Top Gun fans vs. reality on USS Midway!

Yesterday a large group of dedicated Top Gun movie fans from a Facebook group visited the USS Midway Museum.

They all were having a blast, some wearing movie-inspired flight suits, checking out exhibits at San Diego’s popular aircraft carrier museum, taking photos near an F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, before heading off to dine at Kansas City Barbeque, where the bar scenes in Top Gun were filmed.

It was interesting to watch their enthusiasm for the classic movie, whose sequel Top Gun: Maverick will be debuting in one week on May 24. I loved the original Top Gun when it came out in 1986, myself!

As I toured the USS Midway yesterday, I noticed a variety of connections the historic aircraft carrier and its present-day museum have to the actual TOPGUN aviator school and its pilots depicted in both the original and upcoming movie.

An F-14 Tomcat on the flight deck of USS Midway. These fighter jets co-starred in the original Top Gun movie, providing exciting, incredible visuals.
A fan group is photographed during their Top Gun Days event aboard USS Midway in San Diego. Three actual Navy pilots pose in front.
Nearby on the flight deck is an F/A-18 Hornet. This fighter jet was used as an adversary during the original Top Gun. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be flown by the characters of Top Gun: Maverick.
One of the pilot ready rooms inside the USS Midway aircraft carrier. VFA-151 Ready Room One is where F-18 pilots gathered for briefing before and after flights.
A look inside USS Midway’s F-18 ready room. During Operation Desert Storm, F-18 Hornets were launched from this long-lived aircraft carrier, which was built at the end of World War II.
What it would have been like sitting in the F-18 ready room. The characters in Top Gun: Maverick are F/A-18E/F Super Hornet pilots, part of a special detachment aboard an aircraft carrier.
White board at front of the ready room, with mission and aircraft details.
An exhibit aboard the USS Midway Museum details the history of TOPGUN, originally the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School located at NAS Miramar, aka Fightertown USA.
Exhibit concerns TOPGUN – The Early Years.
The Navy Fighter Weapons School was established on March 3, 1969 at NAS Miramar in San Diego, California. TOPGUN’s objective was to develop, refine and teach air combat maneuvering tactics and techniques to selected fleet air crews…
Museum exhibit video shows the Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System TACTS in operation.
Visitors to the USS Midway Museum can climb into an F-14 Tomcat cockpit, located on the Hangar Deck.
Maverick call sign painted by the cockpit of the F-14 Tomcat.
The two-seated cockpit’s front seat, where an F-14 pilot sits facing his flight controls. The bubble canopy gives the pilot all-round visibility.
The rear seat of the F-14 cockpit, where Goose in the original Top Gun movie flew. This is where the fighter jet’s Radar Intercept Officer sat.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Uncle Sam wants your Grandpa!

I spotted these attention-grabbing recruitment ads pasted to a wall while walking in downtown San Diego. It appears that Uncle Sam Wants Your Grandpa!

I then read the fine print. Actually, the USS Midway Museum is looking for volunteers. And I don’t think you even need to be a grandpa, or a veteran!

Want to make the past come alive on a historic aircraft carrier? Want to be part of a team that includes tutors, docents, storytellers and ambassadors?

Funny that I spotted these during San Diego Fleet Week.

Check out the details here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Celebration of Memorial Day by the USS Midway.

Around noon today there was a unique outdoor celebration of Memorial Day in downtown San Diego. The spectacle could be viewed in San Diego Bay and the sky above the USS Midway Museum!

A small crowd that had gathered by the iconic “Kiss” statue saw a Harbor Police patrol boat water cannon salute and a parade of personal watercraft arriving from across the bay bearing large American flags.

Then, after the patriotic parade had gathered in the water between the USS Midway and The Greatest Generation Walk, four vintage World War II aircraft belonging to Air Group One of the Commemorative Air Force flew twice overhead, and departed with the missing man formation.

Much of the event was at a distance from where I stood, but my small camera managed to get a few good photographs…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Riding the ferry from Coronado to downtown.

What do you see when you ride the ferry across San Diego Bay, from Coronado to downtown’s Broadway Pier? Well, come along and I’ll show you!

