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Former head of NAS-CC now runs USS Lexington

Navy commander Steve Banta greets Pearl Harbor survivor Bob Batterson during the Salute to Veterans ceremony held at the USS Lexington on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2017. Banta took over as director of the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay in February 2018. Photo by Carrie Robertson Meyer/Third Coast Photo

The former commander of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Capt. Steve Banta, has taken over as the new executive director of the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay. Banta served 26 years in the Navy, before retiring last year after three years in charge of NAS-CC.

Banta, 49, has been here before. It’s where he met his wife Sarah, a Corpus Christi native, during his primary naval aviation training at NAS-CC. The couple has returned often to visit family over the years.

Designated as a naval aviator in 1994, Banta has advanced helicopter training with the HT-19 Vigilant Eagles at NAS Whiting Field, Florida. He went to flight school at NAS-CC, conducting his primary training with VT-27 Boomers. He became commander of NAC-CC in June, 2014.

He replaces Rocco Montesano who retired after 20 years in charge of the 75-year-old aircraft carrier turned museum.

One of his first duties as the new executive director of the USS Lexington was to kick off the new Heart of Every Ship exhibit which opened in January. The new exhibit allows visitors to see and touch the vital equipment in the engine room — the components that keep every ship alive and functioning. A small theater in the exhibit shows a film that takes visitors through the boiler room, elevatory machinery room and engine room.

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