Tuesday, March 6, 2018|9:07 a.m.
BANGKOK– A piece of treasured World War II U.S. naval history, the wreckage of the warship USS Lexington, which was sunk by the Japanese in a crucial sea fight, has been found by an exploration funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
The expedition team revealed that the wreckage of the Lexington, crippled by the opponent and then scuttled on May 8, 1942, in the Battle of the Coral Sea, was discovered Sunday on the seabed in waters 3,000 meters (about 2 miles) deep, more than 800 kilometers (500 miles) off Australia’s east coast.
“To pay tribute to the USS Lexington and the brave men that served on her is an honor,” Allen said on his web page. “As Americans, all of us owe a debt of appreciation to everyone who served and who continue to serve our nation for their courage, persistence and sacrifice.”
The fight assisted stop a Japanese advance that might have cut off Australia and New Guinea from Allied sea supply routes and maimed 2 Japanese providers, leading to a more conclusive U.S. success at sea a month later at the Fight of Midway.
The sea fight is also famous for being the very first in which the opposing ships did not come in sight of each other, performing their attacks with carrier-launched aircraft.
Allen’s teams have actually made a number of previous crucial shipwreck discoveries, including three other U.S. Navy vessels, an Italian destroyer, and the Japanese battleship Musashi.
The ship that found the Lexington, the Research Vessel Petral, has equipment capable of diving to 6,000 meters (about 3 and a half miles). It was released in early 2017 in the Philippine Sea before transferring to the Coral Sea off the Australian Coast.
The Lexington, which had actually been passionately dubbed “Woman Lex,” was severely harmed by bombs and torpedoes, but the order to abandon ship was provided just after a secondary explosion triggered an uncontrollable fire. Some 216 team members lost their lives, however 2,770 others were securely left prior to its sis ship, the destroyer USS Phelps, fired torpedoes to send it to the bottom of the ocean. Allen said on his Twitter account that the ship went down with 35 aircrafts, 11 which had been discovered so far by his exploration.
Allen has stated he undertakes such ventures in part to honor his dad, who served in World War II, by finding and protecting the artifacts of that dispute.
News of the discovery stimulated another father-son relationship, as the present commander of the United States Pacific Fleet provided his congratulations on Twitter.
“As the kid of a survivor of the USS Lexington, I use my congratulations to @PaulGAllen and the exploration crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel for locating the ‘Girl Lex,’ sunk nearly 76 years earlier at the Fight of the Coral Sea,” Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. stated. “We honor the valor and sacrifice of the Lady Lex’s Sailors– all those Americans who combated in #WorldWarII– by continuing to protect the flexibilities they won for everyone.”
Harris linked the history to current U.S. interests in the Pacific, where China in the last few years has actually begun to challenge traditional American naval hegemony, strongly staking maritime territorial claims in waters also declared by other countries, consisting of Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. U.S. Navy aircraft carriers are strong signs of America’s force projection, and one today is making a friendly check out to Vietnam, the first given that the Vietnam War ended more than four decades ago with a Communist triumph.
“Together with our allies, buddies and partners, bound together by shared worths, the United States is committed to preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific, which has brought security and financial prosperity to all who live in this important region,” said Harris, currently visiting Australia.