Early this afternoon I stepped aboard Flagship’s venerable ship Cabrillo, which for many years has served as a Coronado ferry. We got underway from the Coronado Ferry Landing at 12:30. (The ferry that goes to the Broadway Pier departs every bottom of the hour.)

It’s winter. Even though it was mostly overcast today, and a bit chilly, this is San Diego after all, so of course the trip was pleasant. But I’m glad I wore a jacket out on the bay in the brisk sea breeze.

Passengers begin to board Cabrillo from the pier at the Coronado Ferry Landing. My one way ticket was only five dollars. Slowly crossing San Diego Bay is like a scenic harbor tour, without the narration.
Lots of passengers bring bicycles. Coronado is a fine place for biking. Many enjoy the dedicated bike lane which leads down the Silver Strand to Imperial Beach. It’s part of the 24-mile Bayshore Bikeway, which loops around the South Bay.
The pier at the Coronado Ferry Landing is a perfect place for fishing or simply relaxing. You don’t need a saltwater fishing license when you’re on a pier in San Diego!
A couple leans against the rail and looks toward the small beach by the Coronado Ferry Landing.
Here we go!
Across the bay you can see downtown San Diego’s beautiful skyline. This photo shows the Embarcadero, from the USS Midway Museum to the San Diego Convention Center!
I was surprised at all the boating activity today. The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for about a year, and I think more and more people want to be outside in the fresh air enjoying life.
There they go.
I see three very different sets of white sails. The sails of a passing sailboat, the sails of The Shell–the San Diego Symphony’s new outdoor concert venue, and the distinctive sails of the San Diego Convention Center.
Here comes the ferry that runs between the convention center and Coronado. That small vessel is the Silvergate, which I love to ride!
This guy was out on the water on a stand up paddle board.
Here comes Pilot, one of the many historic vessels in the collection of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. If you want a great narrated tour of San Diego Bay, I definitely recommend buying a ticket. Better yet, become a member of the Maritime Museum and you get a couple complimentary tickets for their harbor tour!
A wave as they pass by!
That blue building over the water is the San Diego Pier Cafe at Seaport Village.
Here come two small U.S. Navy patrol boats at a high rate of speed!
Guarding naval ships and bases in San Diego Bay.
A couple passes by in a little boat. I believe that’s the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier docked at North Island in the distance.
She steers as he prepares the fishing gear.
If the Pier Cafe appears odd to you, that’s probably because it was brown for decades. Many of Seaport Village’s buildings have recently been repainted under new ownership.
What’s all that activity on the pier by Seaport Village? People are eyeing fresh fish at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. That means today must be Saturday. Meanwhile, a couple of kayakers paddle by…
I see four blue seiners docked at the G Street Pier. These vessels use nets to catch live bait for boats heading out to the Pacific Ocean on sportfishing trips.
Beyond the seiners and the pier I see the USS Midway aircraft carrier, a very popular museum and San Diego attraction.
On the G Street Pier you can see stacked lobster traps. I love to photograph them from time to time.
A tiny yellow boat zips past a very, very large boat! An absolutely immense boat with numerous aircraft on its flight deck!
Here comes a whole line of tiny boats! Looks like a fun, guided harbor tour.
As we pass by the horns of the USS Midway aircraft carrier, museum visitors look down at us from the flight deck.
A zoom photo of more sailboats out on San Diego Bay. I see Harbor Island in the distance. We’re almost to the Broadway Pier now.
Downtown straight ahead!
Our ferry trip across San Diego Bay is almost over. It’s always a lot of fun.
Tying up at the dock.
Disembarking.
A line of people is waiting to catch the ferry back to Coronado!

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A live stream event celebrating Memorial Day.

Love and respect are shown for those in the military who pledged to protect their countrymen, and defend freedom. They are honored on Memorial Day.
Love and respect are shown for those in the military who pledged to protect their countrymen, and defend freedom. They are honored on Memorial Day.

This coming Memorial Day will be very different. The coronavirus pandemic has caused public events around San Diego to be cancelled.

