USS Lexington CV-2 - History

USS Lexington CV-2 - History

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(The fourth Lexington (CV-2) was originally designated CC-1, laid downas a battle cruiser 8 January 1921 by Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy,Mass., authorized to be completed as an aircraft carrier 1 July 1922; launched3 October 1925; sponsored by Mrs. Theodore Douglas Robinson, wife of theAssistant Secretary of the Navy, and commissioned 14 December 1927, Capt.Albert W. Marshall in command.

After fitting out and shakedown, Lexington joined the battle fleet atSan Pedro, Calif., 7 April 1928. Based there she operated on the west coastwith Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, in flight training, tactical exercises,and battle problems. Each year she participated in fleet maneuvers in theHawaiians, in the Caribbean, off the Panama Canal Zone, and in the easternPacific. In the fall of 1941 she sailed with the battle force to the Hawaiiansfor tactical exercises.

On 7 December 1941 Lexington was at sea with TF 12 carrying marine aircraftfrom Pearl Harbor to reinforce Midway when word of the Japanese attack onPearl Harbor was received. She immediately launched searchplanes to huntfor the Japanese fleet, and at midmorning headed south to rendezvous withIndianapolis and Enterprise task forces to conduct a search southwest ofOahu until returning Pearl Harbor 13 December.

Lexington sailed next day to raid Japanese forces on Jaluit to relievepressure on Wake; these orders were canceled 20 December, and she was directedto cover the Saratoga force in reinforcing Wake. When the island fell 23December. the two carrier forces were recalled to Pearl Harbor, arriving27 December.

Lexington patrolled to block enemy raids in the Oahu Johnston-Palmyratriangle until 11 January 1942, when she sailed from Pearl Harbor as flagshipfor Vice Adm. Wilson Brown commanding TF 11. On 16 February, the force headedfor an attack on Rabaul, New Britain scheduled for 21 February, while approachingthe day previous, Lexington was attacked by two waves of enemy aircraft,nine planes to a wave. The carrier's own combat air patrol and antiaircraftfire splashed 17 of the attackers. During a single sortie Lt. E. H. (Butch)O'Hare won the Medal of Honor by downing five planes.

Her offensive patrols in the Coral Sea continued until 6 March, whenshe rendezvoused with Yorktown's TF 17 for a thoroughly successful surpriseattack flown over the Owen Stanley mountains of New Guinea to inflict heavydamage on shipping and installations at Salamana and Lae 10 March. She nowreturned to Pearl Harbor arriving 26 March.

Lexington's task force sortied from Pearl Harbor 15 April, rejoiningTF 17 on 1 May. As Japanese fleet concentrations threatening the Coral Sea were observed, Lexington and Yorktown moved into the sea to search for theenemy's force covering a projected troop movement the Japanese must now he blocked in their southward expansion, or sea communication with Australia and New Zealand would be cut, and the dominionsthreatened with invasion.

On 7 May search planes reported contact with an enemy carrier task force,and Lexington's air group flew an eminently successful mission against it,sinking light carrier Shoho. Later that day, 12 bombers and 15 torpedo planesfrom still unlocated heavy carriers Shokaku and Zuikoku were interceptedby fighter groups from Lexington and Yorktown, who splashed nine enemy aircraft.

On the morning of the 8th, a Lexington plane located Shoksku group; astrike was immediately launched from the American carriers, and the Japanese ship heavily damaged.

The enemy penetrated to the American carriers at 1100, and 20 minuteslater Lexington was struck by a torpedo to port. Seconds later, a secondtorpedo hit to port directly abreast the bridge. At the same time, she tookthree bomb hits from enemy dive bombers, producing a 7? list to portand several raging fires. By 1300 her skilled damage control parties hadbrought the fires under control and returned the ship to even keel; making25 knots, she was ready to recover her air group. Then suddenly Lexington was shaken by a tremendous explosion, caused by the ignition of gasoline vapors below, and again fire raged out of control. At 1508 Capt. FrederickC. Sherman, fearing for the safety of men working below, secured salvage operations, and ordered all hands to the flight deck. At 1707, he ordered,"abandon ship!", and the orderly disembarkation began, men going over the side into the warm water, almost immediately to be picked up bynearby cruisers and destroyers. Admiral Fitch and his staff transferredto cruiser Minneapolis, Captain Sherman and his executive officer, Comdr.M. T. Seligman insured all their men were safe, then were the last to leave their ship.

