It’s been a great 2023 for Midway. More than a million daytime visitors, almost 700 evening and military events, and a “Best of the Best” award from Tripadvisor are a few of the many highlights of the year.
The year was going so well we decided to open the ship on select evenings between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Decorating and opening up Midway for Jingle Jets was a huge team effort and I could not be more proud of all those who made it happen. More than 20,000 holiday visitors later, I can say that our idea was a huge success for Midway. I loved seeing so many local families enjoying our ship and the amazing creations across the flight deck, hangar bay and second deck. The feedback we received was fantastic and the ship never looked better. We were truly the jewel of the Embarcadero over the holiday season.
My other focus over 2023 was plotting a course for the future of this iconic museum. After working with our team and our board of directors, I think we have a solid plan going forward. It basically breaks down into three major lines of effort.
Preserving our ship. We began the process of refurbishing the hull with the starboard quarter work seven months ago. That is now complete and our “selfie area” looks great with a beautifully restored motor whaleboat manned and ready. Our next efforts involve complete mast refurbishment while adding a new rotating SPN-43 radar courtesy of the USS Making Island (LHD-8). We have also begun hull work in the forward pump room as we continue our assessment of Midway’s underwater condition. Finally, a new five-year preservation plan has been approved by the board to ensure Midway continues to operate safely.
Enhancing the guest experience. Our new engineering and fire exhibit is going to be spectacular. We are so proud to introduce our guests to the legacy of Midway engineers while highlighting their skills and dedication. The new exhibit will be interactive and state-of-the-art, and I can’t wait for this to open on Memorial Day weekend. After that, we will turn our attention to the Midway Carrier Intelligence Center (CVIC). We will be creating an exhibit on the O-2 level that will pay tribute to our amazing afloat intelligence professionals while highlighting the incredible teamwork that led to Midway’s outstanding performance during Operation Desert Storm. Finally, we are improving our Membership experience across the board. We love our members.
Taking care of our people. One of my goals has been to bring our employee benefits more in line with other employers. I am very happy to say that we have been able to accomplish that for next year. It is gratifying to reward our team and continue to see great retention on board. Really, is there any better place to work than an aircraft carrier?
All of the above has been enabled by the simple fact that we have incredible volunteers, and a dedicated staff who continue to make this a successful museum and San Diego icon. From where I sit, the future looks bright.
It’s a great day on Midway!