Photo of the Week
April 27, 2008 

This week's photo is a very special and unique shot taken when photos of war related subjects were restricted.  This is a fantastic photo showing the CV-10 U.S.S. Yorktown transiting the Panama Canal.  This is the Gatun Locks and the photo is taken from the Control House.  There is a odd looking fencing seen off on the edge of the the side wall, which I am sure was some type of camouflage to help with the defense of the locks.  As you can see, it is a slow and tight process getting this big boat through.  I would have hated to be the Control House Operator during the times these big boats came through.

I recently purchase this photo from a Naval Vessel photo collector.  I have always been fascinated with the way these big boats were taken through the locks.  The Yorktown, an Essex Class Aircraft Carrier always caused problems when transiting the Canal, especially the locks..  The Aircraft Carrier Essex itself, was known to knock down many of the concrete light poles in the locks and damaging the Control House.  I have some photos of this that I will post at another time.

This photo shown for this week's photo of the week has a official caption on the back of the photo that reads:

July 11, 1943 Gatun Locks, Panama Canal Zone 
        U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-10) squeeze through the locks of the Panama Canal on her way to the Pacific to join the fleet.  On the 6th of July she departed Norfolk heading for her final "shakedown" in the Caribbean where a German U-Boat torpedo was narrowly evaded.  Flying 275 sorties the air group on deck will be part of the August 31st attack on Marcus Island helping to wipe out Japanese airfields and installations.  The men of the Yorktown will take their place in history aboard their "Fighting Lady".

Stan Piet Collection U.S. Navy National Archives. (80-GK-15334)

Comments after publication  by CZ Images visitor and contributor Andrew Fraser:

"Another great picture this week.  You are correct, that is camouflage netting.  I remember riding the train during the war and the netting was very prominent at Pedro Miguel where the locks was so close to the railroad station.  The netting at Pedro Miguel was directly behind the train station.  It was black and green burlap woven into large netting.
Locking the Essex class carriers is what caused the Canal to remove the center wall light stanchions and the control towers had clay tile shingles and extensive eaves to keep the balcony around the tower dry during the rainy season.  I don't know if there still in place but they replaced the tile eaves with hinged steel plates which could be dropped down if they had a transit that would have hit the eaves.
I remember when the Midway was first locked through, they had to remove antennas as well as the side elevators, and use 1 inch rope as bumpers in order to get it through.  I think that was the last time they tried to put that class of carrier through.
I'll tell you being a kid on the Zone during the war was a fascinating experience!"

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