The Lady Lex Finds Rest in Corpus Christi

              Published by the La Vernia News on May 30, 2013

                The Blue Ghost Lives On

     As she sits there in all her glory, moored to a specially constructed pier on Corpus Christi Beach, you cannot help but be in awe of this magnificent piece of history. No matter from what direction you approach, you won’t miss her. She is tall, and a powerful image, painted in original combat colors and appears ready to once again report for duty. She is photogenic without a doubt. She is the USS Lexington.

                      War Stories


      Today, though not to be called out to sea again, Lady Lex rests in wait, standing guard over her beloved city of Corpus Christi, Texas that served as her port of call on several occasions in her illustrious career. When on duty, she was a city unto herself, housing over 3,000 combat personnel and over 60 airplanes during World War II. The USS Lexington, an Essex-class aircraft carrier, was commissioned on February 17, 1943 and was the fifth U.S. Naval vessel to bear this name. The Lexington saw extensive action in the Pacific, serving with distinction in numerous sea campaigns, most notably acting as the Flagship for Admiral Marc Mitscher who led the Fast Carrier Task Force through their battles across the Pacific. Thousands of air sorties were flown off her deck with many successful missions in support of the massive naval and air armada. Can you image lumbering down an extremely short runway (1/3 of 910 feet for take-off role) at a very slow airspeed, loaded down with thousands of pounds of ordnance, hoping and praying that you will have enough lift to get off the flight deck. Wow! That took some guts!


     The Japanese labeled the Lexington as the “Ghost” ship since she would always reappear after reportedly being sunk four times. She was, in fact, damaged several times in fierce combat, but managed to limp into Pearl Harbor for almost miraculous repairs and back at sea in record time. The crew of the Lexington referred to her as the “The Blue Ghost,” because her dark blue camouflage paint scheme would make her appear ghostly at dusk.

     After war’s end, the Lexington went through several retrofits to accommodate the onset of the jet age, and was reclassified as an attack carrier, and again reclassified as an antisubmarine carrier. For nearly 30 years she spent her time as a training carrier at various naval installations.

            Floating Memorial

   The Lexington was decommissioned in 1991 after an active tour of duty longer than any other Essex-class ship. Because she set more records than any other aircraft carrier in U.S. Naval history, this 16 deck, 33,000-ton vessel serves as an important repository of historical information. Therefore, she is regarded as a memorial to those whose service to our country is cherished. Now fully restored and forever to remain in mint condition, she serves as the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.


     The Lady Lex is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Entrance fees range from $8.95 to 13.95. A $1 off coupon is available on-line. There is a parking lot directly across from the Lexington (fee $3.50) and a shuttle runs from the shore to the entrance of the museum. You can also choose to walk up the long ramp. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes; there are a lot of steps to climb inside this mega ship. You enter through Hangar Bay #3, which is designed to be the hub of the museum and the starting point for five distinct tours. Pick up a map at the entrance that explains each of the color-coordinated tours. There are two excellent presentations in the Joe Jessel 3D Mega Theater: Legends of Flight showing at 12:00 & 3:00 and Air Racers showing at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00 & 4:00; each runs 25 minutes.

    Self-guided tours are geared to allow you to go at your own pace. Traverse the seemingly endless passageways and bulkheads and for a moment become a Naval Aviator, scurrying from briefing room to the flight deck to man your combat aircraft. There are knowledgeable volunteers at most exhibits to assist visitors.  

                                                                                                               Color-Coded Tours


YELLOW 1 TOUR - FLIGHT DECK: Stroll this 910-foot long and 142-foot wide airport, see and touch numerous vintage aircraft. Climb up in the WWII 5”/38DP gun turret and experience the frightening sounds of war. From the flight deck, you can climb up to the Bridge to get the Captain’s perspective.

RED 2 TOUR - FOC’SLE: See how the anchors were raised and lowered.

BLUE 3 TOUR - GALLEY DECK: Combat Information/Air Traffic Control Center, Ready Rooms, Library, Admiral’s Quarters, the Captain’s in-port Quarters, the Blue Ghost and the Marianas Turkey Shoot Exhibits.

GREEN 4 TOUR - LOWER DECKS: Learn how the crew members lived onboard, the galley, barber shop, post office, medical facilities, engine room, chapel, and POW Exhibit.

PURPLE 5 TOUR - THE HANGAR DECK: Entrance, the ship’s bell, the Joe Jessel Mega Theater, Flight Simulator, WWII aircraft, the Mess Deck Cafe and ship’s store. The kid in all of us will love the Virtual Battle Stations where dogfights, combat action and carrier landings can be experienced.

                                                              She is a Tribute

      Much has been written about this grand lady and the service she provided so long ago, in places so far away, in a war that if not won would have set mankind back a thousand years. The Lexington lies moored in perpetuity in Corpus Christi Bay, as a symbol of bravery and dedication of the men and women who fought and died in the defense of freedom. 

Everyday Journeys

       Harry and Linda Kaye Perez

                               For More Information:

USS Lexington at 2914 N. Shoreline Blvd. Corpus Christi, Texas 78403. You can call (361) 888-4873 or their Website:


   © Harry Perez 2012