornet
Displacement: 41,200 tons (after modernization)
Mueum Web Site: http://www.uss-hornet.org/
Location: Alameda, CA (Click HERE for a map)
Name: USS Lexington
Displacement: 48,300 tons (after modernization)
Mueum Web Site: http://usslexington.com/
Location: Corpus Christi, TX (Click HERE for a map)
Name: USS Midway
Displacement: 74,000 tons (after modernization)
Mueum Web Site: http://www.midway.org/
Location: San Diego, CA (Click HERE for a map)
Currently, none of the more modern "super carriers," meaning none of the Forrestal Class, Kitty Hawk Class, or later aircraft carriers, have been saved and set aside as museums. However, there is an active effort underway to get the John F. Kennedy, CV-67, set up as an aicraft carrier museum in the New England area, She was a "super carrier," built to a modified Kitty Hawk standard, and was the last conventionally powered (meaning non-nulcear) aircraft carrier the United States built.
Name: USS John F. Kennedy
Class: Kitty Hawk
Displacement: 82,700 tons
Mueum Web Site: http://www.ussjfkri.org/
Location: (Proposed Rhode Island)
WORLD-WIDE AIRCRAFT CARRIERS
THE RISING SEA DRAGON IN ASIA
AEGIS & AEGIS-LIKE VESSELS OF THE WORLD
THE US NAVY IN THE 21ST CENTURY
AMERICA AT THE CROSSROADS OF HISTORY
Thought you might enjoy this. Ever been to one of them?
Where is the USS America (CVA/CV-66)museum?
I’ve had my kids on the Hornet in Alameda a couple of times, and will be taking them back. As they get older they can understand more.
The Hornet is moored at the same slip where the prior Hornet, CV 8, took off with Jimmy Doolittle for the Tokyo raid. Doolittle was actually born in Alameda, although he did not grow up there.
If anyone goes to see the Hornet, they should also go see the small Naval museum also on the former Alameda NAS. They have a section devoted to Doolittle, and a model of the Yamato about twelve feet long. It’ll cost you about five bucks, and the guys running it will shoot the breeze with all day if you want.
I was stationed on the Lex, 74-78.
I toured it at Corpus once. I was dissapointed that I couldn’t go exploring.
I did my first carrier landings on the Lex (as did thousands of other Naval Aviators).
I was on the Midway 2 weeks ago with my 9 year old son. GREAT time - took the wonderful self-guided tour. He was able to earn his Junior Pilot wings by answering questions in a pamphlet they gave us when we came in. He loved it! Very cool!
One event in particular was the 55 anniversary of the Midway battle. There were many participants in attendance - it was a rare opportunity and we're fortunate to have been there as they are all gone now.
Slept on the Yorktown several times as Cubmaster / Asst. Scoutmaster. They do a nice job there, and it makes you appreciate how little personal space the sailors had.
About 250 miles south east of Cape Hatteras in about 17000 feet of water.
Thanks for the post and pictures I have seen and been on the Midway.
Just went with family to the Intrepid and had a wonderful time. If you’re considering a visit, you should also know that they have on display the USS Growler, one of the last existing Grayback class subs. This was a nuclear-armed, diesel-powered sub from the cold war era (early 1950’s). Don’t go in if you’re claustrophobic though.
I toured the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC. Is that not a museum?
Thanks for your service...I spent five days on the Lexington, it was gawd awful. Those were five of the worst nights ever in the berthing space.
I had the overwhelming and overpowering stench of bunker fuel to the point I couldn’t sleep...I could taste it in my mouth and food, it was making me nauseous and sweaty.
I have no idea if there was something wrong with the ventilating systems, or if a vent for the fuel was sucking it back in, but I don’t think I spent more than ten minutes at a stretch sleeping for that whole week.
Ugh. If those guys who served in them all those years had to go through that, they have my deepest respect and sympathy. And it would make me feel like a wuss.
The size of the ship was really impressive. The hanger deck was enormous. But the two things I remember with total clarity was a plaque on the deck indicating the spot where a Kamikaze struck the ship during WWII, and a display where they had 2 scale models, with the Intrepid sitting on top of the deck of the Enterprise. As Huge as the Intrepid was, the model of the Enterprise just dwarfed the Intrepid.
I would really LOVE to see it again, now that it's a "real" museum.
I have a hope that USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) will not meet a similar fate. ENTERPRISE should be preserved as a museum, but she will need a home port that can accommodate her and she won't be cheap to keep in shape. [But, the same can be said of all museum ships.]
There is a group trying to turn USS SARATOGA (CV-60) into a museum, but they've had funding problems. I'm surprised that MA hasn't wanted the USS KENNEDY (CV-67) for Battleship Cove, given the importance of the Kennedys in that state.
I have visited USS Lexington in Corpus Christi. I made it a point to go stand in what I believed to be the spot on the bridge where Mitscher ordere the searchlights turned on to bring the fliers home at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. I also visited the Intrepid way back in the 1970s when she was in Philadelphia.
