The Lex

On a trip to Corpus Cristy Texas with my wife and a friend of mine, we took a tour of the USS Lexington. My friend Danney had served on her from ’68 till ’72 as a Boiler Tech and he wanted to see her again and maybe go down in the bowels of that huge vessel to his old station about 5 decks below. He got on free sence he had served on her while Rosie and I paid the and fee and walked on board the 873 foot 24’580 ton flat top. To say she was BIG is an understatement; one link of the anchor chain wouldn’t fit in a five gallon bucket. Walking on to the 2nd deck you could play an NFL game with no problem. They told Danney to go to the Bridge and the ensign would announce his name and welcome him aboard over the intercom ( now hear this now hear this….). After we had toured the Vessel through most of the public areas and since he was a Boiler tech he was allowed special permission to go below where the boilers were. One of the guides took a flash light, (because it was off limits to the general public and there were no lights and nothing had been prepared for the public). Off they went, with me and Rosie in tow. We went down I think five or six decks to the engine room where he sometimes stood watch with the Turbine Engine Tech and then to a dark and dusty part that hadn’t been seen in a long time. We made it to Boiler Room #2 where he was Stationed and listened to how you had to keep all the Gauges exactly at the right place or else…he said the Engine room was so loud you had to use hand signals to communicate while the boiler room was so hot it was hard to breath. Everything was wrapped in asbestos, the turbines the boilers as well as the pipes and they ran in all directions. While standing in that place I wandered how many young men had to stand watch down in this hot as hell greasy deafening roar and hope a torpedo didn’t hit them today during the World War and Korean conflicts. My hats off to them and to the family’s who had to wait and pray they came home safe. USS_Lexington_(CVS-16)_underway_in_the_1960s.JPEG