USS Lexington CV-16
The USS Lexington is a WW II Essex class carrier first commissioned in February, 1943 . She is now rests as a museum at 2914 North Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, Texas. Tokyo Rose christened her the “Blue Ghost” in 1944-45 because, unlike her camouflaged sister ships, she retained her original single-colour blue-grey hull colour scheme and she kept popping up after being confidently reported sunk no fewer than four times.
Lexington, in her WW II axial deck layout, about 1943.
The original “Lady Lex”, the CV 2, was sunk after Japanese torpedo and bomb hits led to fires and internal avgas explosions during the important Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942.
Initially christened Cabot, this Lexington CV 16, was just the second Essex class carrier to be commissioned. When she finally decommissioned in 1991, she held the record as the longest-serving USN carrier, ever. During 21 months of hard combat in WW II, her aircraft and guns destroyed 387 enemy aircraft and 300,000 tons of shipping, as well as inflicting substantial destruction ashore in many island-hopping “fast carrier” raids and amphibious invasions.
Between 1947 and 1955 Lexington was either decommissioned or in dockyard hands for modernisation. Emerging initially as a “CVA” (assault), she became a “CVS” (anti-submarine) then from 1962 a “CVT” (training) aircraft carrier. Operating chiefly out of Pensacola, she logged many hundreds of thousands of deck landings and catapult shots as she introduced young student pilots to the make or break intricacies of operating tailhook aircraft at sea.
As a museum, she carries about 19 aircraft, all on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola. These include two A-4B Skyhawks, a TA-4J Skyhawk Trainer, an F-14 Tomcat and a rare WW II-era SBD Dauntless, as well as many other types. Her air-conditioned tour areas (the weather tends to get hot in Texas) are open daily from 0900 to 1700, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Admission charges vary, but include $11.95 for Adults and $9.95 for Seniors. Parking nearby costs another $3.00. Call 361 888 4873 or log onto http://www.usslexington.com for further information.