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Texas | Columns | Lone Star Diary

The USS Lexington
is a true historic treasure

Visiting The Blue Ghost

by Murray Montgomery
Murray Montgomery
Corpus Christie TX -  Entrance to the USS Lexington Museum
Entrance to the USS Lexington Museum in Corpus Christi
Photo by Murray Montgomery, August 2018
Corpus Christie, Texas

Resting peacefully in Corpus Christi Bay, the USS Lexington is an impressive tribute to all those brave men who served aboard her in times of war. Probably the greatest tribute should go to those men who took this great ship to fight against the Japanese in World War II. It was those men who would later become known as "The Greatest Generation."

I had the opportunity to visit the Navy carrier recently and I came away from that experience very impressed. There is no way that I can include, in this limited space, all the things that this proud ship has accomplished - so, I will just try to hit the highlights and then encourage folks to go tour this massive instrument of war and see for themselves.
 Corpus Christie TX - USS Lexington, F-14 Tomcat fighter plane
An F-14 Tomcat fighter plane displayed on the flight deck
Photo by Murray Montgomery, August 2018
USS Lexington (CV-16) is the second carrier to be so named. The first one was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea while this ship was being built. When the shipyard workers learned that the first Lexington had been lost, they petitioned the Navy to allow them to use that name on the new ship; that request was granted.

The new Lexington was launched on Sept. 23, 1942, and it would not be long before she would see a lot of combat and would also acquire a nickname from the Japanese along the way. It seems that the ship was the only carrier in the Navy that was painted a blue-gray color; because she had been reported sunk four times and reappeared, the Japanese begin to call her "The Blue Ghost."
 Blue Ghost sign displayed onboard  USS Lexington
Blue Ghost sign displayed onboard USS Lexington
Photo by Murray Montgomery, August 2018
The Blue Ghost saw action at Kwajalein, Wake Island, Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf, just to name a few. The ship was torpedoed and also hit by kamikaze aircraft. Sailors died in these attacks but the ship continued to return to the fight.

You could very well call the USS Lexington (Lex) a floating city because that is exactly what she is - below decks you will find a mess hall, barbershop, hospital, optometrist, boiler room, and crew quarters to sleep over 1,500.

USS Lexington's flight deck is more than two acres, her electrical power plant could light a city of 150,000 people. The Lex can sail 30,000 miles without refueling, and she has 5,000 telephones onboard.

Lex was the first aircraft carrier to have women stationed onboard (1980); first to establish a sea-going high school (1967); first foreign carrier to enter Tokyo Bay; first U.S. Navy carrier to deploy surface-to-air missiles.
 Corpus Christie TX - on the bridge of USS Lexington
On the bridge of USS Lexington
Photo by Murray Montgomery, August 2018
As I mentioned before, there is so much more to learn about the USS Lexington that folks need go check it out. This ship is a historic treasure and the people of Texas should be proud that we have it based here. This floating museum receives no federal or state funding. It exists solely on grants, donations, and ticket sales. Maintaining and running the day-to-day operations is on an all-volunteer basis.

The USS Lexington maintains a very informative web site and I encourage you to check it out. There is so much more to learn. Go to: https://usslexington.com/


Murray Montgomery September 1, 2018 Column
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