The aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) was struck by multiple Japanese torpedoes and bombs on May 8, 1942, during the Battle of the Coral Sea, but it wasn’t until a secondary explosion crippled the vessel that the ship’s commanding officer gave the call to abandon ship.
More than 200 Lexington sailors were killed in the fight, which marked the first ever carrier vs. carrier battle — one that dealt the imperial forces of Emperor Hirohito their first major blow of World War II.
Nearby U.S. ships rescued 2,770 of the carrier’s remaining sailors, to include the captain’s dog, Wags.
Once evacuated, the Lexington, affectionately known as “Lady Lex,” was torpedoed by the USS Phelps to prevent her capture, slipping below the water, lost to history — until this past Sunday.
That’s when the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel, led by Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner, located the wreck 3,000 meters — or about two miles — beneath the surface.