USS Lexington

The USS Lexington was constructed in the 1920s as a battlecruiser and then converted into one of the first aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy in 1922. Birmingham native Noel Gayler earned three Navy Cross medals while serving as a fighter pilot on the carrier. During World War II, the Lexington helped derail a Japanese plan to invade the Australian territory of Port Moresby, New Guinea, at the Battle of the Coral Sea (during which Gayler earned his third Navy Cross), but the ship suffered bomb and torpedo damage and was abandoned and scuttled.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy

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