USS Lexington Wreck Found

Photo: Paul Allen

An expedition crew of the research vessel (R/V) Petrel has discovered the wreckage of USS Lexington that went missing 76 years ago, Paul G. Allen informed.

The Lexington was found 3,000 meters below the surface, resting on the floor of the Coral Sea more than 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia.

As one of the first U.S. aircraft carriers ever built, the Lexington became known as “Lady Lex” and went down with 35 aircraft on board.

“Lexington was on our priority list because she was one of the capital ships that was lost during WWII,” said Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Allen. “Based on geography, time of year and other factors, I work with Paul Allen to determine what missions to pursue. We’ve been planning to locate the Lexington for about six months and it came together nicely.”

The USS Lexington was originally commissioned as a battlecruiser but was launched as an aircraft carrier in 1925. It took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 along with the USS Yorktown against three Japanese carriers.

The Lexington had been hit by multiple torpedoes and bombs on May 8 but it was a secondary explosion causing uncontrolled fires that finally warranted the call to abandon ship. The USS Phelps delivered the final torpedoes that sank the Lady Lex.

During the Battle of the Coral Sea the Japanese navy sank USS Lexington (CV-2), USS Sims (DD-409), and USS Neosho (AO-23), and damaged the USS Yorktown. The Japanese lost one light carrier (Shōhō) and suffered significant damage to a fleet carrier (Shōkaku).


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