Commissioned in February 1943, the USS Lexington CV-16 was an Essex-class fleet carrier used by the US Navy during World War II and the Cold War. It was built in Quincy, Massachusetts, by Fore River Ship & Engine Building Company between 1941 and 1942.
Having arrived at Pearl Harbor in August 1943, the USS Lexington CV-16 joined the US Pacific Fleet to launch air strikes against the Japanese base on the Tarawa Atoll a couple of days before the US Marines landed on Betio (Tarawa). In late 1943, her aircraft attacked the Japanese naval base on Kwajalein Atoll, sinking a cargo ship, damaging two destroyers, and mauling more than 25 enemy aircraft on the ground.
In January 1944, the USS Lexington joined Task Force 58, under R Adm Marc Mitscher, taking part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea on June 19-20, during which the US naval aircraft shot down more than 500 japanese planes. On October 25, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, her dive bombers destroyed and sank the Imperial Japanese Navy fleet carrier Zuikaku, joining the USS Essex’s aircraft to sink Chitose, a light aircraft carrier. Before the war ended, she launched air attacks against Japanese air bases near Tokyo.
The USS Lexington CV-16 was decommissioned in 1947, but was recommissioned in 1955 as she was upgraded with a new island, steam catapults, and an angled flight deck, being redesignated CVA-16 (attack carrier). She remained in service during the Cold War, conducting many naval operations, until she was permanently phased out in 1991.
Her offensive weapons consisted of 100 aircraft, F6F Hellcats, SBD Dauntless, and TBF Avengers during World War II, and A-4 Skyhawks, F4 Phantom II, and F-14 Tomcat during the Cold War.
Length: 250 m (273 yd)
Beam: 28 m (30 yd)
Draft: 8.66 m
Displacement: 27,100 tons
Power plant: 4 Westinghouse steam turbines, with 4 shafts, and 8 boilers, delivering 150,000 hp
Speed: 33 knots
Crew: 2,600 sailors and officers