The Essex class carriers were simply amazing. And we built what, 24 of them? Unbelievable.
Great post, thanks
Proud member of the USS Midway 1972-1973 Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club
You might have been with one of the VT squadrons ... I was in VT-23 Kingville Texas 1969 - 1971
How many carriers are in Bremerton right now? Has to be 4 at least.
Now that Lexington has been retired, does the Navy have a carrier used for training new pilots (excuse me, naval aviators)?
Its my understanding that the CVN-65 will be torn apart to safely dispose of the nuclear reactor.
Newport News Shipbuilding will deactivate and de-fuel the ship, which will then be formally decommissioned once all nuclear fuel has been removed. The process is scheduled to begin in mid-2013 and be completed in 2015. Once the Navy dismantles and recycles the ship's reactors, there will be very little left to turn into a museum; virtually everything two decks below the hangar bay would have to be cut apart. What remains of Enterprise following 2015 is currently scheduled to be taken to Washington state for scrapping.
someone asked "so you flew F-4s like this one?
he replied "no i mean this plane."
A good reason that the Enterprise wouldn't make a good candidate for a museum.
The first nuclear designs weren't all that good, and took up a lot of room in the lower decks. There were 4 of them on the Big "E", and they were pretty big, with plumbing snaking throughout the lower decks. The newer ones were much smaller and compact, and only 2 of them, one on each side contained in a single compartment. to remove them, you just cut out that section, remove the reactor and all the associated equipment in one shot and plate over the hole.
Similar to how Subs are decommissioned.
There are still several old carriers in mothball out at the US Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA. One is the Ranger I think. Maybe the Connie. I think there used to be three or four out there.
USS America (CV-66) is on the bottom of the Atlantic. She was ‘expended’ as they say in a SinkEx to develop design criteria to improve the survivability of the current generation of carriers.
BREMERTON, WA - Kitsap Sun
It's not often that you can snap four aircraft carriers in a single frame, but that's the scene from Port Orchard.
Moored along the Bremerton shoreline are the retiring Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and decommissioned Ranger (CV 61), Independence (CV 62) and Constellation (CV 64). When the USS John C. Stennis isn't patrolling the oceans, it's there with them.
Locals don't pay the old flattops much mind as they drive past on Navy Yard Highway. But the city-block-sized flattops turn the heads of visitors like the Samuels.
Samuel Samuel of Seattle said his family wanted to take a ferry ride Friday. Pulling into Bremerton, they glimpsed the Navy ships and decided to drive to the Missouri gate for a closer look.
"We're here just to have some fun," said Samuel, whose brother Fa Samuel is visiting from American Samoa and videotaped the sight. "It's so good to see the ships.
" Another carrier quartet USS Enterprise, USS Eisenhower, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Harry S. Truman is based at Norfolk Naval Station, but they're active and rarely, if ever, seen together.
The Ranger, Independence and Constellation are decommissioned and are part of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard's Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility more commonly known as the mothball fleet. Removed from the Naval Vessel Register, they can become museum ships, artificial reefs or be dismantled, said Kathleen Roberts, [URL]spokeswoman for Naval Sea Systems Command.
The Navy's fleet of inactive ships has declined by more than two-thirds nationwide in the past decade, and it's no different here. There were 13 ships in Bremerton in 1999, so many that some had to be tied up to buoys in Sinclair Inlet. Five years ago there were 10, and now just seven, four of them aircraft carriers.
After decommissioning in September 1998, Independence remained mothballed until being struck from the register in March 2004. It had been heavily stripped, with pieces of the old carrier being recycled for use in active carriers. That makes it a poor candidate to become a museum ship. It is scheduled to be dismantled within the next four years, along with Constellation, although it remains available for donation as a reef until a contract to dismantle it is awarded.
The Constellation was decommissioned in August 2003, towed here the next month and stricken in December. The two ships are in Reserve Category X, meaning they get no maintenance or preservation, only security against fire and flooding.
Joining them in Bremerton's shrinking mothball fleet are the guided-missile frigates Sides and George Philip and the guided-missile cruiser Vincennes, Roberts said. The frigates were going to be sold to the Portuguese navy and then to the Turkish navy, but both deals fell through. The Vincennes is slated for scrapping within the next four years.
Ranger, though the oldest of the three carriers, still has a shot at becoming a museum. Tacoma had been interested. Now Portland, Ore., wants it as a naval and aerospace museum, educational center, and a setting for special events. The USS Ranger Foundation is [/URL]trying to raise $100,000 to complete an application to the Navy, according to its Web site. Because Ranger could be donated as a museum, it is getting more care than the other carriers, including protection from rust and humidity.