Lexington blazed on, flames shooting hundreds of feet into the air. DestroyerPAclp~ closed to 1500 yards and fired two torpedoes into her hull, with one last heavy explosion, the gallant Lexington sank at 1956, in 15?20'S. 1oo?30' E. She was part of the price that was paid to halt the Japaneseoversee empire and safeguard Australia and New Zealand, but perhaps an equallygreat contribution had been her pioneer role in developing the naval aviatorsand the techniques which played so vital a role in ultimate victory in thePacific.

Lexington received two battle stars for World War II service.

Lexington-class aircraft carrier

The Lexington-class aircraft carriers were a pair of aircraft carriers built for the United States Navy (USN) during the 1920s, the USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3) . The ships were built on hulls originally laid down as battlecruisers after World War I, but under the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, all U.S. battleship and battlecruiser construction was cancelled. The Treaty, however, allowed two of the unfinished ships to be converted to carriers. They were the first operational aircraft carriers in the USN [N 1] and were used to develop carrier aviation tactics and procedures before World War II in a series of annual exercises.

  • 36,000 long tons (37,000 t) (standard)
  • 43,055 long tons (43,746 t) (deep load)
  • 850 ft (259.1 m) (wl)
  • 888 ft (270.7 m) (oa)
  • 16 water-tube boilers
  • 180,000 shp (130,000 kW)
  • 4 shafts
  • 4 sets turbo-electric transmission
  • 4 × twin 8-inch (203 mm) guns
  • 12 × single 5-inch (127 mm)anti-aircraft guns
    : 5–7 in (127–178 mm) : .75–2 in (19–51 mm) : .75 in (19 mm) : 5–7 in (127–178 mm)
  • 1 × Aircraft catapult
  • 2 × Elevators

They proved extremely successful as carriers and experience with the Lexington class convinced the Navy of the value of large carriers. They were the largest aircraft carriers in the USN until the Midway-class aircraft carriers were completed beginning in 1945. The ships served in World War II, seeing action in many battles. Although Lexington was sunk in the first carrier battle in history (the Battle of the Coral Sea) in 1942, Saratoga served throughout the war, despite being torpedoed twice, notably participating in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in mid-1942 where her aircraft sank the Japanese light carrier Ryūjō. She supported Allied operations in the Indian Ocean and South West Pacific Areas until she became a training ship at the end of 1944. Saratoga returned to combat to protect American forces during the Battle of Iwo Jima in early 1945, but was badly damaged by kamikazes. The continued growth in the size and weight of carrier aircraft made her obsolete by the end of the war. In mid-1946, the ship was purposefully sunk during nuclear weapon tests in Operation Crossroads.

20 February 1942

Lieutenant Edward H. O’Hare, United States Navy. A Grumman F4F Wildcat is in the background. (LIFE Magazine)

20 February 1942: During the early months of World War II, a task force centered around the United States aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) was intruding into Japanese-held waters north of New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago. In the afternoon, the carrier came under attack by several flights of enemy Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bombers.

Lexington‘s fighters, Grumman F4F-3 Wildcats, were launched in defense and an air battle ensued. Another flight of nine Bettys approached from the undefended side, and Lieutenant (junior grade) Edward H. “Butch” O’Hare, U.S.N. and his wingman were the only fighter pilots available to intercept.

At 1700 hours, O’Hare arrived over the nine incoming bombers and attacked. His wingman’s guns failed, so O’Hare fought on alone. In the air battle, he is credited with having shot down five of the Japanese bombers and damaging a sixth.

A Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” medium bomber photographed from the flight deck of USS Lexington, 20 February 1942. (U.S. Navy)

For his bravery, Butch O’Hare was promoted to lieutenant commander and awarded the Medal of Honor.

An airport in Chicago, O’Hare International Airport (ORD), the busiest airport in the world, is named in his honor. A Gearing-class destroyer, USS O’Hare (DD-889), was also named after the fighter pilot.

Lieutenant “Butch” O’Hare in the cockpit of his Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat fighter. The “Felix the Cat” insignia represents Fighter Squadron 3 (VF-3). The five flags, the ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy, signify the enemy airplanes destroyed in the action of 20 February 1942. (LIFE Magazine)


Medal of Honor – Navy

“The President takes pleasure in presenting the Congressional Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Edward H. O’Hare, U.S. Navy, for services as set forth in the following Citation:

” ‘For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in aerial combat, at grave risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as section leader and pilot of Fighting Squadron 3, when on February 20, 1942, having lost the assistance of his teammates, he interposed his plane between his ship and an advancing enemy formation of nine attacking twin-engined heavy bombers. Without hesitation, alone and unaided he repeatedly attacked this enemy formation at close range in the face of their intense combined machine-gun and cannon fire, and despite this concentrated opposition, he, by his gallant and courageous action, his extremely skillful marksmanship, making the most of every shot of his limited amount of ammunition, shot down five enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they reached the bomb release point.

” ‘As a result of his gallant action, one of the most daring, if not the most daring single action in the history of combat aviation, he undoubtedly saved his carrier from serious damage.’ “

—Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Thirty-third President of the United States, his remarks on the presentation of the Medal of Honor, 21 April 1942, at the White House, Washington, D.C. The American Presidency Project

President Franklin D. Roosevelt congratulates Lieutenant (j.g.) Edward H. O’Hare, United States Navy, on being presented the Medal of Honor at the White House, Washington, D.C., 21 April 1942. Also present are Secretary of the Navy William Franklin Knox, Admiral Ernest J. King, U.S. Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, and Mrs. O’Hare. (U.S. Navy)

Edward Henry O’Hare was born at St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America, 13 March 1914. He was one of three children of Edward Joseph O’Hare and Selma Anna Lauth O’Hare. He attended the Western Military Academy, Alton, Illinois, along with his friend, Paul Warfield Tibbetts (who would later command the Army Air Forces’ 509th Composite Group, and fly the B-29 Superfortress, Enola Gay). O’Hare graduated in 1932.

Butch O’Hare was appointed a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and entered 24 July 1933. He graduated 3 June 1937 and was commissioned as an ensign, United States Navy. Ensign O’Hare was then assigned to sea duty aboard the class-leading battleship USS New Mexico (BB-40).

Ensign Edward Henry O’Hare, United States Navy, 30 June 1939. (U.S. Navy)

In 1939, Ensign O’Hare was ordered to NAS Pensacola, Florida, for primary flight training. On 3 June 1940, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Junior Grade). He completed flight training 2 May 1940.

Lieutenant (j.g.) O’Hare was next assigned to Fighting Squadron THREE (VF-3), a fighter squadron based at San Diego, California, and assigned as part of the air group of the Lexington-class aircraft carrier, USS Saratoga (CV-3).

Lieutenant (j.g.) Edward H. O’Hare married Miss Rita Grace Wooster, a nurse at DePaul Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri, 6 September 1941. The marriage was performed by Rev. Patrick Joseph Murphy at the Church of the Immaculate Conception (St. Mary’s Church) in Phoenix, Arizona. They would have a daughter, Kathleen.

USS Saratoga was damaged by a torpedo southwest of the Hawaiian Islands, 11 January 1942. While the carrier was under repair, VF-3 was transferred to USS Lexington.

