The USS Lexington was a naval marvel in its time. It was truly enormous and also included many advances that made it extremely powerful and effective. Originally built to be a battleship, it was later used as an aircraft carrier in the early 1900’s. Most notably, it was a crucial element of the Allied victory during World War II. But then… it took part in the Battle of Coral Sea in 1942.
During that battle, the ship sustained severe damage from enemy torpedoes that in turn led to fires within the ship. Tragically, it was too much for the powerful ship to take, and it sunk to a watery grave, taking 216 of its crew members with it. Thankfully, the other 2,770 people that were aboard the ship survived. But the ship was left and forgotten at the bottom of the ocean for 76 years.
But that all changed recently when a group led by billionaire Paul Allen set out to find the long-lost ship. In an article posted on his website, Allen said “to pay tribute to the USS Lexington and the brave men that served on her is an honor. As Americans, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who served and who continue to serve our country for their courage, persistence, and sacrifice.” You can say that again, Paul.
So the crew set out for the Coral Sea, which off the coast of Australia. And, sure enough, they found the infamous battleship! It was found an astounding 2 miles below the surface of the ocean. They were amazed by how intact the ship was after all those years in the salty waters. It was a wonderful and honorable discovery by Allen and his team.
In fact, Navy Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., whose father was one of the surviving crew members of the USS Lexington had this to say: “As the son of a survivor of the USS Lexington, I offer my congratulations to Paul Allen and the expedition crew of Research Vessel Petrel for locating the ‘Lady Lex,’ sunk nearly 76 years ago at the Battle of Coral Sea.”
And this writer would like to echo that message and say my own congratulations! What an incredible and important find. Way to go, Paul.