Detail & Scale 29 - USS Lexington 1943-1987

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Detail & Scale 29 - USS Lexington 1943-1987

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<p>D ~ T A I L &amp; SCALE .SERIESThe "Detail &amp;Scale" series of publications wasthe first to focus its attention on the many physicaldetails of aircraft, such as cockpit interiors, radarand avionics installations, armament, landing gear,wheel wells, and ejection seats. These details arecovered more thoroughly than in any other series,and are presented in the form of close-upphotography and line drawings. Special considera-tion is given to the detail differences between thevariants and subvariants of the aircraft.This detailed coverage is supplemented withscale drawings that show five full views. Charts andtables provide extensive amounts of technical data,making this series one of the most completetechnical references on aircraft that is available.Although a brief historical summary is alwayspresented, it is not intended to be all inclusive. Itwill, however, provide the most important dates andevents in the development and operational life ofeach aircraft.For scale modelers, a complete modeler's sec-tion is provided that reviews all the presentlyavailable scale model kits of the aircraft, and coversthe decals available for these kits. Other featuressuch as how to do conversions and how to makekit corrections are also often included.The "Detail &amp;Scale" series is detailed, tech-nical, and accurate, providing the most com-prehensive coverage of this nature that is availableanywhere in aviation publications.ABOUT THE AUTHORBert Kinzey, author and president of Detail &amp;Scale, Inc., was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1945.The following year his family moved to Blacksburg,Virginia where his father became a professor of ar-chitecture at Virginia Tech (VPI). Until he was aboutsix years old, Bert was often frightened by the loudpiston-driven military fighters that sometimes flewlow over his home while he was outside playing. Onmore than one occasion he came running into thehouse extremely frightened by an aircraft that hadjust flown over.His father took him to the VPI airport, wherecadets were learning to fly on J-3 Piper Cubs, andarranged for him to go for a flight. Bert sat on hisfather's lap for a short trip around Blacksburg, andthat forever ended his fear of airplanes. Later, Bert'sfather built a balsa and tissue model of the J-3 Cub,and Bert's interest in modeling began.Bert's fear of aircraft soon gave way to a love ofaviation, and he began scale modeling. Bert lookedat modeling (and still does) not as a hobby in andof itself, but as a small facet of his overall interestThe author in the rear seat of an F-5F after returningfrom a Red Flag mission.in aviation.In 1959 his family moved to Gainesville, Florida,where his aviation interest took second place to histrumpet playing in high school. In 1964, he graduatedfrom P.K. Yonge High School and returned toVirginia Tech specifically to fulfill his lifetime dreamto be in the Virginia Tech Regimental Band-The"Highty Tighties."Upon graduation he was commissioned a sec-ond lieutenant in the Army, and he spent almosteight years as an army officer. During this time hecommanded a Hawk guided missile battery inKorea and later wrote and taught classes in air-power, the Soviet air threat, and air defense sup-pression at the Army's Air Defense School at Ft.Bliss, Texas.In August 1976, he resigned from active dutyin the Army, but his reputation as beingknowledgeable in all aspects of military airpower ledto a job offer as a civilian with the Department ofthe Army. He served in this position for four yearsas a "subject matter expert" in military airpowerand was responsible for the development of the Ar-my's new program on aircraft identification, the firstin the world to feature dynamic simulation. Duringthis time he started Detail &amp; Scale as a part-timebusiness to provide detailed reference material onmilitary aircraft.Detail &amp;Scale became so successful that Bertresigned from his position with the Army to devotefull time to his new company. Since then he haswritten several books as well as articles for severalmagaZines. He is also an avid modeler and memberof the International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS).In July 1982, he was presented with a special awardby IPMS/USA in recognition for his contributions tothe society. He is also a member of the AmericanAviation Historical Society, and the Aviation andSpace Writers Association.As a youngster who feared airplanes, it is ironicthat Bert should now be so involved with aviation.He is a licensed pilot, and lives with his wife, Lyn-da, and their two children, Jan and Chip, inPeachtree City, Georgia, near Atlanta.DETAIL I SCALE'S FIRST VOLUME ON A SHIPin detail and scaleBert KinzeyAirlife Publishing Ltd.EnglandCOPYRIGHT 1988 BY DETAIL &amp; SCALE, INC.