Saturday, February 25, 2012

USS Lexington

Once we finished with the Texas State Aquarium, it was a short walk over to the USS Lexington, a World War II vintage aircraft carrier.  It sits permanently now in Corpus Christi bay and is referred to as the "Museum on the Bay." 

The propeller displayed by the entry wasn't taken from the Lexington, but is 11 feet in diameter.  The propellers on the Lexington are 15 feet in diameter and there are 4 of them.

USS Lexington

Blue Angel plane


Cyndi as a gunner

You walk up a loooooong concrete ramp to get to the ship itself.  It's very large and impressive.  There are signs everywhere along the way, explaining what you are seeing.  The Hangar deck, into which you enter, is where the planes we garaged when not on the flight deck.  Today, it hosts all kinds of exhibits.

Sid as a gunner
Memorial to all the sailors buried at sea
George Bush Sr's plane, flown in WWII

Cyndi in the brig
There were a lot of "model" ships, scale models built and donated by various people.  Many artifacts from WWII and multiple other ships were included throughout the ship.  Also on the Hangar deck was an IMAX theater, which showed a really interesting movie about a pilot participating in a Red Flag exercise out of Nellis AFB, Nevada.  It said that a fighter pilot's chances of survival rise dramatically if they survive the first ten missions of their career.  The Red Flag exercise is designed to simulate, very realistically, those first ten missions.
We got to go from the top of the ship (the bridge, where the captain does captain things!) to the very bowels in the engine room and many places in between.   The ship is like a self contained city, with all the services necessary to maintain over 1500 crew.  Here are some of the highlights.

Captain's living/dining room.  This is where he entertains heads of state and other important people.

Captain's kitchen

Junior officer's quarters

Looking out one of the portholes


Mural in barbershop

Japanese Rising Sun flag.  There are signatures of 92 Kamikaze pilots that were penned during their funeral rites performed prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Female quarters.  Of course, during WWII and after, women were prohibited from serving aboard a warship.  After Vietnam, the ship was used as a training vessel and women were then allowed aboard.
The galley
Everything in the galley - well, on the whole ship, really - was labeled with black stencils.  I would think a cook could tell the difference between a freezer and a stove, but I guess you never know!

Dental office

All this brass was kept highly polished, in the day.

WWII ready room where pilots were briefed on the mission and waited to begin.

Full steam ahead! on the bridge
Looking from the bridge down to the flight deck
This picture of the stairs doesn't really represent how narrow and STEEP they really were.

Machine shop
An escalator was installed in the 50's because the pilots uniform and gear became so heavy it was easier for them to get to the flight deck this way.
The original ship's bell
The runway on the flight deck
About midway into the self-guided tour we ate lunch on the ship - just a snack bar, really.
The ship's restaurant
There was lots and lots more to see and, even though we spent about 3 hours on board, we didn't get to read about everything that was displayed.  We were so tired from walking around all day at the Aquarium and the Lexington that we took a shuttle back to the street.

Shuttle from ship to street

That was it for the day.  We headed back to the trailer.  I had put something in the crockpot for dinner and it's a good thing, because I was too tired to cook.

'Til next time.....

No comments: