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CV-9 ESSEX Class

The numerous World War II vintage Essex-class carriers served over a span of nearly half a century in various configurations and at least half a dozen roles as the core of the US postwar fleet. Many of the ships were extensively modified in later years, with many boasting a reinforced angle flight deck and a mirror landing system to accomodate jet aircraft as a result of Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) upgrades. The conversions included a hurricane bow and the installation of an angled flight deck which permits the simultaneous launching and recovery of aircraft.

The USS Essex (CV 9) was placed out of commission in reserve on 09 January 1947. The first of the World War II carriers to do so, she then underwent modernization which gave her a new flight deck, and a streamlined island superstructure. On 04 June 1947 the CNO approved Project 27A by which Essex-class carriers were modernized to be able to handle aircraft to 40,000 pounds and included the installation of two H-8 catapults, strengthening the flight deck and clearing it of guns, increasing elevator capacity and adding special provisions for jet aircraft such as blast deflectors. USS Oriskany (CV 34), the first of nine carriers modernized under this project, began conversion at the New York Naval Shipyard on 01 October 1947. USS Essex (CV 9) was recommissioned 16 January 1951, and on 23 August 1951 she went into combat in Korea, the first carrier to launch F2H Banshee twinjet fighters on combat missions.

On 01 February 1952 the CNO approved Project 27C, a modification of Project 27A. These changes included more powerful arresting gear, higher performance catapults, and a replacement of the number three centerline elevator with a deck-edge type of greater capacity. Three Essex-class carriers incorporating these modifications were completed under Project 27C.

On 12 January 1953 test operations begin on USS Antietam (CVA 36), which emerged in December 1952 from the New York Naval Shipyard as America's first angled-deck aircraft carrier.

The Lexington was commissioned on February 17, 1943, and was responsible for destroying over 1 million tons of shipping and more than 1,000 enemy planes during World War II. Tokyo Rose called the Lady Lex the `Blue Ghost' because of numerous reports of her sinking only to return to battle painted a blue-grey color which was different from the camouflage coloring of other naval vessels. After the Lex's brilliant stint during World War II, she was involved with the 7th Fleet off of Taiwan in 1958, and was on standby for the Laotian crisis of 1959, and served as an attack carrier during the Cuban missile crisis in 1963.

After the Cuban missile crisis, she sailed back to Pensacola to serve as an aviation training carrier. She was homeported in Pensacola since 1962 , where it served as the Navy's only aircraft carrier used exclusively for training. This important new role allowed her to train new student aviators and maintain the high state of flight training for active duty and reserve naval forces. In fact, her decks trained the Navy and Marine pilots who fought to preserve the peace in conflicts from the Vietnam war to the Persian Gulf war.

The training aircraft carrier USS LEXINGTON (AVT 16) operated out of Pensacola, providing deck-landing and takeoff experience for Naval aviation cadets for over 20 years prior to being decommissioned on 08 November 1991. When the Navy announced the decommissioning and retirement of the Lexington in 1991, several communities launched efforts to have the ship transferred to their respective areas for use as a naval museum and memorial. On February 18, 1992, the Secretary of the Navy notified the Congress of his intent to transfer the obsolete aircraft carrier Lexington to the Corpus Christi Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Displacement 27,100 tons
41,200 tons fully loaded as modified
Length 872 feet
910 feet as modified
Beam 147' 6"
Draft 28' 7"
Speed 33 knots
Crew 2,631-3,448


Number Name Builder Homeport Laid Down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned
CV 9Essex1941194219421947
CV 10Yorktown1941194319431947
CV 11Intrepid1941194319431947
CV 12Hornet1942194319431947
CV 13Franklin1942194319441947
CV 14Ticonderoga1943194419441947
CV 15Randolph1943194419441948
CV 16Lexington19411942194308 Nov 1991
CV 17Bunker Hill1941194219431947
CV 18Wasp1942194319431947
CV 19Hancock1943194319441947
CV 20Bennington1942194419441946
CV 21Boxer1943194419451959
CV 31Bon Homme Richard1943194419441947
CV 32Leyte1944194519461959
CV 33Kearsage1944194519461950
CV 34Oriskany1944194519501976
CV 35Reprisal1944--1945
CV 36Antietam1943194419451963
CV 37Princeton1943194519451949
CV 38Shangri-La1943194419441947
CV 39Lake Champlain1943194419451947
CV 40Tarawa1944194519451949
CV 45Valley Forge1944194519461961
CV 46Iwo Jima1945--1945
CV 47Phillipine Sea1944194519461969
CV 50----1945
CV 51----1945
CV 52----1945
CV 53----1945
CV 54----1945
CV 55----1945

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Thursday, February 25, 1999 12:42:08 PM