USS Lexington: The Blue Ghost Serves As A Blue Lodge

The names are iconic--Enterprise, Yorktown, Intrepid, Ticonderoga, Hornet, and of course Lexington. Legendary ships of the Navy. These ships have fought for our freedom in many different eras, in different forms, and in different wars all over the world. 

One of the most famous, is the USS Lexington, and she served America in many incarnations.  She started as a brigantine during the American Revolution, served as a gunboat during the American Civil War, and  was later resurrected as one of America's first aircraft carriers (although originally designed as a destroyer).  That USS Lexington (CV-2) was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942, and quickly replaced with the ship that soon became legendary.  The last USS Lexington (CV-16) was an Essex-class aircraft carrier, and would soon be known as "The Blue Ghost."  She served between 1943 and 1992.  And the USS Lexington is still around today.

Like a few more of the famous ships from World War II, Lady Lex now serves as a floating museum in Corpus Christi, Texas. If you've never had a chance to visit one of these World War II aircraft carriers, it is well worth the trip.  You'll find the USS Yorktown at Patriot's Point in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. You'll find the USS Hornet at Alameda Point, California, and the USS Midway at San Diego.  They have lived long lives, many serving later in Korea, and Vietnam, and many other places across the globe in the years since World War II.  If you take the time to visit, it's something you're not likely to soon forget.

I've visited a few of these remarkable ships over the years, most recently, Valerie and I visited the USS Yorktown.  Each time I visit one of these remarkable ships, I am amazed by the sheer size of them, awed by their history and the fact they survived the punishment that was inflicted on them during World War II and the wars they've seen since.  I'm also inspired by the dedicated men that served on them (more than 225,000 sailors served aboard the USS Midway alone during her long career).  Visiting one of these ships is a rare opportunity to touch history in a unique way.  To walk across decks that were raked by the guns of Japanese Zeros.  To see scars still visible even after repairs from torpedoes, and Kamikaze attacks--and knowing the cost in lives on both sides of the war. 

The USS Lexington has an interesting history.  She was the only aircraft carrier in World War II that wasn't painted in camoflage.  She was instead painted deep blue, and this was an enticement to the Japanese to sink her.  The Japanese repeatedly tried to sink the USS Lexington.  So sure were they of her destruction, that no less than four times, the Japanese reported the USS Lexington sunk, and yet, it would later be learned the USS Lexington was still there.  It led Tokyo Rose to begin calling the Lexington "The Blue Ghost."  Throughout the war in the Pacific, the Japanese kept trying, but they never sank the USS Lexington.  They tried at the Kwajalein Raid, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and again at the Marianas Turkey Shoot, to no avail.  The Lexington preservered, and continued to inflict damage on the Japanese until the end of the war. 

The Lexington is an amazing ship with an amazing history, and I've wanted to write a story about these great American ships for awhile now.  An article on Chris Hodapp's Freemasons for Dummies blog gave me the perfect tie-in.  

On Saturday the 30th of April On Saturday, April 30th, Oso Naval Lodge No. 1282 in Corpus Christi, Texas will confer the Master Mason degree aboard the U.S.S. Lexington.   It's the first time a Masonic degree has been performed on board the aircraft carrier since she was docked in at Corpus Christi in 1992.

Imagine what it would be like to receive your third degree in Masonry aboard such a historic ship?  Or even attend that degree?  Whether watching the degree or receiving it, I'll bet nobody ever forgets the degree aboard the legendary "Blue Ghost."

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