Kitty Hawk, which arrived in September, will be decommissioned in the spring after its replacement, USS George H.W. Bush, completes sea trials and is delivered. It will be placed in "Out of Commission, In Reserve" status, said Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown, a Naval Air Forces spokesman. It will be inactive but remain on the Naval Vessel Register to possibly return someday. That rarely happens, though Iowa-class battleships were reactivated and modernized in the mid-1980s.
It costs the Navy about $200,000 a year to maintain an inactive carrier, Robertson said.
None of the four carriers are available for tours. Removal of equipment and materials for recycling can make moving around the ships dangerous for civilians.
The Vietnam War was the glory days for Bremerton's four inactive carriers. Built between 1957 and 1961, they were in their prime during the war in Southeast Asia. The 50-year-old ships stuck around long enough to fight in the Middle East. Now they rest.
Have not yet been to the renovated Intrepid, the Yorktown was very nice to visit, (although the kids got clausterphobic below deck), visited Ft. Sumter the same day.
“I have a hope that USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) will not meet a similar fate. ENTERPRISE should be preserved as a museum, but she will need a home port that can accommodate her and she won’t be cheap to keep in shape. [But, the same can be said of all museum ships.]”
I predict that you won’t see the current USS ENTERPRISE, or any other CVN converted into a museum ship for the simple fact that the vessel was nuclear powered.
It’s one thing to clean up & mothball the engineering spaces on a conventional naval vessel, but quite another to do so for a nuke. You pretty much have to cut into the vessel to remove the reactors (8 of them on the Big E) and primary steam lines. By the time you do that you’ve got a real expensive mess on your hands to put things back.
One also wonders about trace nuclear contamination on the vessel.
Consider that the only piece of the first nuclear submarine USS NAUTILUS that survives is the sail/conning tower. The rest is razor blades.
They keep opening up more sections of the Midway, so it pays to re-visit periodically to see new areas.
My first visit was very shortly after they first opened the museum.
I recall sneaking down some dark corridors and hatchways into areas I probably wasn’t supposed to be in. Now they have things secured so people don’t wander where they’re not supposed to!
Probably been back 5 or 6 times, seeing new areas each time. Good place to take San Diego visitors.
It is too bad that the U.S.S. Enterprise, which survived all three battles, wasn't saved.
Had a much older brother serve on the Midway until it was decomissioned. He then retired abroad and passed a dozen years ago. I did the excellent self guided tour of the Midway in 2008. It was fascinating and also gave me a chance to connect with a brother I hardly knew.
The Cold War Memorial at Patriot's Point, Charleston, SC has the sail and rudder of the USS LEWIS AND CLARK (SSBN-644) on display. You may be thinking of this memorial.
I wish that the U.S.S. Constellation CV-64 is towed to San Diego and parked on the other side of the pier where the Midway museum is. The Constellation was home ported in San Diego for 40 years and was a very historic ship. The Constellation launched the first air strikes against North Vietnam in 1964. The first POW captured by the North Vietnamese flew off of the Constellation. That ship has history. If it were converted to a museum in San Diego the same docents who serve on the Midway (which never was home ported in San Diego) could serve on the Conny. It would be a shame if the Conny is used for an artificial reef or for target practice.
So we hit the Concrete Deck for our T-28 carrier quals.
Whoop de do!
HT-18 CQ was in an UH-1E, not much difficulty there.
Later on, putting a CH-53 down on the back of an underway LPD was a bit more fun, 45 degree approach angle to the ships heading and all. Really messes with your mind with the sea surface going by at an angle.
Nothing like a rainy night trap in a fast mover, though. I really have to hand it to you, even if you can't hover.
I stand corrected! Thanks Gunner. I’ve been by Groton and seen the sail. Wonder what the circumstances were that they have an “extra” sail? One on the sub, one on separate display? Maybe they installed a re-inforced sail for the polar mission?
Anyway, the point I made about Nuke vessels generally holds true. ENTERPRISE will likely be scrapped out. After they get done removing 8 nuclear reactors and associated piping & machinery from below decks — there isn’t going to be much left undisturbed.
That’s really neat...!
My dad served on the USS Essex during the Cuban missile Crisis. He also served on the Midway for two cruises on Yankee Station during the Vietnam War.
What did you do on the Midway at that time? My dad was also on that cruise?
My dad served on the USS Block Island (CVE-106) which was only 557 feet long. The Intrepid is 872 feet long. Just a fun fact: the Block Island carried all Marine pilots flying Corsairs.
The legend goes that Rickover never wanted a nuclear powered carrier but Congress forced him to build one. With eight reactors and an armored stern amongst other extremely expensive features Rickover won, at least temporarily. The next couple of carriers were conventional.
There are a number of battleships and other ships preserved in museums also. This list is only of aircraft carriers.
Well they are defueling the reactors here in Newport News right now. I don’t think they so scrapping here though. so they will have to at least weld it back up to float it out of here.
At the bottom of the Atlantic(She was sunk around 2003 or 2004).
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