Is there a bigger money sink than sunken warship hunting? Think about it... you're looking for something relatively small in a very very big ocean when you have only the most general of ideas where to find your quarry, it likely traveled some distance after it went under the waves, making an uncertain search area even larger... oh, and it's at the bottom of an ocean. A long, long
way down. It often takes years of searching and lots of tenuous funding to find a ship, a discovery that will excite some historians, ex-crew members, and maybe some media outlets looking for something interesting to report on when there's a slow news day.
Which is why all of us historians of the Pacific War, amateur and pro alike, should stop for a moment and give thanks that Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and the 46th richest person in the world with a net worth of more than $21 billion, seems to be willing to burn his money to go sunken warship hunting. Back in 2015 I mentioned his success in finding the Mushashi
. He's tallied a number of other finds since then, the USS Ward
and USS Indianapolis
primary among them. Until today, when he nailed a big one indeed.
The USS Lexington
(CV-2) was technically the US Navy's second full-sized aircraft carrier, with her sister ship USS Saratoga
(CV-3) being completed a month before her. She was commissioned in December of 1927, and along with the Saratoga
and the USS Langley
, she helped codify the way the US Navy's way of operating aircraft carriers. She served until May 8th, 1942, when she was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Of course we don't have any pictures of the ship in its entirety... or even any of the hull as of yet... but it's still early days, those are assuredly coming. They've already found seven TBD Devastators there on the bottom of the ocean, floated off or blown off the flight deck once the carrier went down. Seven Devastators... and at least one Wildcat.
Considering how long this F4F-3 has been on the ocean bottom, it really isn't in that bad of condition. More pics from the find can be found at Allen's website
. Awfully cool, this. There will almost certainly be a video tour of the carrier soon, by the way... hopefully at some time where I can stay up and watch it!
Posted by: Wonderduck at
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Not a lot of description of the wreck, yet. Can't wait to hear if the rest of her is in as good of shape as what the pictures show. If Paul Allen keeps this up, I may get to see my dream of finding some of the lost WW2 Japanese fleet.
Posted by: Ben at March 06, 2018 09:52 AM (h8yX6)
When I read about this yesterday, I immediately thought of you, WD.
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at March 06, 2018 12:36 PM (h8yX6)
From elsewhere on the 'net:
"The wreckage of the carrier lies in three sections, with the main portion of the ship more than a kilometre from the bow and stern. Further to the west, there is a concentration of aircraft from the carrier - including a seven Douglas TBD Devastators, three Douglas SBD Dauntless' and a single Grumman F4F Wildcat"
So probably not in amazing shape.
Posted by: andy at March 06, 2018 06:09 PM (h8yX6)
Allen also has a collection of warbirds at Paine Field in Everett. I really need to check it out sometime.
Posted by: Mauser at March 06, 2018 08:08 PM (h8yX6)
It's a bit pricey, but for people like us, worth it. I'd never drag Mundanes along.
My folks used to live about 3 mi from there, in Mukilteo.
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at March 06, 2018 08:52 PM (h8yX6)
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