In a ceremony at the White House, Washington, D.C., at 10:45 a.m., 21 April 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Commander O’Hare. Lieutenant (j.g.) O’Hare was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander (temporary) with date of rank 8 April 1942.

Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry O’Hare, United States Navy, commanding Air Group 6 from USS Enterprise (CV-6), was killed in action on the night of 27 November 1944, when his Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat was shot down by a Mitsubishi G4M bomber. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during Operation Galvanic, 26 November 1943.

This Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat is marked F-15, as was the fighter flown by Butch O’Hare on 20 February 1942. The definition of this image is insufficient to read the fighter’s “Bu. No.” TDiA is unable to determine if this is the same airplane, or another with the same squadron markings. Compare this image to the photo of Thach and O’Hare’s Wildcats in the photograph below. The national insignia on this airplane’s fuselage is larger and the red center has been removed. The alternating red and white stripes on the rudder have been deleted. These changes took place very early in World War II. (Cropped detail from a United States Navy photograph.)

The fighter flown Lieutenant O’Hare on 20 February 1942 was a Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat, Bureau Number 4031, with fuselage identification markings F-15. The Wildcat was designed by Robert Leicester Hall as a carrier-based fighter for the United States Navy. It was a single-place, single-engine, mid-wing monoplane with retractable landing gear, designed to operate from land bases or U.S. Navy aircraft carriers.

Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat. (Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation)

The F4F-3 was 28 feet, 10½ inches (8.801 meters) long, with a wingspan of 38 feet, 0 inches (11.582 meters) and overall height of 11 feet, 9 inches (3.581 meters) in three-point position. The empty weight of the basic F4F-3 was 5,238 pounds (2,376 kilograms), and the gross weight was 7,065 pounds (3,205 kilograms).

Unlike the subsequent F4F-4, which had folding wings for storage aboard aircraft carriers, the F4F-3 had fixed wings. The wings had s total area of 260.0 square feet (24.2 square meters). They had an angle of incidence of 0°, with 5° dihedral. The horizontal stabilizer span was 13 feet, 8 inches (4.166 meters) with 1½° incidence.

Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat, (Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation)

The F4F-3 was powered by an air-cooled, supercharged, 1,829.39-cubic-inch-displacement (29.978 liter) Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp SSC5-G (R-1830-76) two-row, 14-cylinder radial engine with a compression ratio of 6.7:1. The R-1830-76 had a normal power rating of 1,100 at 2,550 r.p.m., from Sea Level to 3,500 feet (1,067 meters), and 1,000 horsepower at 2,550 r.p.m. at 19,000 feet (5,791 meters). It was rated at 1,200 horsepower at 2,700 r.p.m. for takeoff. The engine turned a three-bladed Curtiss Electric propeller with a diameter of 9 feet, 9 inches (2.972 meters) through a 3:2 gear reduction. The R-1830-76 was 4 feet, 0.6 inches (1.221 meters) in diameter, 5 feet, 11.31 inches (1.811 meters) long, and weighed 1,550 pounds (703 kilograms).

The F4F-3 had a maximum speed of 278 miles per hour (447 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level, and 331 miles per hour (533 kilometers per hour) at 21,300 feet (6,492 meters). Its service ceiling was 37,000 feet (11,228 meters). Its maximum range was 880 miles (1,416 kilometers)

The F4F-3 Wildcat was armed with four air-cooled Browning AN-M2 .50-caliber machine guns with 450 rounds of ammunition per gun.

Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat, circa 1942. (U.S. Navy)

The prototype XF4F-1 made its first flight in 1935. It was substantially improved as the XF4F-2. The first production F4F-3 Wildcat was built in February 1940. The airplane remained in production through World War II, with 7,860 built by Grumman and General Motors Eastern Aircraft Division (FM-1 Wildcat).

According to the National Naval Aviation Museum, F4F Wildcats held a 9:1 ratio of victories over Japanese aircraft, with 1,006 enemy airplanes destroyed in combat.

Bu. No. 4031 was struck off charge 29 July 1944.

