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Aviation History And Aircraft Photography
USS Lexington CV-16
Museum On The Bay
Corpus Christi, Texas

USS Lexington

The Carrier: 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 Museum: 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.

USS Lexington
USS Lexington
USS Lexington

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