I thought that was a much more catchy title, alliteration included, when talking about our trip through the Lexington in the early part of the month. We set up a tour with a guide to go all the way from the front of the ship to the back bottom of it. Our guide was on another carrier, worked in the engine room, and was very informative about the operation of the power plant.
We started our tour in the front starboard portion of the ship with a notation that each rib of the ship was numbered from the front to the back, so it was possible to know the location relative to the portion of the ship just by looking at the rib number. Further the ship was divided into three sections and each section had specific areas of work. These were designated on plaques fastened to the walls. The plaque would tell the section and the responsible party for that section.
We went to an elevator and looked at the hydrolic ram that would operate a 70,000 pound elevator. This was designed on a horizontal platform with the ram attached to a pulley and the cables running from under the ram, around the pulley, and out of the room. I contemplated the design for a moment and realized that this allowed half the movement of the ram as the actual elevator and required double the force to operate. Impressive. I could not get my arms around the cylinder.
We were shown the ammunition hold, actually one of several and the guide mentioned that the doors would be getting heavier, the closer to the hold we went. I asked about a pressure relief area and was informed there was none. If any bombs went off, it was up to the walls to hold.
Down in the engine room, well, I can’t really say that because there were four boilers separated into two different compartments and two turbines separated into two different compartments. This was done so that if one was hit, the ship could still move. Each of these rooms was two to three decks in height and ladders were noted between them. the engine room had a periscope for the firebox, so that the one running the boilers could look up into the smoke stack and judge his flame by the output. The officer that ran this operation had a seat nicknamed the “scotty chair” where he would be able to see the gauges from all the engines as well as look at a mirror at the far end of the room showing the shaft which was marked with orange lines to allow the officer to judge the movement of the propeller.
He also noted that there was a communications area where the boiler workers would be able to hear commands to the engine room and respond accordingly as the need for steam would change per the desire of the officer in charge of the turbines. By the way, the steam was to run at 600 psi. Our guide said that to find a leak in the steam line, they would take a broom and hold it up along the line until it caught fire or was cut in half. That marked where the leak was.
There was also the cooling section of the engine room as they wanted to keep as close to a vacuum as possible on the back side of the turbines as they could and used sea water in a big radiator to accomplish this feat. Saying radiator is somewhat a misnomer, though I can’t think of another way to describe its operation, just think of an enclosed radiator the size of two vans. The seawater was allowed to flow through it during movement of the ship, and pumps were utilized when stationary. Having seawater there also meant that they had to occasionally open the access panel and clean out the squid, fish, and debris that was present. (our guide spoke as one who had experience)
We then went to the front of the ship and looked around the first mate’s office. This was situated in the very front of the ship where the port holes opened, but were covered with plates having slits and each port hole had a Japanese character on the top. We were informed that this was because when the movie Pearl Harbor was filmed, they took the Japanese characters who were supposed to be in charge of the Yamamoto carrier (sorry if I remembered the name wrongly) and filmed them in that room. The markings from the movie were preserved.

Movement through the ship was interesting as it was designed to be impossible to sink. This was made possible by having every piece of the ship separated from every other one by doors that could be closed and sealed. Our guide showed us the pressure check where they would seal the door, pull a vacuum, and after a certain period of time, check the vacuum to see if it held. It was called the “Hard Hat” tour as we wore hard hats and were saved by their presence many times.
Anyone interested, there is a youtube video posted of a tour of the Lexington. This tour shows those sights open to the general public and is an hour and a half long. I just scanned through it enough to say this is it, and the video did cover the sights. Spouseinbox and I took the hard hat tour.

Now to bureaucracies. It occurred to me that this ship, run by 5000 men, required the coordination of all of them to get its task accomplished. If you took a fireman, for example, and asked him about the backup generator, he may be able to guess, but probably would not be able to help you even though both were on the same ship. The fireman had the job of guessing the requirements of the turbine room and providing the steam accordingly. He was matched by the turbine operator who in a totally different room would operate the turbines to produce the electricity, hydrolic power required by the rest of the ship. There was the vacuum operator who would guarantee that the water recovered was pure and had no residuals to corrode the turbines or tubing that feeds it. Each mate would perform their job without having to consider the operations in other places. The closest medical analogy was from a doctor who told me that he worked on eyes and don’t ask him about any other part of the body. Each mate had to only concern themselves with their particular job and as each performed their task, the ship operated.
This ship was a formidable foe as no single part could be removed to stop its operation. The only one ultimately in charge was shielded well, with an easy chain of command which would take over if the top were removed. One could blow up a magazine, and still have a fighting vessel there. A turbine could be damaged, and still this ship would be mobile. A blown up magazine would be inconvenient, but there were may more.
I was considering this design and realized that this was the design provided to bureaucracies. The only position in charge of operation was shielded with an easy chain of command set up so that operation would continue, even if the top were removed. Any attack on the individual operators would only stifle that particular operation and the advance would continue. The only way to remove this vessel as a threat was to remove the vessel. Just the same in a bureaucracy. Our country was never designed with a bureaucracy in mind. Each public official was to be elected and thus responsible for their actions to the ones who voted them there. If they behaved in a way not conducive to the desires of the public, it was possible to change policy by removing that individual. By shielding government operations in a bureaucracy, the politicians effectively removed themselves from the results of the policies they promote and the public from the ability to vote a different policy into place. The head can be removed, but the advance continues. This is why I have called for abolition, not reduction or restructure of bureaucracies.