Two Grumman F4F-3 Wildcats of VF-3, assigned to Fighting Three (VF-3), near NAS Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, 10 April 1942. Lieutenant Commander John Smith Thach, U.S.N., VF-3 squadron commander, is flying the Wildcat marked F-1 (Bu. No. 3976). The second F4F, marked F-13 (Bu. No. 3986), is flown by Lieutenant (j.g.) Edward Henry O’Hare, U.S.N. Both of these Wildcats were lost in the sinking of USS Lexington (CV-2) during the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942. (PhoM2c Harold S. Fawcett, United States Navy 80-G-10613)


There are many spirits still on duty on The USS Lexington CV-16. They have manifested all over the ship in a variety of ways. Hundreds of personal experiences have been reported.

Signs of Unseen Presences

Many sensitive people have felt sick in certain areas of the USS Lexington, like the Switch Room.

Apparently, spirits like to help. When painters took a short break, imagine their surprise upon returning to their job, to see that their rather large project was completely painted for them.

An acting deputy director of the museum has experienced an often-reported occurrence several times. As he came out of his office, he has heard the movement of clothing and the sound of footsteps behind him. When he turns around to say “Hi,” no one is there.

Spirits of a Japanese Pilot & an American Seaman

It seems that the Japanese pilot who caused all the mayhem and death is still on board as well, as well as someone who died because of the attack.

Two staff members saw these two entities standing together for a moment in the hallway.

Enemies while alive, but friends now?

Spirit of an Engine Room Operator

An engine room operator who died during the Japanese plane attack.

He is described as being good-natured, incredibly handsome, “buff,” with short blond hair, and piercing blue eyes.

Charlie is especially seen on the anniversary of his death.

Charlie Amuses Himself

Charlie has been seen working in this area, looking intently at an engine, like he was trying to fix it.

Charlie gets his chuckles by appearing to visitors when they tour through. He likes to appear in front of pretty young women.

When a bunch of cadets spent the night on board, some ran around the ship on a dare, and ran right into him in the engine room.

Charlie Helps

Once Charlie appeared very life-like, dressed in his uniform, introduced himself as “Charlie,” to a family, and asked if they would like a tour.

When they lost him below deck, they went to ask about him, and were told that there are no guided tours, and this fellow had died in WW2.

Charlie likes to turn off lights and shut doors. Perhaps, he is concerned about the electric and heating bill.

Entity of the Chief Petty Officer

He has been seen a lot, dressed in his uniform, scowling at the living, still mad at himself for backing into a moving propeller.

A mannequin dressed in a uniform has been placed where he usually appears. Now he appears beside it!

Residual Hauntings

Many individuals claim that they hear voices, screams, and even cries of men and women in distress and pain, coming from the Engine Room area that was hit by the Japanese plane. Many died of their burns.

Visitors and staff claim to have heard the sound similar to distant guns being fired as in a battle.

During a lightning storm, a witness heard men screaming, and saw a misty view of the entities of several men running across the deck area.

It is interesting though that this vision needed the energy from the electrical storm to appear.

Entity of a Seaman

He has been seen on deck, attached to whatever he did there, or perhaps because he died in this area.

After a staffer had mopped the forward part of the weather deck, known as the foc’sle, he had gone to the other end of the deck to get some coffee. When he returned, he saw a pair of single foot prints in the middle of his freshly mopped deck, but no foot prints leading into or out of the wet floor.

“Lady Lex” – USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier in Photos

The USS Lexington (CV 2), the lead ship of the Lexington class of aircraft carriers, was named after the Battle of Lexington, the first military engagement of the American Revolutionary War.

She was the second aircraft carrier to be added to the U.S. Navy, and after her commissioning in late 1927 she was assigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Alongside her sister ship Saratoga, she brought about the development and refinement of carrier tactics, which were instrumental in the U.S Navy’s ultimate victory in the Pacific Campaign of the Second World War.

