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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The “USS LEXINGTON”…The Blue Ghost

Our tour of this magnificent old aircraft carrier was 6 hours of pure joy for me, since its heyday was in a time period of my younger life.

I’m not going to go into detail of its full history but have provided a link on Wikipedia that I think explains it well for those who are interested.. here

I will concentrate on showing the tour through the eyes of Ivan and myself as we scrambled around her decks and compartments.

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It was nice to have an early morning start with no crowds, and as it turned out as the day went on, that crowds were not a factor, making it an enjoyable and relaxing tour.

Early on, we entered the Joe Jessel mega theatre,at the forward end of the hanger deck to watch an I-Max movie called “Fighter Pilot”which being my first I-max movie,had me wide eyed and excited.(I don't get out much)SmileIt was all about training exercises in the Nevada desert combining the fighter pilots of many countries,including our own,Canada.This had nothing to do with the Lex,but did set the stage for an interesting day……I must say we were both impressed as we felt like WE were sitting in the cockpit of the F16’s………I even thought that I had pulled a couple of G’s just sitting in my movie seat.

When the movie ended,our next visit was to go up to the flight deck,where they have many different vintage planes on display.

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Below is a shot taken inside one of the big gun turrets where Ivan is checking out the situation.Plus a little silly Willy photo op…Hey its my blog….I can do what I want.Winking smile

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Here’s another…..so Nah!..Don't you just love these photo op displays that they put up just waiting for turkeys like me to come along and embarrass myself.

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Up to the bridge for a look see,where I sit in the captains chair and Ivan is back behind me steering the ship…..Ivan! Your looking the wrong way…Remember what I said about kids in a candy store?

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Now a few views taken down on the hanger deck…A lot bigger than some of the hangers I worked in during my air force days.They had a nice little mess deck cafe at the rear of the hanger deck, so we grabbed some lunch to fortify for the coming afternoon.

Nearby was also a nice souvenir store where I bought my (been-there…done-that).. tee shirt.

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All 5 self guided tours started and ended on this hanger deck,so you could choose any tour at any time and go at your own pace and see the exhibits and learn of the ships history,and because it is a former US Navy vessel,the ship does have steep ladders,low overhangs and some hazards to look out for,and BOY! They weren't kidding.

Tour 1 covered the Flight Deck area

Tour 2 covered the Foc’sle….Quarters, exhibits and anchor equipment.

Tour 3 covered the Gallery Deck…Combat information centre,ready rooms,etc.

Tour 4 covered the lower decks,engine room,sick bay,dental clinic,crews galley,mine exhibit and more.

Tour 5 covered the hanger deck.

There was so much to see that after awhile we realized that to do this ships 5 tours properly,you almost need to spend 2 days here…..That is if you like to read and really look at everything they had on display.We even stopped snapping pictures after awhile as it was becoming overwhelming……Below are some random shots that we did take……Captains Cabin.

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Control Centre,and Junior Officer Quarters.

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This Foc’sle section was also a movie set used in the movie “Pearl Harbor”for a scene taken on a Japanese ship.

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We were amazed at the sick bay and dental clinic as to the large size of these areas,and so well equipped,but by this time we stopped taking pictures and just took it all in.There was just too much to absorb…..And thank goodness for all the signs directing you because it is really easy to get lost with all the compartments and passageways…Hell I get lost just coming out of a mall by a different door.

The right hand photo below is a view of a very small portion of the engine room.

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Finally a little piece of her history below.

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With a little more explanation below.

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And there’s the spot up there with the Japanese flag.

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So with that I say goodbye old Lex….It was a pleasure and an honour to visit you.

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4 comments:

  1. Willy are we really getting that old, I served aboard the USS Shangri-La, a sister Essex class carrier in 1967 she decommosioned in 1972, she looked about the same except for the number, you documented you tour very well, another sister USS intrepid is on display on the Hudson River in New York City. A lot of history between these two.Thanks for the meories, your friend Sam..

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  2. Thanks for the outstanding tour. I fully understand being overwhelmed when you visit one of these floating goliaths. I have not visited this ship but now it is on my “must see” list.


    John
    relaxedrush.blogspot.com

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  3. Nice tour & Pics WW. Always amazes me how things that big with that much steel actually can float in water. I would really enjoy a tour like that but would have to leave my cameras at home or I would literally 'go overboard' in the photo department. I know what life aboard a military vessel is like & for sure know about those steep ladders, low bulkheads, narrow hatchways & anything that will take a nick out of your skull, will!! Ray, a fellow in our Elfrida Photo Group spent 23 years in the American Navy with a lot of those years on Carriers in Vietnam. He has a hearing loss now attributable to the many hours of Jet engines on flight decks. Looks like you guys had a great day. Put a little sailor suit on that TBM's rear gunner & I think you would have a good photo of Popeye the Sailor Man...boop boop:))

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  4. Thanks for the great tour and a flash back to our visit several years ago. I am glad that these ladies have been preserved for future generations.

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