Uncovering World War II Lost Treasures



The USS Lexington sinking after the ship had been abandoned.

The battle had been raging for four days when the final blow came. The USS Lexington was hit with a torpedo from the oncoming Japanese forces. Minutes later, another one, this time more devastating than the first. But the USS Lexington was still afloat and didn’t give up yet. That was until the fuel tanks ruptured, causing a massive explosion on the ship. The order to abandon the ship was finally called. As men jumped into the water, the USS Phelps sunk the rest of the ship to prevent a Japanese capture. On that fateful day, the USS Lexington, one of the first aircraft carriers ever built, was lost to the battle of Coral Sea. Until now.

Co-founder of Microsoft and billionaire Paul Allen and his team announced the discovery of the USS Lexington on March 4th after it had been underwater for 76 years. It took the team over six months to locate the wreck. The USS Lexington was found over 500 miles off the coast of Australia, two miles under the water.

The USS Lexington sunk on May 8, 1942, the last day of the battle of Coral Sea. It fought alongside the USS Yorktown, and played a key role in the battle. Despite the loss of the USS Lexington, the victory at Coral Sea helped stop the Japanese advance towards Australia and helped an allied victory in the battle of Midway, which was a key turning point in the war against Japan.

The battle of Coral Sea was also significant because it was the first battle in which the ships didn’t see each other and fought using airplanes to bomb one another. It started a new type of naval warfare in which aircraft carriers could fight one another at a large distance.

Overall, 216 people were killed and 2,770 were rescued (including the captain’s dog Wags).

Paul Allen and his crew have already found three other U.S vessels as well as an Italian destroyer and the Japanese battleship the Musashi. On his webpage, Paul 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.” The Lexington will be made into a war grave in honor of those who fought for our country.