Lexington on slipway, 1925

The USS Lexington was originally supposed to be a battlecruiser designated CC-1, but was eventually turned into an aircraft carrier after the signing of the Washington Treaty, which required the termination of all new battleship and battlecruiser production.

Lexington (top) at Puget Sound Navy Yard, alongside Saratoga and Langley in 1929

On 1 July 1922, the U.S. Navy authorized the ship to be completed as a carrier by the Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company. Her displacement was reduced to 36,000 long tons after CC-1’s main armament was removed and the height of its main armor belt was shortened.

Lexington firing her eight-inch guns, 1928

She could carry 78 aircraft and had one aircraft catapult for launching them. By 1942, her crew size was 2,791 men.

Lexington launching Martin T4M torpedo bombers in 1931

The Lexington was propelled by 4 sets of turbo-electric drive shafts and 16 water-tube boilers, and had a cruising speed of 34.59 knots. For armament, she had an anti-aircraft battery comprising twelve 25-caliber Mk 10 5″ guns and four 8″ guns.

USS Lexington (CV-2)- Curtiss F6C fighters (lower right) and Martin T3M torpedo planes on the carrier’s flight deck, as she arrives off San Diego, California, on her maiden cruise, 4 April 1928.

She was officially commissioned on 27 December 1927.

On 7 April 1928, Lexington joined the U.S. Navy fleet at San Pedro after its shakedown exercises, and operated from the West Coast until 1940.

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) steams through an aircraft-deployed smoke screen off Panama, 26 February 1929, shortly after that year’s “Fleet Problem” exercises.

During a drought in 1929, her turbo-electric system was used to generate electricity in the city of Tacoma, Washington. In 1931, after an earthquake hit Managua, Nicaragua, Lexington provided medical personnel and relief supplies to the city.

Lexington in the early morning of 8 May 1942, prior to launching her aircraft during the Battle of the Coral Sea

In 1941, immediately following the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces, Lexington launched several search flights in an unsuccessful bid to find the Japanese fleet. This marked the beginning of real action for the Lexington.

U.S. Navy destroyers alongside the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) assist in the ship’s abandonment, after she had been mortally damaged by fires and explosions during the afternoon of 8 May 1942.

After a series of canceled expeditions, Lexington led Task Force 11, commanded by Vice Admiral Wilson Brown, in an attack against Rabaul, New Britain. She was spotted and attacked by 19 Japanese aircraft, but her anti-aircraft fire shot down 17 of the attacking planes.

View of the flight deck of Lexington, at about 15-00 on 8 May. The ship’s air group is spotted aft, with Wildcat fighters nearest the camera.

Afterward, she was assigned a number of patrols before she joined Yorktown’s Task Force 17 on a very successful raid off the east coast of New Guinea, where heavy attacks were launched on Japanese shipping and installations.

USS Lexington survivors rescued by cruiser during battle of coral sea

Lexington returned to Pearl Harbor for refitting, and afterward rendezvoused with Yorktown in the Coral Sea. A few days later, the Japanese launched Operation Mo, the planned invasion of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Lexington and Yorktown set out to stop the invasion, and during what was later known as the Battle of the Coral Sea, they sank the Japanese light aircraft carrier Shōhō on 7 May 1942.

Crewmen abandon ship on board the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) after the carrier was hit by Japanese torpedoes and bombs during the Battle of the Coral Sea, on 8 May 1942.

On the last day of the Battle of the Coral Sea, Lexington and Yorktown damaged the Japanese carrier Shōkaku, but in turn they were attacked by Japanese aircraft, which crippled Lexington. The combination of torpedo and bomb hits ignited a chain reaction of explosions, leaving Lexington in an unsalvageable state, so she was scuttled in the depths of the Coral Sea.

A mushroom cloud rises after a heavy explosion on board the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), 8 May 1942.

In March 2018, a team led by Paul Allen discovered the wreck of the Lexington resting on the floor of the Coral Sea, over 9,800 feet below the surface, and about 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia.

