Take a stroll down the Greatest Generation Walk on San Diego’s Embarcadero and you’re likely to see people standing beside the Aircraft Carrier Memorial, just gazing at the long list of historic Navy ships. Many will run their hand along the black marble obelisk as they search for the ship on which they or a loved one served.
The listed names include every fleet carrier, training carrier, light carrier, escort carrier, and amphibious assault ship from American history. Well, almost. I’ve noticed the fleet carrier section has run out of space, and the last ship named is the Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). No room remains to engrave the more recent USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77).
The memorial, whose bronze figures were sculpted by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson, contains the following words:
The advent of the aircraft carrier revolutionized modern naval warfare. This memorial was conceived by aircraft carrier veterans to honor this nation’s carriers and the personnel who proudly served aboard them. Powered by the human soul, these ships changed the course of history.
This site is known as the old navy “fleet landing”…where countless thousands of servicemen boarded boats that transported them to their ships.
The names of all U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and their hull numbers are inscribed hereon…from the smallest to the largest. Every “flattop” is of equal distinction…none above the other. The personnel who manned, fought and in some cases perished aboard these ships were and are a part of the finest Navy and Marine Corps in the world.
The Greatest Generation Walk is located on San Diego Bay, just south of the USS Midway Museum.