||This is actually the second
Lexington aircraft carrier. CV-2 was sunk at the Battle Of Coral Sea
early in World War II. CV-16 was built as the USS Cabot, but was
renamed just before she launched in the fall of 1942. The name Cabot
was given to the light carrier CVL-28 a year later.
The Lexington operated in the Pacific during the war. She was hit by
torpedo in December of 43. As the Lex sailed for Pearl Harbor, the
Japanese announced she had been sunk. The Lex was reported sunk a
second time in April of 44 in a raid where she hadn't even taken damage.
In October of 44, in the Leyte Gulf, the Lexington sunk three Japanese
carriers in one day, the Chitose, Zukkako, and Zuiho. In the battle,
the Lexington took a Kamikaze hit to the island, after which, the
Japanese again claimed she was sunk.
The Lexington was put in mothballs until 1953, when she was refit with
the angled flight deck. She operated in the Pacific until 1960, when
she was ordered to Pensacola to become the Navy's training carrier.
But as she arrived in the Atlantic, the Cuban Missile Crisis broke
out, and the Lex was on patrol until December of 1963. The Lexington
served as the Navy training carrier until 1991. Her boilers were
essentially worn out, and it was less costly to substitute another
ship than to refit the Lex.
||The USS Lexington is anchored
just north of downtown Corpus Christi, Texas. Go to the end of I-37,
take a left of US-181, cross a medium sized bridge, and the Lexington
will be the first (and only) aircraft carrier on your right. There is
pay parking available, but it is somewhat limited, so get there early
during peak season time. The parking is reasonable at $3 for the whole
day. The tours have lots of steep stairs, so pick your tours carefully
if you have limited mobility, and pace yourself if you want to do all
of the tours. There is also a nice collection of aircraft, many of
which are on the flight deck. The deck can be windy, and it is not
air conditioned like the rest of the ship, so visit the flight deck
early in the day.