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, stored ina retrieval system or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise,except in a review, without the written consent of Detail &amp; Scale, Inc.This book is a product of Detail &amp; Scale, Inc., which has sole responsibility for its con-tent and layout, except that all contributors are responsible for the security clearanceand copyright release of all materials submitted. Published and distributed in theUnited States by TAB BOOKS, Inc., and in Great Britain and Europe by AirlifePublishing, Ltd.CONTRIBUTORS &amp;SOURCES:Photographs with no credit indicated were taken by the author.Questions regarding the content of this bookshould be addressed to:LTJG (SW) Jennifer Boyd, USS LEXINGTONPhotographic Section, USS LEXINGTONLarry GertnerRay CollinsNational ArchivesDepart of Defense Still Media Records CenterU.S. NavyBritish Library Cataloging InPublication Data:Kinzey, BertU.S.S. Lexington -- (Detail and scaleseries; v.29).1. Aircraft carriers -- United States.I. Title II. Series623.8'55'0973 U874.3ISBN 1-85310-606-2First published in Great Britain in 1987by Airlife Publishing Ltd.7 St. John's Hill, Shrewsbury, SY1 1JEFIRST EDITIONFIRST PRINTINGISBN 0-8306-8039-X (pbk.) : $8.951. Lexington (Aircraft carrier: 1943- ) I. Title.VA65.L4K56 1988359.3'255--dc19 87-26772Library of Congress Cataloging inPublication Data:Kinzey, Bert.USS Lexington I by Bert Kinzey.cm. -- (Detail &amp; Scale; vol. 29)Published in United States byTAB BOOKS Inc.Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17294-0214Reader Inquiry BranchTAB BOOKS Inc.Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17294-0214Front cover: The USS LEXINGTON is the last operational unit of the ESSEX class of carriers that were designed justprior to World War II, and were modernized in the 1950s. This is AVT-16 as she appears today during operations in theGulf of Mexico. The photograph was taken in May 1987.\Rear cover: LEXINGTON's final World War II scoreboard is shown in this rare color photograph from 1945. Trophy flagsfor Air Groups 16,19,20,9, and 94 are visible, as are tonnage figures for naval and merchant shipping. Kills and assistsby the ship's guns are also included at right. Below the scores is a listing of all the actions in which LEXINGTONparticipated, and to the right of that is a total score for the LEXINGTON as of September 1945. The white ducks havenumbers in them indicating the number of aircraft destroyed on the ground. Included in the totals are 387 aircraftdestroyed in the air, 635 aircraft destroyed on the ground, 588,000 tons of naval vessels sunk or damaged, and 497,000tons of merchant shipping sunk or damaged. (USS LEXINGTON)FOREWORDCaptain Haywood G. "Woodie" Sprouse enlisted inthe Navy Reserve in 1956 while still in high school. Fol-lowing active duty as an Aviation Electronics TechnicianPetty Officer, Captain Sprouse was selected for flighttraining. In 1961, he was commissioned an Ensign anddesignated a naval aviator.The Denver, Colorado, native has commanded VA-165, an A-6E squadron on board the USS CONSTELLA-TION, CV-64, Carrier Air Wing 15, embarked on board theUSS KITTY HAWK, CV-63, and the USS WICHITA, AOR-1. Prior to assuming command of the USS LEXING TON,he completed the Navy's first battleship battle groupdeployment with the USS NEW JERSEYas ChiefofStaff,Cruiser-Destroyer Group One.Captain Sprouse has more than 5,000 flight hours and1,000 carrier arrested landings while flying fourteen typesof naval aircraft. He is one of a very few naval aviators tohave made deployments in all three types of naval attacksquadrons--light, medium, and heavy. Captain Sprousegraciously consented to write the foreword for this book.As the current Commanding Officer of the USS LEX-INGTON, I was very pleased to be asked to write theforeword for Detail &amp; Scale's book on this historic ship.This book represents more than just a close examinationof a specific ship; it is a chronology of a class of aircraftcarriers that now numbers only one--USS LEXINGTON.To the naval historian, it will come as no surprise that ofthe twenty-four ESSEX class carriers built during andafter World War II, only LEXI NGTON remains in commis-sion. To the layman, the demise of the ESSEX class car-rier went unnoticed. It was as if one day they were there,and the next day they were