We saw her first, in all her magnificence, from the bridge.
The USS LEXINGTON, also known as the Blue Ghost.
This ship was nicknamed the Blue Ghost by none other than Japan’s Tokyo Rose. The name was given because it is the only Essex class carrier painted with the blue/gray paint scheme.
Tokyo Rose reported on her radio show numerous times that the Lexington had been sunk. Of course each time she was proven wrong. Tokyo Rose then nicknamed the ship the Blue Ghost because it came back fighting time and time again.
This much decorated World War II vintage air craft carrier is now a museum in Corpus Christi, Texas.
To give you an idea of how big that propeller is, if I stood in front of the sign the top of my head would just come to the bottom of letters of the words on the second line…Museum on the Bay. Trust me, it’s big.
To really see everything the USS Lexington has to offer you would have to spend five to six hours aboard. We didn’t give it that much time. We’ve been on other air craft carriers of this vintage and quite frankly, unless you are an aircraft, ship or war history aficionado a couple of hours is plenty. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all kind of fits in here. Besides, the steps from deck to deck are practically vertical and not much more than ladders. To live on this ship one would have to be as fit as the proverbial fiddle.
Oh yeah, we checked out the galley, the captain’s quarters, the engine room and a few other points of interest but spent the majority of our time on the flight deck.
Did you know that the USS Lexington…..
- has more telephones than a town of 5000 residents
- has more sleeping accommodations than the largest hotel in the world
- can supply enough electricity for a town of 150,000
- the flight deck can park more than 1000 cars
- the flight deck is big enough that three (3) football games can be played at the same time
- the flight deck is big enough that fourteen (14) basketball games can be played at the same time
A look at her flight deck from the air. This deck holds 90 aircraft.
(This picture is a US Navy photograph I copied from the Historic Naval Ships Association website)
Ninety aircraft. Even though we walked the length of this deck that is just hard to believe. I guess when you take into account that the wings of the planes fold up, well, I guess that would make a difference.
There were all kinds of planes and helicopters on display.
I’m familiar with jungle camouflage and desert camouflage but I didn’t know cloud camouflage even existed until today.
The Lexington, commissioned in February of 1943, is 910 feet long and 142 feet at her widest.
As big as she is, her hallways are narrow!
There is also a 3 story mega screen movie theater on board. (Think IMAX) The movie tells the story of the Blue Ghost.
Movies. The USS Lexington has made TV and motion picture appearances. In 1975 and 1987, the Lexington, with the blessing and cooperation of the Navy, served as a filming location at sea. The films were the feature movie Midway and the TV miniseries War and Remembrance. In both cases the ship was altered to resemble other vessels, the USS Enterprise (for War and Remembrance) and USS Yorktown (for Midway) by adding anti-aircraft cannons and operating World War II vintage Navy aircraft. Lexington was also used (though tied up to her pier) for filming of the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, where she was altered to resemble a Japanese carrier
This ship has quite the service record. She was engaged in numerous engagements during World War II, where she earned eleven (11) battle stars. She was pressed into service again during the 1958 Lebanon crisis and again in the Middle East. In between times she served to avert crisis’ and as a training ship.
Yes, we’re glad we got to visit this mighty ship turned museum. We’re glad she wasn’t scrapped or sunk. If you are ever in Corpus Christi it would be well worth your time to tour the USS Lexington.
From here we went to Pier 99 for some adult refreshments. This was an open air bar with funny signs and out of state license plates displayed.
It was an interesting day and we’re both glad we decided to spend it the way we did.
When we got home Bob went fishing out on the pier and did pretty good. Of course, everything got thrown back.