She's big. She's bad. She was reported sunk 4 times. The USS Lexington checks in at as one of the most decorated ships in WW2 history. She was commissioned in February of 1943 and saw extensive battles in the Pacific. Throughout the war the Japanese reported her sunk four times. They nicknamed her " The Blue Ghost" because of her mysterious return to battles following the reports. At 27,000 tons and 872 feet in length, The Blue Ghost checks in as one tremendous piece war equipment that proved to help turn the tides against the Japanese.
On each flank and rear corners were a pair of 3 inch 50 cal guns. The actual measurement of the shells were 3 inches in diameter which then traveled down a 150 inch barrel. These were mainly used as anti-aircraft weapons. A 34 lb shell would be loaded into the chamber and fired by the gunner through a set of iron sights. The 1.27 pound bullet would then travel up to 8 miles in order to strike it's target. Not the type of thing you want to be on the receiving end of.
Add to that the astounding 8 inch 55 cal main turrets that were located front and rear. This monster took a 260 lb shell and then delivered it with the help of two, yes two 45 lb bags of gunpowder behind it. Eighteen miles later that 260 lb ball of lead would end up in someone's lap.
Her tenacity as a weapon was further enhanced by the cargo it carried. As one of the largest Essex class aircraft carriers in the fleet it was no surprise that the most deadly bombers were strapped to her deck. Above is an example of a Vietnam era bomber that was launched from her deck. Why is this important? Following WW2 Lexington was decommissioned only to be re-commissioned in the early 1950's for the Korean conflict. She then continued to serve as an active carrier until 1991. This ship currently holds the record for the longest service tenure of any Navy vessel.
The self guided tour through the bowels of the ship didn't disappoint. Visitors are welcome to crawl arond through the vast ship unguided. Sure there were a few spots roped off, but for the most part it turned out to be a very intimate experience of how soldiers of the past created our lives for today. Is the US perfect? Not even close. But I will tell you this... when the national anthem is played I STAND for our flag.