A destroyer is alongside of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) as she is abandoned during the afternoon of 8 May 1942.

Lexington, abandoned and burning, several hours after being damaged by Japanese airstrikes

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), burning and sinking after her crew abandoned ship during the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942.

View of an explosion amidships on the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), while she was being abandoned during the afternoon of 8 May 1942.

Damage in the port forward 127 mm gun gallery aboard the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), from a Japanese bomb that struck near the gallery’s after end during the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942.

USS Lexington CV-2 - History

Many of the photos have great details, which will be a great help to anyone modeling the ship, especially in her pre-war appearance.

Another good reference for ship modelers. It has a good overview of Lexington, her design and history, with lots of terrific pictures, line drawings and color profiles, the latter being very helpful to modelers. I like that this is edition is in hardcover. Naval enthusiasts and modelers will want to add this book to their reference library. Highly recommended.

This is USS Lexington CV-2, by David Doyle. Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, ISBN 978-0-89747-714-7, as part of their "Squadron at Sea" series. The book retails for $19.99, and is available to order directly from David's website. Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review sample.

Wreckage from the USS Lexington (CV-2) Located in the Coral Sea 76 Years after the Aircraft Carrier was Sunk

Wreckage from the USS Lexington was discovered on March 4, 2018 , by the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel, which is owned by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen . The Lexington was found 3,000 meters (approximately two miles) below the surface, resting on the floor of the Coral Sea more than 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia .

“To pay tribute to the USS Lexington and the brave men that served on her is an honor,” Mr. Allen said. “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.”

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 Mr. Allen. “Based on geography, time of year and other factors, I work together 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.”

Wreckage from the USS Lexington (CV-2) Located in the Coral Sea 76 Years after the Aircraft Carrier was Sunk During World War II – 5-inch gun.

The USS Lexington was originally commissioned as a battlecruiser but was launched as an aircraft carrier in 1925. She took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea ( May 4-8, 1942 ) along with the USS Yorktown against three Japanese carriers. This was the first carrier versus carrier battle in history and was the first time Japanese forces suffered a permanent setback in its advances on New Guinea and Australia . However, the U.S. lost the Lexington and 216 of its distinguished crew.

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 crippled Lady Lex , the first aircraft carrier casualty in history. With other U.S. ships standing by, 2,770 crewmen and officers were rescued, including the captain and his dog Wags, the ships ever-present mascot.

Blast shield with writing

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).


“As we look back on our Navy throughout its history, we see evidence of an incredible amount of heroism and sacrifice. The actions of Sailors from our past inspire us today,” said Sam Cox , Director of the Naval History and Heritage Command and retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. “So many ships, so many battles, so many acts of valor help inform what we do now.”

Wreckage from the USS Lexington (CV-2) Located in the Coral Sea 76 Years after the Aircraft Carrier was Sunk During World War II.

The Battle of the Coral Sea was notable not only for stopping a Japanese advance but because it was the first naval engagement in history where opposing ships never came within sight of each other. This battle ushered in a new form of naval warfare via carrier-based airplanes. One month later, the U.S. Navy surprised Japanese forces at the Battle of Midway, and turned the tide of the war in the Pacific for good.

Damage in the port forward 5-inch gun gallery on USS Lexington (CV-2), from a Japanese bomb that struck near the gallery’s after end during the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942. View looks aft, with the ship’s number two 5/25 gun in the foreground, still manned and in operation. Number four 5/25 gun is immediately beyond, trained out to port and aft.

Based on some initial success with his M/Y Octopus, Mr. Allen acquired and retrofitted the 250-foot R/V Petrel with state-of-the-art subsea equipment capable of diving to 6,000 meters (or three and a half miles). Since its deployment in early 2017, the ship was active in several missions in the Philippine Sea before its transition to the Coral Sea off the Australian Coast.

