My recent journeys had me in South Texas which compelled me to make a stop in Corpus Christie, Texas to visit the USS LEXINGTON. If you want to see first hand how the brave men who served aboard these Essex class carriers lived and worked, you need to visit the USS Lexington Museum.
The tours of the ship are self guided, but you can request a volunteer guide to escort you or your group. They also offer a behind the scenes tour known as a “Hard Hat Tour” which will take you deeper into the ship which are not normally visited by the public. Well worth the time and extra costs…just remember to take a flashlight as these spaces do not have lighting. I suggest you get one of those lights that clips onto the brim of a baseball cap as well as a small light you can hold in your hand.
The normal tour areas are well lit, but those off the public tour are dark often with zero light other than what is in your hand. Taking pictures in complete darkness even using your cameras flash is hard due to the camera not being able to focus on something it can’t even see. The spaces are cramped, narrow and filled with tripping and head banging hazards…hence the need for a hard hat.
Your senses are keen to what it would have been like on this ship as you make your way through the passageways and compartments. Climbing up and down the steep ladders always aware that one misstep could result in injury or even death really sinks home the life the brave men dealt with each and every day. A ship is a living breathing machine and as such can be either pleasant or mean depending on her mood and that of the sea.
Some of these areas are still functioning, such as those that supply power and communication throughout the ship. Here are a few images which I snapped during our tour of those areas.
So whether your into building models of naval aircraft or ships, touring the USS LEXINGTON will serve as inspiration for your project. It will also give you a greater appreciation of those who served during those difficult times of war.