17 Jan 1930. USS Lexington (CV-2) completed a 30-day period in which she furnished electricity to the city of Tacoma, Wash., in an emergency arising from a failure of the city’s power supply. The electricity supplied by the carrier totalled 4,251,160 kilowatt-hours. From Historylink.org:
In the 1920s, Tacoma received most of its electrical energy from dams on the Nisqually and Skokomish Rivers. Supplemental energy came from the Dock Street steam plant (1922). A drought in 1929 severely cut the power from the hydroelectric sources. The shortage became so critical that Superintendent Ira S. Davisson (1860-1951) had to cut power to Cascade Paper Company. Cascade laid off 300 employees. Fort Lewis turned the lights out in the barracks at 4:00 p.m.
The “Lady Lex” arrived at Tacoma’s Baker Dock in the rain to the sounds of a brass band and the applause of City Light customers. The Lexington’s boilers supplied a quarter of Tacoma’s power for about 30 days, leaving on January 17, 1930. That month, the skies opened and rain filled Tacoma’s reservoirs.
Tacoma enjoyed a special relationship with the carrier until its loss at the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 8, 1942. (ed: CO’s POSTEX report here – SJS)
Eighty years later…
Jan. 15, 2010. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) operating off the coast of Haiti during humanitarian relief efforts. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are conducting humanitarian and disaster relief operations in Haiti in response to the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake disaster. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker/Released)