T-9 and T-4_1

Allen-led expeditions have also resulted in the discovery of the USS Indianapolis ( August 2017 ), USS Ward ( November 2017 ), USS Astoria ( February 2015 ), Japanese battleship Musashi ( March 2015 ) and the Italian WWII destroyer Artigliere( March 2017 ). His team was also responsible for retrieving the ship’s bell from the HMS Hood for presentation to the British Navy in honor of its heroic service. Mr. Allen’s expedition team was permanently transferred to the newly acquired and retrofitted R/V Petrel in 2016 with a specific mission around research, exploration and survey of historic warships and other important artifacts.

Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/USS Lexington (CV-2)

Lexington was the first American aircraft carrier lost during World War II. She had a short, but adventurous, career during the war and a much longer one before the war as she and her sister Saratoga worked to develop carrier tactics and procedures, including several practice attacks on Pearl Harbor.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 02:36, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Comments. As always, feel free to revert my copyediting. Please check the edit summaries. - Dank (push to talk)

  • In the section with "Captain Ernest J. King", please make it clearer that all the actions mentioned didn't actually happen (the ships didn't sink, etc.) many readers read quickly and skip over things, and if they pick out just that part, they're going to get entirely the wrong idea :)
    • I've added notionally to further emphasize that these were exercise results, not real ones.
      • "Notional" is a little bit academic for my taste I went with "hypothetical" and "scored a kill". "theoretical" and "in game" might also work. - Dank (push to talk) 20:39, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
      • Why? See the first bullet in Military time
          is old as dirt . has there been any new discussion to change it? The idea is that, for most readers, a 4-digit number could be anything with the colon, it can only mean time of day. - Dank (push to talk) 17:15, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
          • I didn't even think about MOS:TIME. Fixed--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 22:21, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
          • Done.
          • What I was trying to say was that she recovered two classes of aircraft, those low on fuel and those that were damaged. Any suggestions on how to rephrase? And I noticed you didn't like triced? I thought it was a great way to improve the reader's vocabulary! Thanks for the review.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 17:05, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
            • Sure thing. Now I see I added "aircraft". Not a fan of uncommon words like "triced" (if common words convey the meaning accurately), at least in Wikipedia. People are rarely looking for education, just information. - Dank (push to talk) 20:39, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

            Comments This looks pretty good, and I have only the following comments:

            • Aircraft carrier is linked twice in the first para of the lead
            • The article should explain the relationship between the decision to suspect the construction of this ship and the Washington Naval Conference - this is hinted at, but should be more clearly explained
              • How does it read now?
              • Changed to "her main armament"
              • Good catch.
              • Clarified.
              • Not really, but what exactly did you want to see?
                • Anything really :) Given that this was the US Navy's first serious carrier design and it included a number of compromises as a result of having originated from a battlecruiser design, it would be interesting to know how the crew found the ship to be (especially during the prolonged operations in tropical conditions which were commonplace for the Pacific Fleet). Nick-D (talk) 11:48, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
                • Thanks Nick, how about this? - Dank (push to talk) 13:19, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
                • Standardized on the all-caps version
                • Good catch!
                • As the article says, no torpedoes were available at Rabaul at that date so they had no choice but to use bombs. Thanks for the review.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 17:05, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

                Support My comments have now been sufficiently addressed nice work with this article. If possible, more material on the ship's crew would be good. Nick-D (talk) 11:48, 31 August 2012 (UTC)


                The USS Lexington was originally authorised as a Lexington class battlecruiser in 1916, however its construction was suspended in February 1922 due to the Washington Naval Treaty, when it was about 24.2 percent complete. It was redesignated and re-authorised as an aircraft carrier on 1st of June 1922. The USS Lexington was launched on the 3rd of October 1925. It was commissioned on 14 December 1927. Ώ]

                The Lexington was lost on 8 May 1942, during the Battle of the Coral Sea ΐ]

                Watch the video: World of Warships - Blitz Lexington Gameplay With Commentary! (June 2022).


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