But I’ve learned there will be a live stream over the internet that celebrates Memorial Day this year, and the virtual event will feature four locations: the USS Midway Museum, Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, and Miramar National Cemetery. Those who perished serving in the United States Armed Forces will be honored and remembered.

If you’d like to learn more, or view the live stream online this Memorial Day starting at 9 am click here!

A waterfront walk before the shutdown.

Much in San Diego will shut down starting tomorrow. I’ll still be working, but many San Diegans will not.

Schools throughout the city and county will be closed temporarily because of the coronavirus pandemic. So too will popular attractions, including the Maritime Museum of San Diego and the USS Midway Museum.

I walked along downtown’s waterfront today, wondering what I might see. A cruise ship was docked at the Broadway Pier, but I saw no passengers. I noticed that the Portside Pier construction is well along. It’s Sunday, so lots of volunteers were busy at the Maritime Museum, but I was one of very few visitors. The usual lines at the USS Midway ticket booth were practically nonexistent.

A few tourists were enjoying a day on the Embarcadero, snapping selfies, but I saw no parked tour buses.

Several people were fishing.

I’m afraid I couldn’t resist buying an ice cream.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing sunset along the Embarcadero!

After taking an amazing sunset photo from the top floor of the Manchester Grand Hyatt (see previous post), I headed down the elevator and walked up the Embarcadero.

The sunset across San Diego Bay became even more dramatic as I passed Tuna Harbor, Ruocco Park and the USS Midway. I took one last photograph when I finally arrived at Broadway Pier.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Oil paintings of the Embarcadero at night.

These aren’t actual oil paintings. They’re photographs that I took last night along the Embarcadero, made to look like impressionistic oil paintings with GIMP graphic software.

Can you recognize many of these beautiful nighttime sights on San Diego Bay?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A slightly unusual morning by the water.

A seagull hopes for a morning morsel while I eat breakfast outdoors on the Embarcadero, not far from the USS Midway.
A seagull hopes for a morning morsel while I eat breakfast outdoors on the Embarcadero, not far from the USS Midway.

This morning I walked along the Embarcadero, from Broadway Pier to Tuna Harbor.

My camera captured some of the usual beauty, plus a few unusual images!

Research vessel JOIDES Resolution (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling), a scientific drilling ship used by the International Ocean Discovery Program, docked in San Diego.
Research vessel JOIDES Resolution (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling), a scientific drilling ship used by the International Ocean Discovery Program, docked in San Diego.

Here come Cabrillo, the Coronado Ferry, across a very smooth San Diego Bay.
Here comes Cabrillo, the Coronado Ferry, across a very smooth San Diego Bay.

Someone exercises by the water on a beautiful early San Diego morning.
Someone exercises by the water on a beautiful early San Diego morning.

Some colorful lobster traps were stacked at the edge of the parking lot beside Tuna Harbor.
Some colorful lobster traps were stacked at the edge of the parking lot beside Tuna Harbor.

Strange reflections on the smooth water of Tuna Harbor.
Mysterious reflections on the still water of Tuna Harbor.

Trees and downtown buildings upside down on the water.
Trees and downtown buildings upside down on the water.

A worker casually stands on the plank above the water. An odd and mysterious image!
A worker casually stands on the plank above the water. A rather strange image!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Faces of the USS Midway Remembrance Wall.

Real people, like you and me.
Real people, like you and me.

In this crazy world, during our busy and stressful lives, it can be easy to forget just how fortunate we are. To take Freedom for granted.

This morning I was reminded that some take an oath to defend that Freedom.

After attending the Memorial Day weekend Wreath Ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Midway, I headed down to the museum’s hangar deck. I wanted to see the Remembrance Wall.

I saw the smiling faces of family and friends and neighbors.

They won’t be forgotten.

A wreath for Memorial Day weekend. USS Midway Museum Remembrance Wall. Honoring our Fallen Heroes and Gold Star Families.
A wreath for Memorial Day weekend. USS Midway Museum Remembrance Wall. Honoring our Fallen Heroes and Gold Star Families.

Many faces.
Many faces.

Thank you for your service.
Thank you for your service.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!