In early June, the USS Midway Museum took delivery of an A-7 Corsair II that has recently finished a thorough restoration. The aircraft, on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum, has undergone a lengthy two-year, 2000-hour restoration that has returned it to mint condition. It was craned onto the deck of the USS Midway, which forms the museum itself.
The restoration took place at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California, which is not far from the USS Midway Museum, also in San Diego.
The USS Midway and the aircraft on her flight deck are exposed to the salty sea air all year round, including their Corsair II. The aircraft has been at the museum since 2004, and the corrosive effects of its environment mean it has seen better days. The museum removed the aircraft from the carrier deck a few years ago and sent her to Naval Air Station North Island for an extensive restoration carried out by museum staff and volunteers.
Now that the aircraft has been gloriously restored, she is ready for another stretch atop the 1940s-era carrier. Although conditions for the exhibits on the carrier are relatively harsh, it’s a great way to show visitors the aircraft in a historically accurate setting.
The USS Midway, the aircraft carrier that serves as the museum’s home, was built during WWII in just 17 months, but was commissioned a week after the war’s end. Although she missed out on the Second World War, the Midway would go on to have a remarkable and distinguished 47-year-long career, the longest of any carrier.
She was thrust straight into the Cold War and helped pioneer many techniques for aircraft carrier warfare in this new age of technology. After serving in the Atlantic Fleet for a decade, she sailed back to the U.S. for a major upgrade involving the addition of an angled flight deck in 1955.
She was heavily involved in the Vietnam War and helped evacuate refugees during the Fall of Saigon in 1975.
In 1990, Midway made her way to the Persian Gulf, where she supported actions in Kuwait. She launched over 3,000 missions during Operation Desert Storm. After 47 years in active service, the USS Midway was decommissioned in 1992. The aircraft carrier was re-opened as the USS Midway Museum in 2004.
A-7 Corsair II
The light attack aircraft was developed by LTV (Ling-Temco-Vought) in the 1960s from the Vought F-8 Crusader air superiority fighter. It was designed to replace the A-4 Skyhawk. The type had a top speed of nearly 700 mph and could carry a heavier bomb load than the WWII B-17 Flying Fortress.
The museum’s example of the aircraft was built in 1968, joining the Strike Fighter Squadron 87, nicknamed the Golden Warriors, halfway through that year. Over the aircraft’s career, it operated from the USS Ticonderoga, the USS Intrepid, and the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.
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She was placed into storage in late 1986 and was struck off the Navy’s books a few months later. She is now restored back to her former glory and can be seen on the deck of the USS Midway.