gone.During the Second World War, the ESSEX class carri-ers carried more aircraft and larger weapons loads, andwent further and faster than any of their predecessors.They were larger than any of the older carriers except forthe earlier USS LEXINGTON, CV-2, and her sister, USSSARATOGA, CV-3. Though many, including LEXING-TON, sustained combat damage, none were lost. Thenames of those ESSEX class carriers still stir the emo-tions of thousands of Americans who served on them asship's company orthe embarked air group: BON HOMMERICHARD, WASP, YORKTOWN, SHANGRI-LA, ESSEX,HORNET, TICONDEROGA, FRANKLIN, and so manyothers. The last of the CVA's, the USS HANCOCK, wasstricken from the fleet in 1976.Now, as then, the LEXINGTON is manned by a crewwith an average age of just less than twenty-one. Timehas added a new dimension to the manning. We now havewomen in the crew: 158 sailors, three chief petty officers,and sixteen officers to be exact. The women range in rankfrom seaman to lieutenant commander, and hold manyjobs that traditionally had been exclusively male. Theyare doing a superb job.As the Navy's only training carrier, LEXINGTONshoulders this time-consuming responsibility for ourCaptain H. G. "Woodie" Sprouse, USN, is the presentcommanding officer of the USS LEXINGTON, AVT-16.rUSS LEXINGTON)large-deck carriers, freeing them to carry out their opera-tional missions. Each year, LEXINGTON spends up to140 days at sea, usually in the Gulf of Mexico, providing aflight deck for the initial carrier qualifications of studentnaval aviators. Additionally, the LEXINGTON fills gaps infleet pilot carrier qualifications by providing a deck forfleet and fleet replacement A-6 and A-7 squadrons.It is comforting to know that the initial investment ofdollars and sweat required to build LEXINGTON con-tinues to pay dividends. The latest long range planningcalls for LEXINGTON to remain in commission until thetwenty-first century--a fitting tribute to the men andwomen who served and maintained "The Blue Ghost" forover forty-fou r years.For the crew and the Lady Lex past and present, I amhappy to thank Bert Kinzey for the -time and effort thatwent into the publication of this book.-H.G.SPROUSECAPTAIN, U.S. NAVYCOMMANDING OFFICER3INTRODUCTIONThe USS LEXINGTON, GV-16, was the second aircraft carrier of the ESSEX class to be commissioned. Once in service,she participated in almost every major engagement in the Pacific from September 1943 until the end of the war. Onlytwice during that time did she return to the United States, once for repairs, and a second time for an overhaul. Becauseof the fact that she never was painted in a "dazzle" camouflage scheme, she became known as "The Blue Ghost." Onfour separate occasions the Japanese reported sinking her, which is quite an exaggeration, since only twice did shereceive significant damage in combat. This photograph was taken as the ship prepared to launch a strike in April 1944.F6F Hellcats, TBF Avengers, and SBD Dauntless dive bombers can be seen on the deck. (National Archives)The first twenty-eight volumes in the Detail &amp; ScaleSeries were all on some of the most famous aircraft inaviation history. In Volume 29, the USS LEXINGTONbecomes the first ship to be the subject of the familiarDetail &amp; Scale format. The announcement that shipswould be included in this series was met with an enthusi-asm that was even better than expected. But a few peoplequestioned why the LEXINGTON was to be the first shipcovered. Those who asked this question thought that amodern nuclear-powered carrier such as the USS NIM-ITZ (CVN-68) or the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) mightbe a more fitting choice. While these supercarriers maywell be the subjects of future volumes, the LEXINGTONclearly should be the first ship to be included in the Detail&amp; Scale Series.Most students of U.S. Naval history would probablyselect the first carrier ENTERPRISE (CV-6) as the mostsignificant aircraft carrier in history. But certainly theUSS LEXINGTON, which was launched as CV-16 onJune 16, 1942, is a close second. She has served theUnited States longer and has set more records than anyother carrier in the history of naval aviation. Known as"The Blue Ghost," her service record in World War II wasexceeded only by that of the ENTERPRISE. Then, com-pletely modernized, she began her post-war service in1955. Today she remains the only ESSEX class carrier inservice. She has been designated CVA, CVS, CVT, andAVT during this post-war period. As this book is written,LEXINGTON is closing in on her500,000th arrested land-ing, a record that undoubtedly will never be equaled byany other car...</p>